Personal branding

So I found out that another redundancy is looming and in a panic I enrolled in a free *MOOC on personal branding to ‘fix’ my LinkedIn. But this course has done so much more for me. I’ve learned that personal branding is not a way to sell myself online. A brand is a hand-crafted resource that provides a sense of purpose to my online self. And this sense of purpose is percolating gently into my embodied self as well.

Course facilitator, Kimberley Barker provides two particular tools which have been very powerful for me. First, I was asked to choose three keywords, words that resonate with my current values. The keywords I chose are peace, community, and wonder. I especially like wonder: this word expresses both awe and a sense of curiosity and openness.

How do I use the keywords? Before I make any kind of online interaction, I ask myself: am I contributing to peace, and to community? I also ask myself: am I being open to opinions and experiences different from my own? If something can pass through these filters, I feel confident to post.

Writing it here it sounds a little long winded, but it’s actually quick and natural, I suppose because I’m just aligning my words to my own values.

The second thing I did in the personal branding course was create a mission statement. Barker takes you through some steps to create your own, but I reworked Hafsat Abiola’s wonderful definition of peace. My mission statement:

Contributing the best that I have and all that I am toward creating a world that supports everyone. Securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are.

So now I am consciously looking for where I can live this mission. I started by stepping up and helping coordinate a response to a change management plan at work. And I did finally get around to doing something with LinkedIn. I wrote one, two articles about how I use nonviolent communication at work and published them on my LinkedIn account. Both these activities felt risky and bold, especially as that redundancy is looming and I am feeling quite vulnerable, but I was able to be led by my mission instead of my fear.

The results? All positive so far. My colleagues appreciated the meeting and that we were able to support each other through the first part of the change process. As for the LinkedIn, one of my senior managers has shared my work with a group interested in a new helpdesk service and apparently it was well received. Wow!

Other things you might like about the personal branding course

It is free small fee only if you would like to do the assessment and receive a certificate

It is easy to ‘get’ Barker is friendly and engaging and does not assume that you have any prior knowledge

It is convenient I was able to download the podcasts to the app and listen on the train AND I didn’t need to wait till the course was officially running to complete it – you can start it anytime.

It is very relevant to your life the course is all about you and how you can build and maintain your brand

Course details

Kimberley Barker. Introduction to personal branding. University of Virginia. Coursera. https://www.coursera.org/learn/personal-branding

*What is a MOOC?

MOOC is an acronym for Massive Open Online Course. Most MOOCs are series of podcasts that you listen to with optional assessment. Assessment is usually marked by peers completing the course. MOOCs are usually offered free though a small fee is charged if you would like to complete the assessment and receive a certificate of completion. You can read more about MOOCs on this blog

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