Building Personal Brands with Emotional Intelligence – Dr. Abiola Salami

Experts say a personal brand is built around you— your personality, lifestyle, and interests. In my opinion, personal branding is an inside-out approach to maintaining a track record of demonstrated excellence. In building a sustainable personal brand therefore, we need to master the skills in Emotional Intelligence.

Most of the success literature published over 200 years ago focused on some elements of Emotional Intelligence as being the foundation of success. Things like cheerfulness, courage, humility, honour, love, integrity, confidence, joy, hope, fairness, modesty and the Golden Rule.

However, over the past half a century, the basic view of success shifted from these elements of Emotional Intelligence to what I will call elements of “Attraction Intelligence.”

In “Attraction Intelligence” books, the driving force behind success was shown to be an individual’s personality – as opposed to character. The books focused on things like dress sense, make up, public image, grooming, performance, charisma and acceptance in social interactions, media & PR, having a positive mental attitude, skills and techniques to get people to behave in certain ways.

While there area few attempts in contemporary times to bring attention to the elements of Emotional Intelligence, most people ignore them and focus on their long-held opinion of ‘Attraction Intelligence’ in building personal branding where a brand cannot live up to its market promise.

According to Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand yourself (i.e. self-awareness) and manage yourself (i.e. self-management) as we also understand other people (i.e. social awareness) and manage others (i.e. relationship management).

Everyone wants a strong personal brand. The one where you walk into a client’s office, a boardroom or a social gathering and people think all the right things about you.

But, ignoring self-awareness while only emphasising dress sense, swag and other outward reflection of your personal brand is the fastest way to kill your personal brand. Why? The packaging will be awesome but the content awful.

Self-awareness is about knowing yourself as you really are -it is discovering your authenticity.

There are  three simple things you can do to help you in the journey of self awareness.

Firstly, keep a journal about your emotions.The biggest challenge to developing self-awareness is objectivity.

It’s hard to develop perspective on your emotions and tendencies when every day feels like a new mountain to climb. With a journal, you can record what events triggered strong emotions in you and how you responded to them. Write about occurrences at work and home. Don’t leave anything behind.

Psychologists say in just 21 days, you will begin to see patterns in your emotions and you will develop a better understanding of your tendencies.You will get a better idea of which emotions get you down, which pick you up and which are the most important for you to tolerate.

Secondly, know who and what pushes your button. We all have buttons. (It’s fondly called mumu button in the Nigerian colloquial parlance). You know that conduct or person that irritates you until you want to scream. To use this strategy, you can’t think about things generally. You need to pinpoint the specific people and situations that trigger positive or negative emotions in you.

It could be certain people (e.g. a recalcitrant co-worker or client); particular situations (e.g. impromptu reports or meetings) or conditions in the environment (e.g. a noisy office). Having a clear understanding of who or what pushes your buttons makes the people and situations a bit less difficult because they come as less of a surprise.

Finally, seek feedback. Self-awareness is the process of getting to know yourself from inside-out and the outside-in.

Your experiences, beliefs and of course moods will get in your way of having a rich source of lessons that could come from friends, coworkers, mentors, supervisors and family. When you ask for their feedback, please get specific examples and situations and as you gather answers, look for similarities in the information.

Having the courage to peer at what others see, can get you to a level of self-awareness that few people attain.

It is important to note that there is no finish line where you will receive a medal or certificate of self awareness. But it is a continuous journey of getting to know yourself inside-out. It should be an ongoing commitment to peeling back the layers of the onion and becoming more and more comfortable with what is in the middle. The true essence of you and a self-appraisal on the elements of Emotional Intelligence (i.e. cheerfulness, courage, humility, honour, love, integrity, confidence, joy, hope, fairness, modesty and the Golden Rule).

Paying attention to this, will help you build an authentic personal brand.

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