If you don’t define who you are at work, others will!

Personal branding at the workplace and adopting a proper work mindset is crucial for success.

This refers to how you conduct yourself publicly in a business setting and the image you portray to colleagues and other professionals. An inauthentic professional persona is unpleasant and distasteful. You do not have to become a completely different person but rather adopt a polished-up way that you conduct and present yourself professionally.

Developing a professional persona doesn’t have to be cumbersome. You just have to decide on who you want to become in the workplace and take action and effort in your attitude, dress and conduct to eventually become that version of yourself. You need to cultivate and continually hone a powerful professional identity to maximise your success and career satisfaction. Stay true to your core values and capitalise on your unique traits and qualities. How you cultivate strong communication skills, stress management, conflict negotiation, listening and other essential skills, combine and continually practise in a professional context, a unique professional identity develops that sets you apart from others in the workplace. Once you have nurtured your mind to that version of you, projecting your personal persona becomes as natural as brushing your teeth every morning.

What do you stand to gain?

·        Self-awareness

A professional persona contributes greatly in self-awareness. You get to know who you really are and the values that you hold dear. True career fulfillment does not come from chasing other people’s dreams. While it is good to emulate a person you really admire in your professional life, do not be tempted to copy too much that you lose yourself in the process. You need to chase your own goals and dreams while staying true to yourself. A professional persona gives you the commitment to develop yourself to be the best version of you.

·        Focus and sense of direction

Once you adopt the best version of yourself, you learn to drop the overloading things that you really do not need to be doing and focus on proper goal setting that reduces workload and improve the quality of results. A clear sense of direction allows you to shift focus on quality rather than quantity. You get the wisdom of identifying the vital few elements which take you in the right direction with great speed and less effort.

·        Fulfilling relationships

We all know that relationships are a double-edged sword. They either elevate you or bring you down. This applies in both personal and professional relationships. With greater self-awareness and sense of direction, you become a better judge on the relationships to invest in and identify which ones to cut loose.

How do you go about it?

·        Master your niche

Make it your goal to become leading authority in your field. Make a concerted effort to obtain knowledge from reading and interacting with experienced mentors. Do things that will help you to establish your career goals and become an expert in your niche.

·        Become indispensable

This is the best way to create job security for yourself. Do ordinary things in extraordinary ways. Find that work-life balance. Work smart. Average should not be a term that colleagues and supervisors use to describe your input at the workplace. Make it known through your actions that others can trust and depend on you. Become a source of reliable high impact advice when consulted. Over time, this will definitely have a powerful and positive effect on your career.

·        Drop bad habits

Conduct yourself in a more polished manner in work settings. This does not mean that you cannot have fun during work outings and retreats. Rather, it means that you present yourself in a manner that gains the respect of others. Avoid office gossip, offensive language, being drunk and disorderly or any other habits that can come back to haunt you later.

·        Develop thick skin

If you ever face rejection or criticism at work, learn not to take it personally. Of course this is much easier said than done. It is wise to let your professional persona be your personal armour during such moments. This way, you will be able to separate your personal feelings from work and compartmentalise criticism in a more positive way. Rejection and criticism hurt, but you will be able to bear the pain better when you do not allow it to take over your actions and behaviour.

A professional persona will always be a plus in your career. Aim at enhancing your strengths to truly stand out at your place of work.

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