With Valentine’s Day approaching, many of us have love on our minds. In personal branding and reputation management, finding validation, approval and even love is important. We are human beings, after all, and as Maslow noted in his book, “Motivation and Personality,” love and a sense of belonging are critical fundamental human motivators. According to Maslow and his hierarchy of human needs, “Humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance among their social groups, regardless if these groups are large or small.”
Many of us, however, assign too much power to create a sense of love, validation and affirmation from other people, including our employers, colleagues, friends, peers and even our parents. We seek attention and recognition as ways of confirming our value and worth.
While the personal branding process depends heavily on building relevancy with a target audience — who must find you and your value compelling — your ability to create a sustainable personal brand and reputation lies more within yourself than with other people.
In order to build your desired personal brand (and legacy), it is important to recognize that finding love and motivation starts within yourself. Before you can expect someone else to love you, find you compelling and relevant (and even attractive), you must learn to love yourself.
Each of us has a target audience to whom we promote and market our personal brand. Your audience might be your supervisor, staff, clients or even your vendors. I believe it isn’t fair or feasible to make those people responsible for or give them the power to provide you with sustainable validation (i.e. that you are a good person, you are worthy and whole). In other words, it’s unfair to make others responsible for the way you feel about yourself. When you do this, you give too much power to others to affect your self-worth and that eventually impacts your job performance, personal work satisfaction, relationships and ability to create lasting impact on your career.
The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.
Instead, when you take accountability for making yourself whole, filling your own personal and professional gaps and voids, giving yourself your own pep talk, you can create the confidence to walk into any room fully empowered, with your head held high. You own your space. You have a voice. You are in control of your ability to provide yourself with love.
As you can probably tell, I like control. I like to know what I have control over and what I do not have control over. I like feeling in control of my future (as much as I can) and the opportunities I will attract and then pursue. When I make someone else in charge of how I’m feeling and my sense of purpose or worth, I give all that control over to them and I am vulnerable. Instead, when I provide myself with validation, reassurance and the tools to make a difference, I take the control back. I am now back in charge of my legacy and personal brand.
This Valentine’s Day, look for love within yourself first. Tell yourself you are good, powerful, confident, valuable, loving and worthy. Don’t expect others to do this for you. Finding and growing love inside of you will, in turn, attract love to you externally — in your life and career.
My wish for you this Valentine’s Day:
Whomever you love, wherever you love, however you love, love yourself first.
– Lida Citroën