“You’re not the same as you were before,” he said. You were much more… muchier… you’ve lost your muchness.” – The Mad Hatter of
In a recent article, an excerpt from his book Breakthrough, Scott Duffy describes an exercise he uses at the beginning of branding workshops after participants have had a chance to meet and mingle. He asks the participants to write their names on a folded card in front of them; then, he passes out note cards and asks everyone to describe the other people in the room in a few words. The results are often startling. In many instances, how participants thought they were coming across to others is hardly how they are perceived.
Duffy then asks, “What would that stack of note cards say about you?”
I cringe at that question. As an introvert, I would much rather disappear in a crowd than be the center of attention. I have what I consider skill, knowledge, and maybe even talent, but I prefer letting my know-how and work ethic speak for themselves. I am the farthest thing from a self-promoter.
I can only imagine that others perceive me as timid at best and lacking self-confidence (and maybe even experience) at worst.
When businesses define their brand, they often focus on who they serve, what they offer, and what problems their services or products solve. But for us solopreneurs and small business owners, what is even more important is our personal brand.
Duffy explains this point. “You may think you’re selling a product, a service, a financial plan, etc.,” he states, “[b]ut it’s really all about you, because people invest in people. Every action you take helps others define you. Personal branding goes a long way toward cultivating your tribe, as well as your customer base.”
We introverted business owners may prefer working behind the scenes. We may even be okay, at least in some instances, with simply waiting to be noticed. But that is not going to make our businesses grow. How then can we accentuate our personal brand without forcing ourselves into fake extroversion?
In small, incremental steps, Duffy explains. A personal brand is just that, personal. We don’t want to come across as anything less than who we really are. But, as Duffy notes, we should “[p]resent a sincere, heightened but accurate version of [ourselves].”
In reality, describing ourselves is really not that hard, especially if we know our businesses as much as we should. To be who we already know we are, we needn’t look any further than our values and our passions. When we can get excited about what we’re doing, we can easily convey that message and image to others. Even those of us who are introverts can create an identifiable personal brand. It may take some self-reflection, but it’s not impossible. In the words of the Mad Hatter, we simply need to find (and describe) our “muchness.”