What’s Your Story? 4 Life-Changing Tips To Elevate Your Personal Brand

“Accept yourself as you. And that is the most difficult thing in the world because it goes against your training, education, your culture. From the very beginning, you have been told how you should be; Nobody has ever told you that you are good as you are.”

Osho

‘How did I get here?’ The dreaded question many millennials today find themselves introspectively seeking the answer to.

In such a fast-paced, new-aged society jobs are scarce and transitions into career fields upon college graduation seem more difficult to accomplish. Thousands of college students leaving college find themselves in jobs that have no correlation to their degree — just to make ends meet.

So many graduates and have difficulty landing anything within their career field with interviews coming once every now and again. In the process of just doing what we can to stay afloat, at some point our actions become routine and routine then becomes our new flow of life — but what happens to your why?

Breakdown The Why: That moment where we begin to question our why usually comes after experiencing a “wake up” call. That one customer that just completely flipped your switch one day, that one job opportunity you just knew was going to happen for you but you got denied, or maybe even that leap of faith you made with your career and now doubt has paralyzed you.

For me, it was a job interviewer surprising me with a question I never heard asked – “Why do you do what you do?”.

Caught off guard initially, I had to reflect for seconds before I answered. While still going through a period of unemployment, financial hardships, and dealing with the trials of life, why do I keep going? Understand that we all experience our moment(s) of uncertainty. However, it is in these moments of uncertainty that we learn life’s most valuable lessons that we can reflect upon a lifetime and share these insights with others along the way.

Here are four life-changing tips that I learned during my season of discovering my story that I found beneficial:

1. Pick Up The Pen

Without titles and accolades, who are you?

Do you often find yourself speaking to your life situations from a position of the victim or do you speak as a victor? Without taking us to the pulpit I want to emphasize the importance of the words you speak over yourself and how you write your story within your conscious.

Within religious text and scientific research, it has been proven time and time again that what you think and speak to yourself, and about yourself, shall become your reality. As a child I often had a victim mindset toward the world because of life experiences I dealt with. I felt that life only had it out for me. I didn’t realize how detrimental that mindset would be towards my adult psyche, and now at 22-years-old I’m just learning to pick up my pen and rewrite my outcome. I stopped allowing situations to happen TO me but allowed things to happen FOR me. It is in that moment of shift within yourself that your storyline becomes more clear. When life’s circumstances begin to constrict you and it seems that hardship is only attracted to you this season, remind yourself not to speak from a position of sarcasm but as a reminder that you are built for this.

You are growing while being groomed for something greater simultaneously. In order to truly step into the fullness of yourself and elevate your brand, you have to pick up the pen on your story. Don’t allow your life to be written by whoever decides to pick up your pen.  This is your story, you are more than capable of picking up your pen and writing in what you want your outcome to be.

2. It’s In Your DNA

What are those things that you find a natural ability in? How can you intersect that with your life’s purpose?

Before I conjured up the idea to be a Journalist or Communication Specialist one day, I was just a young child that loved to talk and write. It was something soothing and satisfying to be able to trace every single letter to perfection and then practice writing them myself. I did not realize it at the time, but every step I took doing the things that made me happy were seeds planted to birth my purpose later in life. An essential point of personal branding is knowing what you have to offer and your level of expertise.

What do you bring to the table? If money was only a figment of our imagination and all you had was your gifts to make you sustain you, what would be doing? Find your natural gifts and talents then begin the process of cultivating them into a skillset that sets you apart from the crowd. What I found to be interesting, while having power talks with colleagues or friends over the phone, is that often times we already unconsciously operate within our purpose but lack the awareness of ourselves to identify it. It’s almost as if our subconscious already operates in the role we aspire to achieve within the conscious state. Let that natural genius that you possess become your launch pad into your career field. When you operate inside of your gift you usually completely it with ease, enthusiasm, and little resistance. Understand this is more than just your talent, this is what you were created to do it’s what makes you, you!

3. Authenticity Sells

A quote that I developed through my life that I now make my life’s mantra is “the most true and authentic form of worship is to be yourself.”

If you’re on social media you may have seen the trend of media influencers and companies beginning to alter their media content to build a closer connection to their target audience. I know you’ve seen BET’s tweets lately (yikes), however, BET is shifting its social media approach to become more authentic with their audience. In addition to that, what I have noticed lately within the music industry, social media realm, and among the other hundreds of thousands of newly born celebrities every day, is that authentic people are beginning to receive recognition. Don’t overthink you, just be you and people will see! Humans by nature are drawn towards things that they can identify with via mentally, emotionally, or physically — so from that angle, you have to opportunity to establish an image of who you truly are that creates a level of authenticity that not even a million dollar company realized was possible until 2019.

Remain authentic to yourself and others will see that reflected into your brand and your work.

4. Always Bet On Yourself

The most important and self-explanatory key towards a successful brand, person, and life, in general, is the ability to trust yourself. You know how the story goes within our generation and current culture – nobody truly supports your vision until others begin to take notice and elevate you.

However, it’s in that process of elevation that more times that often we go through waves of uncertainty and wrestle the doubt, pondering if we made the right decision. It is in those moments that you have to reassure yourself that when you are truly in alignment with your purpose there is no wrong decision — your purpose will never lead you astray. As I sat here swimming through memories trying to find one that I can connect to this point, I’m reminded of my first opportunity to write.

Personal Experience: I remember transferring to Jackson State University in 2016 to become a Mass Communications major aspiring to become a journalist, yet I had no experience ever in writing. However, I knew I had to use my undergraduate time effectively in order to build a base to step into my career field so I went for a remote writer position with HBCU Buzz. I applied for the role of submitting an outdated resume and an essay I did in class on President Obama’s last SOTU address. I was hired and it was in that role that countless doors of opportunity opened within the media industry, political opportunities, and leadership positions. In every opportunity allotted to me, I had to bet on myself even in the midst of sometimes my support system completely disagreeing with my decision. I was willing to trust my gut and risk failing, instead of not trusting it at all, and carrying the weight of ‘what if?’.

The difference in my life from childhood to my adulthood was the shift in my mindset. You have to believe that you have what it takes to impact your desired audience within your career field. Millennials have the tendency to achieve perfectionism with anything and everything we work on, including ourselves. You don’t have to be perfect because nobody is. That is why authenticity fills a space that perfection cannot for your desired audience. When you understand the “why” to your story, work to discover your natural born gifts and how they can attribute to your why then develop yourself until you are ready to share it with the world. If the world does not receive it the first time as planned, do not become discouraged in yourself.

It takes seeds, watering, and time to grow a harvest keep sowing into your gift, nurturing your talent and soon you’ll reap your reward.

Written by Kyle Kidd

Kyle Kidd-Buckner is a 22-year-old Communication Strategist, Author, Political Operative, and Journalist — he has diverse communication skillset built on an extensive record of delivering diverse, fact-based, relevant media content through various digital media platforms and traditional media outlets; discussing topics ranging from lifestyle, tech, entertainment news to political issues. An alumnus of HBCU Jackson State University, he has served as an Author for HBCUBuzz, Collegiate Sports Editor of Black Beat Sports, and Associate Editor with stories also featured in Blavity, 7 Hues Magazine, Garvey Magazine, and DoerHouse LLC. Summer of 2018, He served as the Communications Fellow for Gubernatorial Democratic Candidate Andrew Gillum working closely on what would become a historic Governor’s campaign in Florida. Fun Fact: In college, he co-authored his first book, “Grown and Gone” a book created to assist high school seniors with their transition into their first independent year as a college student. Kyle lives by the life mantra, “I trust the next chapter because I know the Author…” and has performed at the BET Awards before. 

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