Why Should Branding Make a Difference to You? | JobSearchTV.com

Why Should Branding Make a Difference to You? | JobSearchTV.com

People don’t like to think of themselves like a hamburger, detergent, or any other product . . . but in many respects, you are a brand just like any other. In this interview with Jon Michail, Founder & Group CEO of Image Group International, we discuss career branding understandably so you can understand why you need to start developing one NOW and not waiting.

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Jeff
Okay, so my guest today is John Michail who's, founder and CEO of Image Group International and Bestselling author of Life Branding. If you're watching this on YouTube or on the Job Search TV app, you can see that over his left shoulder. He and his firm helped you articulate a personal vision and strategy in a step by step roadmap to achieving perfect positioning, and elevation both online and offline, to attract your ideal client investor and stakeholder. John, welcome. Great to have you here.

Jon
Hey, Jeff how are you doing?

Jeff
I'm feeling fabulous today. And I know we're going to have a good conversation; because we're going to talk about everyone's favorite topic. The one that makes people roll their eyes into the back of their head, 'branding'. Don't click away, please don't click away. This guy's good.

And let me just start with the obvious question, people don't like to think of themselves like a hamburger or detergent or any other type of product, but they are, aren't they?
Why does branding really make a difference to folks?

Jon
It matters because if you want to stand out in a very crowded world, you better basically become recognizable, and the only way you're going to do that is by creating yourself as a brand, as a positioning in the marketplace. And of course, I don't have to tell you more about that, you've got a president, that's the champion of branding, and we'll leave politics out of it today, Jeff.

So branding works. It works for Hollywood, it works for Broadway, it works for wall street, it works a lot across the board; branding is positioning, assets essential. And what happens you brand yourself, is you don't have to sell yourself any more, Jeff. And isn't that a great thing, that we all like to be bought as a positive for us to have to sell ourselves?

Jeff
You know, it's so funny you talk this way because one of the things always tell a story about American product; and by the way, folks, that is not a Brooklyn accent that you're listening to.

There's US product called Charmin that got introduced many years ago, and it's toilet paper, you know, like what's the big deal? It's toilet paper. And they came out with this obnoxious commercial that everyone hated, but they bought the product. And it's the notion of being able to be in people's minds, to have mine share all the time so that you don't have to sell yourself any more, they just know you. Right?

Jon
Spot on, absolutely, and that's a great example. And that's what it's all about, it's about, you know, it's, we're talking about a world that's changed now in the last three to four months, like nothing before in memory. It's going to be a very, very competitive world, more so than ever anything we've experienced in the past. So how are you going to get noticed? How are you going to become memorable? How would people know that you matter unless you start positioning yourself? In of course online world; because that's going to be important for leverage, but of course, in the offline world as well.

So your brand, from my perspective on a very simple perspective is really your reputation. It's how you're seen in the world, and it's essential from that perspective. You know life is so short. We're here one day, the next day we're gone.

My story to my clients is this: You've got an opportunity, one opportunity to really express yourself, this deeper message that you've got your story that you want to share with the world. If you don't do it, who's going to do it for you? If you don't do it, who's going to do it for you? So you've got to get right onto this. And I know if you're an introvert or you're a bit shy or so on, you might sort of pull back and say, "Oh, I don't like that", or get squeamish about it, but the reality is it all matters. And your brand, your personal brand matters a lot.

Jeff
And for the introvert, I always think of the brand as being the competent capable one who doesn't toot his own horn, who doesn't need to self promote, who's known and has that reputation that everyone goes to; and that becomes the brand. Right?

Jon
Sure! And I'm an absolute, yeah. And some of my greatest success stories have been introverts. And the thing about introverts is this, as opposed to the extroverts. Introverts specifically by nature, do a lot of things without bothering about getting noticed. But the reality is after they've experienced, what they're positioning, marketing self-marketing will do for their lives, Korean business included what they normally say to me is, "John, how long has this been around? I shouldn't have been doing this a long time ago". So they would never, they would never go back to doing it the old way ever again. You know, and it does pushy a bit, but I've never met Jeff at the, I don't know, seven and a half thousand. One-on-one touching sessions I've done. And I'm talking about hundreds of thousands in my seminars worldwide. I've never met anybody that deep down doesn't want to get the voice out, not one. So we create stories as human beings and excuses, why we don't do things, but the moment you experienced some gold, you'll never go back to silver.

Jeff
I love that statement. So we've convinced everyone, they should pay attention and start looking at branding themselves, creating a reputation so that people come to them. By the way, have a curiosity, do you see a difference between where mutation and brand the four individuals professionally? And if so, what's the difference?

Jon
Well, again, on a very simple level, basically your brand is what will communicate about your reputation. So, although I'm using them virtually the same, there are distinctions; because your brand positioning in the marketplace is what you're going to be known as your reputation. So reputation is really how the world sees you outside of you. Yeah? The brand is part of that as well, but brand 19:50 [Inaudible] is how you see yourself inside of you as well. If that makes sense.

So what happens with Brand is, you've got the opportunity to change aspects of your brand that you don't like any more, that might be you've evolved from, or you got to readapt. For instance, in this current crisis that we're all living through, rebranding and repositioning yourself is part of the pivots essential. And if you haven't got that in your cache of, in your toolbox, you're going to be in a bit of trouble; because what you've learned in the past will not necessarily lead you into the future that we're going into.

And if you notice from a, from just a skills point of view and just the way of being, where we're at right now with a lot of people, millions of people around the world, it's basically, what's more, important right now is your copability skills, as opposed to your capability skills.

Jeff
Interesting!

Jon
That also is part of your personal brand. And I believe how you cope with what we're going through right now in the employment market, business market, life market, is how your personal brand will be defined.

Jeff
And folks, just to get clear, we're recording this at the time of COVID-19. So if you're watching this three or four years from now, yeah, this is what we're talking about. And what we're going to cover is broadly applicable from a career standpoint.

From my vantage point as a former head Hunter, you know, I look at it from the standpoint of if you do great work, and you do it within your office and those eight, 10, 12, 50 people know about you, that's great. But who else? Who else of these 3 billion people on the planet, who else knows about you? Your wife, husband, partner. That's nice, but isn't it a lot easier if you have your name out there and people see you as the expert.

Yes. And yeah and that's the possibility you've got today with online and of course, tech, so there's no better opportunity. You could be in your hideaway office in some very remote area on the planet, and you could have worldwide clients; that's branding at its best, and you're using the medium of technology to do that.

So for me, leverage is a key here, leverage in all aspects of your life. So if you want to maximize your value in this lifetime, you better start taking control of your personal brand; because if you don't, somebody else will.

And if I want to do business with you, Jeff, as an example, let's use us. The first thing I am going to do is Google you. And the, from Google perspective, I'm going to find out right, what's out there, so then I can make decisions on how we're going to do business together, and if we're going to do business together.

So what's happening is especially through this crisis; and a lot of people not taking advantage of their personal brand prior to this, because human beings have got a nature to become complacent. Yeah? Very complacent in life, especially when things are going well. When things are going well, we think that's going to be like that forever, where really, you know, that's, that's a dangerous concept, that's a dangerous concept to be living by, and, of course, a lot of people have found that out. They've trusted the system too much, and the system doesn't work to your advantage.

So my story to my clients is included big Corporations, big Corporates, or Entrepreneurs, Small Businesses, or the individual is this, you know, the employer, the government, whatever has their own agendas. What is your agenda? And does it fit? Because if you don't create your future, and of course, your personal brand is part of that journey, then you're at the disposal of forces outside of you. What personal branding does is gets you to take on the responsibility to become your own self-force.

Jeff
Which is good because, in effect folks, you're the CEO of your own business. Whether you were an employee or not, and as the CEO, you've got shareholders, wife, husband, partner, the children, these are your shareholders that you report to, but you're ultimately responsible. And by taking control of your career in this way, creating the brand slash reputation, ensuring that more people know about you, it makes a huge difference. So I want to advance this and looking at how does someone builds their brand? I know you have a step by step approach. Let's do it!

Jon
Okay, well let's get into it and take it very simple again. If you can imagine Jeff, a pyramid, a very simplistic perspective. And at the bottom of the pyramid, we have what we call is our build section. Our build section is really the foundation. Yep? And that fits in specifically with the whole concept of package.

The second part is what we call is promote. Promote also fits in with our second part called positioning. And the last part on the top of the pyramid is known as what we call is Cash-in, and cash is what leads to our profit. The caching also though, depending on the client is, and I have numerous clients in different areas. I have clients, of course, that want to make more money, that's an obvious one, okay.

And by the way, when we talk about money, we celebrate it as a tool to make your life better, yeah that's number one. So we have no charge around that or any snarkiness around, Ooh, we don't talk about those things. No, we talk about that and we actually get you to own that. Number two, for different clients, of course, a lot of my other clients that are very wealthy, that I care about money, but what they do cares about their reputation. And their reputation at times, for a lot of people in society, are more important than the money, okay. It might be that the number one driver, you know, motivational drive on a daily basis, make sure the reputation is spot on.

And the last one is, of course, legacy. And I have clients normally 45 plus in the legacy world that is thinking about what are they going to leave behind? Okay? So normally if I'm working with a millennial, but not thinking about legacy; and most of my clients are generally 30, 32 plus, okay. And the reason for that is because most people start to find out that they need to start working on themselves in different ways, normally after 35 odd. You know when they have a midlife crisis that, you know, they bought the story, right? Go to school, be a good boy, be a good girl, get your degree, get educated, and get that great job and life's going to be really cool. Well, guess what? What they discover, you know, when they hit a certain age and experience 35, 40 whatever, Hey, life wasn't exactly the way it was told.

What your personal brand does. Doesn't matter if you're going to work for a corporation, you become an Entrepreneur. You're going to do it for yourself. You become an entrepreneur, but the bottom line is you, your personal brand gets you to control your own destiny.

Jeff
Amen, brother! So in building that foundation, how does someone start in their career to build the foundation? The easiest thing that comes to my mind is to do a good job, but I know that was more than that.

Jon
Definitely do a good job, and that's, and that's a great stop, but I've got to tell you, I've branded men and women that have done actually an average job. And that's the thing with branding, you don't have to be the best because branding is, you know, the positioning is a perception. It's a perception in the marketplace. So when you know, I meet somebody, that's a perfectionist, the ones that get it 100% right all the time, okay. I know that there's probably a lot of anxiety going on there and sorts of all sorts of other stuff. This is not about being 100%. I call it, it's about being a perfect imperfection; because that's what we are. We're all perfect imperfections. So it's all about perception. It's about how do you basically take a human being and create a perception, perceived value that's a lot higher than they have ever, ever imagined. It's like, for example, if I'm going to sell you this pen, how do I get you to be convinced that this pen's not worth a dollar, but it's actually worth 10? Human beings, and that's how I discovered branding by accident. Why something is an example like this. So this product here is worth $10 to the person that perceives that as $10 value.

Jeff
You don't need a lot of them, you just need the right one.

Jon
Yeah, that's 100%. Now, if you're really good and you're a master at what you do, okay. Fantastic, good for you, but not every human being is going to be that. You don't have to be so perfect or as so extraordinary in what you do to maximize your value as a human being. You're really done. And I think sometimes university professors, you know, overplay this at times because basically, real life's not like that. You know, it might be like that at university, okay. But real life doesn't mean you have to be so perfect at something to do really well out of it, especially if you're an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs, don't worry about perfection, they just get on with it. They just create, fail, get back up, and have another shot at it. That's what it's all about, that's life, you know, and that's what I support big time. Because if you're going to get your message out your story, how are you going to get it, if you don't start putting it out there and promote it?

Jeff
We advance to promote. I was still back on build.

Jon
Go back to build.

Jeff
I'm just making sure, so on building its fonts off at being capable, competent, it doesn't require exceptional. It's nice to be exceptional, but it's the foundation for what it is that you do is what we are starting off with.

Jon
Yes, 100%

Jeff
And then you move to promote; thus it becomes what are you promoting? How are you promoting? Walk folks through that for us.

Jon
Okay, so again, I'll just go back to the build before I get to promote. The reason we build is if you don't build, no different to building a house, that means your foundations are loose. And eventually, if you don't get your foundations right, the house eventually will collapse. Your personal brand potentially could collapse as well if you don't get the foundation right. So that's where the system comes in from that pyramid that I mentioned to you earlier. So we get the foundations, right. And then the promote, is how do we get the key messages out there? And the example of that is, of course, the social media, LinkedIn, et cetera, but it's following a system. Because if you don't follow the system and you're just going to post social media, start putting stories out, they put a lot of content out there, right. But how much content, content, content you're going to be lost in noise because you're not following a strategic approach to getting the results that you want to get by following this process.

So most people in my experience are not following any form of system. They might, it's very ad hoc, very, very reactionary, and at times all over the place. So they got a lot of, you know, they're creating a lot of output out there, but there's very little input. And you know, what I noticed with, I tried this out, Jeff, you know. Well, these Facebook likes, I had all these Facebook likes, right? So I put them in a package. I went to my bank manager and I said, look, how many Facebook likes? He said, and he said to me, "What am I going to do with that"? Showing me the cash. So, the results around basically your brand are not just the perception that you're popular out there. It's what are you bringing in? What value are you bringing in to yourself?

Like I said you can maximize who you are. And part of that, of course, is financial, part of that is reputational; and other aspects that would come from that, whatever important to you, so the promote is essential.

Now, promote also means mainstream media as well. People underplay that in today's world. But you know, depending on what segment of the market you're speaking to, that still has an important role to play,100%, and if utilized effectively, will also get you publicity. Will get you known in the wider world, even if it is a little bit of the old world. The reality is they still work very well together, and that's part of getting your messages out there. Because even if you're going for a job and you were a recruiter, and of course the world today, recruiters will check you out online, they will do all sorts of different tests on you.

If you don't exist on Google, as an example, as we know, like Jeff Bezos of Amazon, "You don't exist". So I can't tell you how many people to this day will come to me and say, "John, I want to be positioned. I want to be branded, you know, I want to be specifically promoted", and then you do a search on them and there's hardly anything on them, but they claim to be this and claim to me that, and claimed to be that. Now, I'm not denying that. What I'm saying is, is the world will not believe you;

Jeff
We all look for validation over Google.

Jon
100%. So, and you know, and so the social proof of that also with the likes and so before is important, but what I'm saying is it's not the number one. You're going to be thinking beyond just quick likes, and you're going to start thinking about what returns are we going to bring in here? Because the problem with a lot of content is you get a lot of output, but what's the input? And the input is your return in investment. You know, what's that gonna look like in reference to, in this case, let's say going for a job, looking for investors, or I'm trying to grow your business sales, for instance? That's the input and it's essential that you focus on that input.

Jeff
So for people who have a confusing message, they are experts at one thing, but they also promote something else. How does that have adversely impact them?

Jon
That's a great question and that's essential. And as we know in the marketing world that, you know, we would call that a niche. You've got to create yourself a niche of who you are, yeah. And in my experience, especially in the online world, you got to even consider creating a micro-niche, a niche of a niche; because it depends on what market you're going for. Most models online are a mass model, so it's like, it's a shotgun approach, ours is more laser-focused. So we would say specifically, whatever expertise you want to promote to the world, create that niche and stick to one to three maximum, that's it; but that one focus is the best. So you start with whatever that niche is and then you might have sub-niches under that. But up to three is probably the best from a simplicity point of view to get you started.

And basically, it's about focusing on that specifically, focusing on that, and focusing on that. So example, if you're going to be a business coach today, and that's your sort of your positioning statement, that's a very, very crowded marketplace; because it can bring in all sorts of different people that compared to yourself as a business coach, yeah. That really other business, they might be an accountant, but not really a business coach; and they might even be a lawyer, but not really a business coach. Does that make sense?

Jeff
Yeah

Jon
So you've got to create a niche, so your niche might be there, you know, specifically you know, business coach for accountants, or for lawyers as an example. There's a very basic example.

Jeff
I know since COVID started, the first people who started the show up in the US in my connection requests, were the people who claimed the coach coaches.

Jon
Yes.

Jeff
Then it became, for me, my media presence became the people who claimed the coach podcasters. I look at their profile and they're offshore, no disrespect to people who are not in the US. They're many very capable people, but they have six months of experience and they're going to be my coach.

Jon
Yes, you're spot on, and that's 100% correct. You know what you're alluding to Jeff is occasionally to coach, you need a bit of silver hair

Jeff
Or no hair,

Jon
Or no hair! 🙂 Hey, by the way, in the no-hair bit, I'm known as an image-maker, right? So, you know, some people I've had bold clients obviously, and I said, "What am I going to do about this"? I said, "Hey, I'm good, but I can't create miracles, okay".

So you're dead, right. I mean look, the experience is everything. And what we're talking about here; and I know, I mean, I know your reputation and how experienced you are. The key here is, it's lived experience and this is essential. It's not basically pulling out a book and reading from the book and telling me what an expert you are. Because as you know, okay, especially even in a live interview like today, an expert 39:53[Inaudible] expert can be tripped so easily by a smart interviewer, okay. You know that they are really a fake in it.

Now, I'm not making a big deal out of, you know, it's okay to fake it till you become it. I am not making in a big deal, it's okay to fake until you recover, right? No problem with that as well, because it's part of setting up yourself for the future, right? Not different from what, Socrates said, "Act as if". But the thing about that is experience matters, and it matters so much, so that's why today in today's world, again, we're talking about the COVID crisis that we're living through. The experience will be if you've got, you know, that lived experience and you're fighting this crisis, and I have, I faced three crises since the collapse of the share market in 97, right? And lost millions of dollars, okay.

You know that, okay, this is just another blip in life. It's not the end of the world, especially if you're 25 and you haven't had these life experiences right now, you know, and you get unemployed or whatever, it's like, "Oh, what's going on"? Yeah. That's where a good mentor, a good coach, a good confidant will come into play, to help you navigate through that. And if you haven't got access to any of that, could even be a parent, a friend, you know, anybody, but please reach out. Because there are good people out there in all different dimensions that will be able to help you. But do your research and just make sure that they've got the lived experience. Not just yep, yep. The lived experience, it's essential.

Jeff
It's funny. I'm sorry, please continue.

Jon
No, no go ahead.

Jeff
I was about to say you were talking about reaching out to other people and, one of the things I always point out is you have to make sure that I'm actually capable. Because it's one thing to have a wife, husband, or partner that's in a field and they're good amateurs at giving career advice. And that being a good amateur from their lenses of their experience, there's no relationship with you and your experience. So it becomes really important that you recognize what you can accept from them, and what you should politely not add, and disregard and same thing with mentors.

Often mentors or institutional advisors who were there to tell you don't leave. We can work things out and they're there to basically promote you within the organization may be, but often they're there is like a placebo, so have to patch on the head and it'll be okay, don't worry, it will be fine.

Jon
That's right, that's right! And what you've just said that about patting you on the head and making you feel good, superficially. I think a lot of people have discovered now through all the retrenchments and the unemployment happening worldwide, that the so-called story you were sold that you are a part of the family, okay. Well, it's really interesting because when the crisis hits you with one of the first to be, let go. So if you are analyzing right now, how you called to believe that you were part of the family, it's time to take control of your personal brand, okay. So you never get conned again, and you would have seen a lot in the recruitment. They promise you all sorts of stuff when everything's going well, but the real people that show up, including friends, family, right across, family's blood so it's a little bit different. Right? Okay? Generally, you're going to find that the people that really really matter in your life are through times like this

Jeff
Yes, and the people that should meet professionally, like the manager, the director for the group, the one who's going to tell you, "It's going to be okay, don't worry about it". They're 27 levels removed from the real decision-makers. What do they know?

Jon
Exactly! Yes, spot-on, exactly! So even from a personal branding point of view, then that leads to that. For me, you know, the idea here is you got to position yourself, and you got to strengthen your little territory. So even if you're working for a large Corporation, for a large Organization, Government, whatever. You have your immediate boss building your brand, but also it's who are the stakeholders around that? How you're building your brand your boss in this case, okay, beyond the investor? Because you got to safeguard your position. So it is essential, that everybody knows about you, and you don't have to do this. A humble brag works well once in a while; because if you don't do that, he's going to do it for you?

I had a client yesterday, we nominated them and they won a big business award. Right? Before this award that would like, you know, nervous, should I go for this? Shouldn't I go for this? look, I said to them, what I've been saying to you, "If you don't get your story out there and be recognized, who's going to do it for you? Who's going to do it for you? If you study the rich, very wealthy on the planet, the famous, yeah. The very, very successful, including academics, Harvard, and so on, they have positioned themselves as celebrity professors and so on. It's all one system, one game and behind the scenes.

Jeff, business is a game. Do you know what, let's forget about business? Life is a game. It's just a big chess game, and you've got to maneuver the pieces. Yep? And if you don't, you're going to get knocked over, off the board. Unfortunately, for me, the radical truth works. Okay? It works because when I was coming up in my career, I hope, I wish I had more radical truth-tellers in my life, as opposed to patting me on my back and just saying, "Hey, everything's going to be perfect. Everything's gonna work out. Don't worry, be positive". Yeah, that's great, but unless you set yourself up with some foundations and then have somebody behind you, that's actually sort of driving you from the point of view, giving you a bit of a slap. A light slap from the perspective of waking you up, and that's essential today, yeah.

Because resilience doesn't exist right now, especially with people under 30; and I hate to say that, you know, as a stereotype, right? But resilience has been pulled out of humanity, it's been pulled out. And for me, that's a serious issue; because it's a game as I said, and resilience, especially in this climate, but any climate, you need it.
Yeah! You get unemployed. As you know, you get retrenched. If you haven't got resilience, you're going to be in serious trouble.

Jon
Agreed! And I want to keep moving forward because we've really spent most of our time so far on the concept of branding and why it's important, the foundation, and the position. And there are two more levels here, the cash- in which I really love, and there's of course, legacy.

Folks, I'm just going to do a quick story about the cashing in, about a guy who is a friend of mine, who I met in a social situation. I mean, we get together regularly and he was an assistant vice president for a bank in New York. Put it what he did, but no one really knew about it, and you know, asked me what to do; and this is the 1980s, okay. This is a long time ago where the branding options were limited. There was the old boys club, but he wasn't going to get in there right away. So the question became, how could he brand themselves? And I said,"Try and get on the speakers' tour. Try and get on the conference tour where you're a featured speaker, or you're a panelist that people want an invite to their conferences. People will get to know you and the phone will start ringing". It was the phone in those days, folks.

And suddenly, he's starting to speak. It was great, free work, but then he starts getting contacts from executive search firms. Why? Because they don't want to receive resumes. They want to see who's been selected as an expert and effect by being on the speaker tour, the conference tour, he was pre-qualified in their view. And suddenly he's moving up to senior roles, Managing director roles that are a bank. He becomes a partner with an accounting firm, and that led to a variety of professional relationships that have caused them to be a semi-retired business consultant now in Silicon Valley, working globally.
It's all about the positioning, that will allow you to cash in. Is that a good story for this?

Jon
It's a great story, it's a real story. And yeah. And I can really relate to that experience personally and also with our clients. So the thing about all of this is we can talk about something as important, but until the individual really gets that this is actually gonna make a difference to their life, yeah. Like you started off your whole interview with me around why branding and why is it important and so on, they don't want to do anything about it, right? Or a crisis like this would come in and I look in the mirror and say, "God, what am I doing right now? No, one's calling me anymore". So the cashing in aspect, and I mentioned cash is, you know, money is one aspect of that, is an essential element because it's about value, it's how you perceive yourself.

You know, as you know, in the recruitment world, they normally say, well, you know, you're worth example, a hundred K as an example, that's what the going rate is. Well, I can tell you, and I can show you evidence for this, Jeff. I've had clients on a hundred K that we've repositioned in 18 months to earn 450 K; and that is just like totally left field. They could never have done that. Why? Because the person, the individual did not see their value.

We are not taught in school for instance, from an early age to value ourselves. Okay? We are given all these data, all this so poor knowledge, but we're not shown how to create value for themselves. We're not taught anything about money, wealth creation, right? All the stuff that matters, relationship skills, we're given all this blah, blah, blah, that at times is not going to help your life, and in this case, your career, okay.

So the, for me, we play a big aspect and of course, that's the mindset, it's a mindset and we're all conditioners as we know from little kids, right? So if the mindset is not growing and it's fixed mindset that you can't do it, you're not worth it, you're not good enough, then obviously we've got work to do within individuals, clients in this to drop that story. And why I regard the story that's going on in our heads is like a recording, it's like a recording, it's been recorded in it. So since it's been recorded, we can arise the recording and rerecord. And of course, we do that with different techniques.

And from my point of view, in some of my training around cognitive behavior therapy, okay, CBT is incorporated to change the mindset. Because I haven't met anybody yet that is not possible to, from a, you know, a, to B to C to D and beyond as long as they're open to it. So as you know, as a coach, the client also has to be coachable. If they are not coachable or if their ego is out of control, narcissistic from the perspective of they know everything, then it's like, what are you doing here? I can't help you. Right? Okay, and this is essential. So as a coach, you've also got to know which clients not to take on and which clients to refer to somebody else, hopefully, your competition. So then that can bother them.

Jeff
Great. And it's so funny that you talk this way about passing people on and recognizing who you can't help; because the ones that you can't help suck a lot of energy from you, and it really eats you up from the inside. I don't care what career you're in, the people who are the vampires, I'm using a strong term here, are energy drains. They affect your other work. You can't do your best for others, with them being like a leech on your body, drinking the blood out. So I agree wholeheartedly. And it's hard for people to see that for themselves, about themselves.

Jon
Yes, yes, and 100%. And we use similar language that you just shared. It is surprisingly; because it does feel like that somebody sucking your energy, sucking your life force. Yeah? And again, in life, you've only got so much energy. You haven't got unlimited energy contrary to what we get told sometimes. So you gotta really, really manage your energy, if you're going to be effective. So from that perspective, you got to also what, what you were alluding to, I think at another level is who are you spending time with? Who are you communicating with? Who are, you know, who's around you? And that's also part of your personal brand as well. Okay, but I've got to tell you, you know, we're all different.

We just had dinner the other night, two nights ago, actually with a group of friends. It was eight guys, from a long time ago when we were kids growing up. We're talking about guys here that we've known each other for at least 55 years, 50 to 55 years. And we were just talking and it was like, isn't it extraordinary after all these years that we're together and we made regularly. Yeah? And I think that says something and you know, I don't want to brag about this, but I know it says something about me as an individual, and it says something about a group, okay. Because loyalty, all the virtues that keep people strong throughout life, where 55:02 [Inaudible] displayed in a whole conversation at a dinner the other night, and that's part of our personal brand as well. Okay?

Your personal brand also is you as a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a son, a daughter, okay. This is also part of your personal brand. And when we brand and position people, we bring in their life story into their career or business story essential; because you've got to create some vulnerability to be trusted.

In this world where trust has gone down to sort of zero. Yep? Okay, you've got to be authentic, and our work is about authentic personal branding, and this is a keyword. I'm not using it as a cliche, you know? And what does authentic mean? It means taking a bit of a risk. You know, it's about putting your story out there, and sometimes, you know, somebody might have a dig at it. For instance, if you're talking about journalists, just an example, but doesn't matter.

And our work, you know, when I've worked with politicians or CEOs, I tell them the same story, put some out your story out there, it doesn't matter if it's a bit of risk. I understand how the media works. I will work with them every week, they won't have a go at you, but the reality is your job is to be trusted. If we're not trusted, we're not even gonna have a conversation, or if we do, it's not going to be a longterm relationship. Yeah? It's not going to be a long term relationship. So your authentic, personal brand builds trust.

And I use the word authentic because you mentioned before the online 56:35 [Inaudible] experts. Every man and his dog right now is an expert. Yep? Authentic, personal branding will get you to shine at a level like that basically is you, but what that means is, you can't be super polished. Yeah? If you are super polished, what that means is, or super professional, what that means is you are scripted. And I'm not saying there's any wrong with that. I'm not having a go at that, but I'm not instant scripted relationships. Right? I am into basically authentic, you're going to say something, I'm going to say something, we're going to respect each other, we're going to listen to each other; and if we agree with each other, we'll have a conversation about that. Yeah?
No problem, that's life. right? And thank God don't agree with everything, otherwise, it'd be so boring. You know, I mentioned talking to yourself in the mirror every day, I mean, that's some boring day, right? Your authenticity matters, it matters a lot.

Jeff
It's funny that you talk about scripted. And as a quick story, I used to have a second job search podcast called job search radio. It became number two in Apple podcast for job search before I discontinued it in early 2019. It was just between no BS, chops, search advice, radio, my YouTube channel, a job search TV, or job search radio. It just became too much, so I discontinued that. And on the first show, the first interview I'd ever done, I brought a friend to interview because anyway, I'd feel comfortable with him. And I scripted out most of the show, including the opening show.

Now, I had a coach and a station manager working with me and the coach said, "Nice, the first interview, really good first interview. The station manager said, "How long did it take you to write the script"? He could spot it right away.

Jon
Yeah, it's so obvious. Right?

Jeff
When I first listened to it, I thought this was smooth. I've got this one down. No problem, I could do this all the time, but it was BS.

Jon
Yeah.

Jeff
And it showed.

Jon
It's BS for real relationships, especially, you know, like a couch for instance, or any form of relational type of work. It's all everything's about trust. So although, you know, a TV anchor is scripted, they play a different game to me in you. Yes? That's another world altogether there. So in our world, it's all about relations. It's all about basically knowing that, Hey, you know what, I'm going to get some advice from you, and I know you're going to be on my side. Okay?

The bottom line, I might not like to hear the advice from that perspective, but I know you're on my side, so the truth matters. And that what that means is you got to make yourself sometimes vulnerable; and vulnerability is actually going to give you freedom. It's going to get you to express yourself specifically and bring some hearts out. I'm very clear, in this time of my career and my lived experience. I'm 59 years old, so I'm not a little kid. The reality is this, today, if I meet somebody, I don't care how capable they are. If they have no heart, there's no way we're going to have a long-term relationship.

Jeff
Yeah!

Jon
No way! I'm very clear about that. And trust me, I've had some friends, okay. That at times displayed some of that, and it was known to them that this is not on anymore. So, it's about having courage. Heart for me is everything, it's everything; because we can all look cool, we can all pretend how great we are, but hey, I want to know, how are we feeling with each other? Yeah? because trust does not come from here. It's not come from their head, it comes from the heart, so I think that's an essential part. And that's also part of your brand, you know, and certainly is part of my brand. And I think, I know for a fact if you spoke to any of my clients, what they'll say to you is, "Who cares".

As a coach, people share their life with you, they open up to you. They tell you all sorts of things that they might have never told anybody to that moment, including the therapist, for instance. So when I shared so much love; because that's what I said when they opened showing like that, it's like, you want to do the best that you can for them. For me as a coach, it makes my life harder because I've got to keep on thinking about this and coming up with solutions. Right? Not that I'm complaining, but the thing is that's when you're gonna make the biggest difference. Okay?

Jeff
And that's what we all go for. And that's really the thing about cashing in that people think it's only about the money, but it's about making the difference. The money comes with the ability to make the difference and being perceived as someone who can make a difference. But you spoke about one thing, and then we have to start wrapping things up.

Jon
Yeah.

Jeff
You spoke about courage. There's a coach that I learned from at one point in 1:02:10 [Inaudible] secretary, who came up with what he calls the castle principles. And it's an acronym for courage, authenticity, service, truthfulness, love, effectiveness, and it starts with the courage. People always forget about courage; because our time these days don't seem to value courage, except now the ability to weep at the drop of a hat.

So I'm just going to wrap things up one extra statement and say, there's a men's retreat weekend, I used to lead for many years. And as the attendees would arrive, they'd be asked one question, "Who are you"? And that's really what branding is all about. Who are you extra core? It's not about the job, although the job is a big part of it, but it's who you are as a man, who you are as a woman at you best? Will all those dimensions, and, if you're the firm, don't accept those dimensions, maybe it's not the right place to be.

Jon
Yeah.

Jeff
John, thank you. I know there's so much more and I'm really enjoying talking to you at some point we ought to do another round. How can people find out more about you, the book that's over your left-hand shoulder, the whole shooting match, okay?

Jon
Well, what I'll do is, I think the best thing that can do is even download free books online. I have the links for you, and that will give him some information that's beyond what we've discussed today; we'll give them an opportunity to self-start themselves without even hiring a professional. That will be a great spur to start getting more conscious about what we've discussed today, and really, really taken it on board. So that will be good, but you know, our websites obviously, www dot image group, one word.com dot AU. You can find us there a state, check this out, but certainly, check out the e-book; because the e-book. It's got some great information, and I think would be highly valuable to you as a great starting point on personal brand.

Jeff
I just want to make sure folks that you're catching the correct spelling of his last thing. It's pronounced Michael, but it's spelled M I C H a I L. And the web address is, image group.com dot AU. I told you it was not a Brooklyn accent.

Jon
Well, it's yeah, it's Brooklyn, Australia.

Jeff
Excellent, and you're going to send me the link so I can include them in the notes, right?

Jon
100%. You'll have everything there, and I'd love to be served to your people. And of course, it's been great chatting with you, Jeff. You're a professional, and you know your stuff, so it's been a privilege being on your show.

Jeff
Thank you. And folks, I'll be back soon with more. This is Jeff Hoffman, the big game Hunter. If you're interested in my coaching, you just visit my websites, the big game, hunter dot US. While you're there, you can schedule time for a free discovery call, a special time for coaching, but the blog is sensational. Thousands of posts that are designed to help you. And what I do in my coaching is like coalesce all that information to make it easy and manageable for you so that you can execute throughout your entire search.

So again, that's the big game hunter.us. One last thing I'll mention to you, you know, connect with me on LinkedIn, LinkedIn forward slash high-end forward slash the big game hunter. Mention that you saw the interview. I like to know how I'm helping some folks. And once we're connected, tell me what you'd like to know. We'll figure out a time to connect and I'll see how I can help. Hope you have a terrific day, and this is my favorite part, be great. Take care!

You might also like, “Small Mistakes, Big Consequences”

ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2200 episodes.

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