Entry #5: September 23, 2017 – Personal Branding
When our five-year-old grandson asked how old I was, I told him I was very old. Then he said, “Oh. You’re now wise like Yoda from Star Wars.”
I thought about it for a moment and then said “Well yes I am.”
After some consideration, I chose to start presenting myself as a “wise elder woman.”
Personal branding wasn’t the first thing I thought about when I put my entrepreneurial retirement plan together. However I’ve learned that personal branding is very important for people like me who plan to market services that we personally deliver.
As I move toward retirement, I will be doing more speaking, writing, coaching, course development, and workshops on how to live our best lives at any age. Because I am teaching full-time right now, what I do on the side is very limited. Yet I believe it is important to start developing a new professional reputation.
Personal branding is how we want to market ourselves as a “brand” so that others associate an image or product with us. To figure out how I wanted people to view me and my work, I had to decide not only how I wanted to present myself, but to whom I wanted to present myself.
I was first confronted with how I was going to present myself when invited to give a TEDx talk. Because I am in my mid-sixties, I realized I was considerably older than most people who give or listen to these types of talks. At first I considered surgery for a little neck lift – anything that would help me appear more youthful. Yet I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do.
I even wrote an article about my neck lift dilemma for Sixty and Me, and online magazine. While I’m still undecided about the neck lift (that’s another conversation), I have claimed my status as a wise elder woman. That is how I want to present myself. My audience includes people who are also elders. But I also speak to younger people who look to me for insights.
As a wise elder woman, I am able to share insights and experiences with others without having to worry about being older. That’s what I did in my TEDx talk. Following that TEDx talk, I was then invited to share a keynote presentation at a Conference for Extraordinary Living. This conference was for people fifty and older.
I also do Susan B. Anthony re-enactments in character. Ms. Anthony had a lot of wisdom and continued her work as an advocate and voice for others until she was nearly 86 years old. I periodically get invited do channel Ms. Anthony for groups or organizations in the community and beyond. I’ll be giving one of these presentations again in about six weeks.
What I find interesting is that when I tell others (including my students at the college where I teach) that I am a wise elder woman, they start telling me that I am wise. Last year I had a number of students coming to my office asking me for some “wisdom” because they had heard I was very wise.
If you want to reinvent yourself, you have the power to do so. It is important to think about what that “new you” looks like to you and to others. Once you figure it out, claim it and proclaim it.