Take off the mask: what makes a great personal brand

I don’t really like to talk about “personal branding”. You are not a brand, you are a person. But just like any brand, as a person you have a story. A story that not only contains what you say, but involves everything about you: how tall you are, how you dress, how you speak, a many… You communicate with everything.
The funny thing is that, you have a story whether you want it or not—it’s there even if you don’t want it to be there. So, considering it won’t go away, you better make it on purpose, otherwise somebody else will.
Start building your story. When is the right time? A year ago. If that’s too late, the next best time is right now. Build it brick by brick, then overtime you get to decide what goes into your story, no others.
Build your story on purpose and take over control.
One way to do this, which I find fascinating, is to be an extreme character, just like musicians do. I’m going to quote Derek Sivers here:

“Your public persona — the image you show the world — should be an extreme character. It can be a version of yourself, or it can be a mask. (It’s easier to be honest behind a mask.)
“Some of the biggest musicians of the last few decades have admitted they were playing a character. Eminem, for example, said he wrote lyrics with the goal of shocking a passive listener into paying attention. Then he built his public persona to match the lyrics.
“It’s more interesting for the audience if you’re the opposite of normal. So be an extreme character. The spotlight is the excuse. You can get away with anything in the name of entertainment.”

While Derek says you can put on a mask, I find it more interesting to look at it the other way around: you have a mask on all the time — culturally speaking. So one way to approach this is to take off that mask and show the world the real you. And go all the way in.
It’s not for everybody. It takes guts to be your extreme version and show it to the world, but what choice do you have? Unless you bring something that is unique, fresh and bold, it’s boring and people won’t even bother to pay attention. In the end, extreme results require extreme actions.
 
PS. Check my latest article on Medium, The Future of Humanity Has a Chance Today, Maybe Not Tomorrow. I’ll use Medium to publish longer articles from PrivateID.