I had the pleasure of hanging out with Maryanne Somba from Career Kickstart on the LinkedIn Live discussing Personal Branding Strategies for the Working Professional and one of the questions that stood out from that discussion was around career stagnation and how Personal Branding can help someone in such a situation get unstuck. To answer this question, I would like to illustrate it with a story.
Imagine you are standing over a garden of flowers and you are looking to pick a bouquet for a friend who is celebrating a birthday. With such a brief, it is obvious that you will want to pick the best flowers from the garden – those that look fresh and are blossoming. Any flower that looks withered will either be left ignored or pruned out of the garden – options that do not serve to fulfill the flower’s God intended purpose of bringing beauty to its environment.
I liken this withered flower to someone who feels stuck in their career. Most times, people in this ‘withered’ or stagnated state lack enthusiasm, exhibit decreased productivity when it comes to their deliverables, are probably withdrawn from office engagements and will exhibit a negative attitude. When in such a state, managing and growing a personal brand becomes very difficult as the individual is stuck in a state where the need for transition precedes the need for developing a personal brand.
Any decisions made from such a state will be met with competing priorities in which case, the most immediate and pressing need gets fulfilled first irrespective of whether it is for the good of the brand or not. A brand born from such a place will not last long enough to grow beyond the season of change. The better solution therefore is to first awaken yourself from the withered state.
It is important to remember that Personal Branding is not a magic pill we swallow to have all our career and visibility problems disappear. It is a process that takes time – and for it to be effective, one must be willing to uncover their deep and true self.
And if by chance you are in the ‘withered’ state, the way to building your personal brand can be achieved by first following the following process.
- Reactivate your work enthusiasm and spirit: It is highly likely that you once loved the job you are now consider suffocating. While a lot could have happened to lead you to this place of disengagement, seek to excel again in that same role first. Take the initiative to identify projects and tasks that interest you and align your skills and strengths accordingly to help you feel more motivated and engaged in your workplace.
- Seek feedback: Ask your manager or colleagues for feedback on your performance and areas for improvement. This can help you identify areas to focus on and show your commitment to improving your skills and contributing to the company’s goals.
- Seek to learn and grow: Seek opportunities to learn and develop your skills, whether through training programs, online courses, or mentorship. This can help you feel more engaged and committed to your career and the company.
- Tactfully communicate your needs to the stakeholders in the organization: Once you identify the main reason why you feel disengaged, look for ways to tactfully share your frustrations. A lot of times, we suffer because we do not communicate our grievances. Are you frustrated because you are not challenged enough in your role? Or would you like a pay rise? Identifying the root cause to your feeling of stagnation and communicating it appropriately to the right stakeholders goes a long way to helping address the issue.
Once your fire starts spark, then your journey to growth can begin. Then and only then will you be able to review your Personal Brand with the lens it deserves. Then and only then will you be working from a place that is set for positively and impact.
Did you know that in most cases, a simple change in attitude could lead to career growth in that same organization that you once resented?
It matters how you show up every day. Bring yourself to a place of flourishing by doing your best, reignite the fire you once had for the role you are in and #standout4growth.