Category Archives: Personal Journey

The Four Pillars of Personal Branding

They say you can’t go “home” again; I say that’s dead wrong. On March 21, I went back to a place I called home for my college days, Temple University. Walking around the campus, which has changed by leaps and bounds since I was there, brought back lots of great memories and emotions.

The reason for being on campus was the second annual TU Invitational, hosted by the university’s outstanding PRSSA chapter. I’ve been lucky to get to know many members, both past and present, over the last few years. They make me incredibly proud to be an alum and to now call public relations my career. I spoke at this year’s Bell Tower at Temple Universityevent on being the “CEO of You.”

When I was at Temple in the mid-1990s, I had no clue about personal branding. However, I always tried to uphold the traits that I now speak about when giving talks around the country. Those traits are the pillars of my CEO of You sessions. If you want the best out of your brand, online and off, you need to embrace these four pillars.

Trust– There isn’t a brand around, personal or otherwise, that can survive without having trust. Never put your brand in a position where you sacrifice the trust you’ve built.  I would rather you be last and right, than first and wrong. Do it right the way first!

Honesty Being honest about the expectations of your brand. Never oversell something you aren’t able do, or be something you can’t. You also need to be honest with yourself. How many times have we met people who try to be someone else, or something else? That isn’t honesty. Never over inflate your abilities.

Transparency– We often ask clients to be open and transparent. That means, there is no way someone can look at you and not know who you are or what you represent. Being transparent also helps if you are in a crisis. CEO’s that hide are believed to be keeping something important a secret. Don’t hide behind secrecy.

Responsibility– You need to take responsibility for who you are and what you do in person and as a professional on social networks. Having a Twitter account, Facebook page, Instagram account, and a blog should be handled with great responsibility. You have the power to enact change as well as lead with these tools. Use them smartly and wisely.

At the end of the day, your personal brand needs to be real and have passion. If you can’t or don’t want to be real, you are wasting your time on social networks. Your brand will be fake.  It’s harder to correct your brand than it is to be real from the start.

People gravitate toward passion. They can see through your BS a mile away. If you aren’t passionate about the work you do – or if you try to fake it – those you lead will pick up on it immediately. To truly inspire others and establish yourself as an expert, you have to love what you do. The drive to be the best is fueled by passion, without it, you may tend to view your work or activities as something you have to do, rather than something you get to do.

How are you upholding these four pillars? Let me know in the comments!

Depression, Suicide, and Me: Why I’m Talking

We all deal with things differently in life. Some of us can adjust and let things slide off like teflon; others take things and absorb them. It may be pressure, it may be feelings of doubt. Either way, it’s an inner pain that some do not let others know about, until it is too late.

Last week, the multi-talented Robin Williams took his own life. The reports were that he was battling depression and had been at a low point. Some called him a coward for committing suicide. You are wrong. Unless you’ve been on the edge, you don’t understand.

I posted this on Facebook on Aug. 12:

I’ve heard way too many people say that Robin Williams’ suspected suicide was a choice. It was. Because he may not have felt there was another way out. Do we truly know what he felt inside? All we saw was the imitations, the comedy, the fine acting. We did not know him after the lights went off. I find it hard to hear people say Robin Williams was a coward. Until you battle depression and reach the point where you want to kill yourself, please don’t tell me it’s cowardly. You don’t understand

I understood what Mr. Williams may have gone through because I’m still dealing with it. And that is depression. It is something I’ll deal with the rest of my life.

I had my own attempt at suicide when I was in college. I hit an extremely low point and I didn’t think it was very much worth it to live any longer. I wrote a note, downed some pills, drank a ton of alcohol. My hope was that the mixture would keep me from waking up again. But I did… thankfully. I thought I beat it, but three years ago, my depression returned.

Suicidal thoughts entered my mind. This time, though, I reached out for help. It was the best thing I have ever done. My AFSP-Logo-blockfamily doctor told me that it took a lot for me to admit that I needed that help. It was the first step in dealing with depression. That is why I’ve decided to lend a voice to those that have attempted or thought about suicide.

On Sept. 13, I will join hundreds of others in Buffalo, N.Y. for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s “Out of the Darkness” Walk. My team is called “Assemble for Strength” and the goal is to raise $1,000. If you feel empowered to support this cause, we would love to have you walk as part of our team. Want to give a dollar or more? Your efforts will assist AFSP’s vital research and education programs to prevent suicide and save lives. If what we do can support others around the country who have had the same thoughts as I did, we will go a long way to helping them down a better path.

You may see someone’s cheery personality and think they could never be dealing with depression. A person could be a dynamic speaker or a great mind in their industry. There’s no way they’d try to take their own life.

We never truly know what someone is going through, until we hear the news that they’ve committed suicide.

Please do not take this blog post as an attempt to capitalize on Robin Williams’ passing. It is an attempt to shine the spotlight of the grave nature of depression. I have a normal life with a great family. However, just because things seem normal does not mean that I don’t have days where I feel weak.

I sought help for my issues. It is my hope that if someone facing the same things reads this, they will reach out for help.

If you need help, there are many professionals in your town or city. Your healthcare provider can also give you the name(s) of someone who you can talk to one-on-one.

Thanks for listening.