Today I sat in the Sydney Gymnastics Centre and watched 60 young girls flip, cartwheel, summersault, glide, kip, balance and vault their way through the Border Challenge trials. The energy in the air was palpable as the chalk dust and the sound of the floor routine music filled the air. Only 6 of these girls would make it through to the Border Challenge competition to represent NSW against Queensland.
5 traits needed to build a personal brand
My daughter trains 12 hours a week. Every week. Even during the holidays. She never asks to miss a training session. She practices her flips on the trampoline. She cartwheels her way into the kitchen to get her dinner and handstands whenever she can. She is completely dedicated to her sport, improving her skills and doing the best that she can.
Anyone looking at creating their own personal brand, needs to be utterly committed to putting themselves into the spotlight. A personal brand relies on complete dedication to pitch up each and everyday, to practice, constantly strive to improve and always bring their best.
When I watch Jade compete – specially on the beam, my heart is literally in my mouth throughout her entire routine. My fear is that she will fall off the beam. It’s every parents fear as we hate to see our children’s dreams dashed in one swift movement. But we are not the only ones with this fear. Our daughters fear the same thing, but for them, they are on the floor, have the spotlight on them and judges watching. Their fear is far more intense that ours.
Overcoming fear is something that anyone with a personal brand needs to face. You will get your fair share of judges, people watching your every move and unlike us mums, are waiting with baited breathe for you to fail. There will be times that you may have to get up on stage, put yourself in front of people, camera’s or critics. Some people thrive on this, others find it almost crippling. Overcoming your fears of inadequacy, making a fool of yourself, rejection or imposter syndrome is critical to helping you develop a strong, engaging personal brand.
I can’t even tell you how many times Jade has practiced her skills and landed on her bum. Each and every time, she picks herself up and tries again. Over and over, day after day, week after week. Sometimes certain skills take months to be able to learn and then perfect. I watch her fly through the air during her uneven bars routine and realise how much hard work and overcoming fear has gone into that one seemingly simple movement. She makes a challenging routine look easy. That’s hard work.
As a professional making your mark as a thought leader in your industry, the amount of hard work cannot be overlooked. It has been said that to be considered an expert in your field you are required to have completed a minimum of 10,000 hours, so for every hour you are in front of people – there will be tens of hundreds of hours of hard work. You can’t cut corners here. The harder you work the better your results.
Before a competition, Jade and I do a number of positive mantra’s. The word ‘believe’ is always in there. At first she thought that this was a silly thing to do and was reluctant, but after a while she realised that these positive mantra’s gave her the right attitude and mindset. Believe is now one of ‘her words’. She has it as a decal in her bedroom, on the back of a mandala stone that I made for her and included in a necklace that she wears before a comp.To achieve great things, you have to believe in yourself. Tall poppy syndrome is very real in Australia, and the better you do, the more haters you will find creeping out of the wood work. Don’t let them dash your belief in yourself. Tread your own path. Have your positive mantra’s to repeat privately to yourself in those times of doubt. You can do this. This is about your reputation, your personal brand, and no-one is worth you giving up your self belief for.
Never give up
Last year Jade landed on a straight arm and damaged the growth plate in her elbow. Apart from this being incredibly painful, the multiple trips to the orthopaedic surgeon left us in no doubt how serious her injury was. As she was only ten, permanent damage could result in her arm not growing if the damage to the growth plate was not given adequate time to heal. She was not allowed to put any pressure on her arm at all or complete for a minimum of 6 weeks. This meant no handstands, cartwheels, flipping, vault or swinging. When she heard this, she looked the surgeon dead in the eye and said “If I stay off my arm, can I still train?” She was not ready to give up.
There will be times when you will be challenged. Sometimes to the point of impossibility. You may doubt yourself, your ability or your strength. This is where you true tenacity needs to shine through. You personal brand will be pushed to the limits. People will try and copy you, defame you and undermine you. This is exactly when you should never give up. This is where you need to stand even stronger in your spotlight, and show people exactly how strong your personal brand is.
So even though my daughter didn’t make the top 6 to represent NSW at the Border Challenge. I smiled with pride as I watched her hug the girls around her and congratulated those that did so well. Gymnastics may not be a sport that she does forever, after all, she’s only 11. What I do know, is that she has all the traits required to do great things in her life – as do all of the young ladies who competed today. The future looks bright.
If you need help creating your personal brand why not give our Brand Personalities game a go?
Written by branding specialist Debbie O’Connor
Consultant, Strategist, Keynote Speaker