The Most Important Principle for Building Your Personal Brand

“Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing.” — Abraham Lincoln

Christopher D. Connors


If you have to think very long about how you want other people to think of you, you’re doing it all wrong. You’re overthinking things. The strongest proof of who you are and “what you do” is demonstrable, repeatable results of success, which are born out of living out your life’s purpose — your mission. Simply put — you are what you think, what you say and what you do. It’s a fusion of all three.

This becomes your character — who you truly are.

So why does this matter to you? If you’re looking to build and cultivate your personal brand, you should concern yourself with purpose and truth. Focus intensely on your core mission, values, loved ones, goals and your definition of success. Overthinking and stressing about perception leads to anxiety, which leads to frustration, which ultimately leads to wasted time.

Time is our most precious commodity — God knows we all need more of it to do all the things we really want!

Crafting Your Brand

Branding is all about exporting our best qualities so they will be received positively and with admiration. We learn in life that while we may be able to control the message, we can’t always control how others perceive it. I’ve seen many entrepreneurs and creators struggle in the digital age because they try to fit into a box of what they think others think they should be, rather than who they truly are. Think about that:

That’s completely ridiculous. It never, ever works. And yet, you probably know someone who employs this strategy thinking it’s to their advantage. It’s actually to their complete disadvantage! Just like that, a reputation is formed and harmed in just a few minutes.

Abraham Lincoln taught us that we should concern ourselves with our character and that we should put down roots by starting with who we really are. I spent a lot of time several years ago obsessing over who I wanted others to think I am. It succeeded on getting me out of my comfort zone (I’m naturally shy), but it did little to form the foundation of the person I’ve become.

So I tried a much more practical approach: I focused on what I do well, what I value most and the things that most inspire and draw passion from me. Sure, I developed a social media strategy and plan, as well as a marketing plan for how I share my content. But I learned through experience, observation and research that a minimalist approach to branding is always best.

Be honest, stay true to yourself and do what you’re meant to do.

Your Differentiators

As you progress in your branding approach, ask yourself this critical question: What’s your differentiator? In other words, what makes your message unique? If you just parrot what thought leaders and others say, your message will be easier to dismiss. The world doesn’t need duplicates — it needs innovators. Creative thought, inspired by others, turns into your own message that you can share with the world.

“Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers.” — Elizabeth Arden

Then, you start building a reputation among the people that read, hear or see your message. They want to know more about you. They start forming opinions based on what you put out into the world. And that’s where repetition comes in, to solidify your character. While your views on life will change as you grow and expand your mind, you should always stay true to what makes you, you.

Repeating the authenticity of your message makes it resonate with others. Here are the thoughts I hope to convey to anyone reading my writing, watching me speak at conferences and on TV programs, and listening me on a radio interview:

  • Original, authentic and someone who stays true to himself
  • Someone who likes to keep things simple by extracting ideas and concepts and personalizing them for YOUR development
  • Someone who lives by values. Loves his family and the people around him. Loves himself in a self-care kind of way. Is grateful, kind and encouraging of others and wants them to tap into their potential. Puts you the consumer, first
  • Funny and willing to poke fun at himself. Eager to bring out the positive emotions in others in an effort to help them grow and make sense of who they truly are

Focus on What Makes You, You

“The way to gain good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” Socrates

If you live a virtuous life, if you treat others with respect, kindness and concern, then you already are more than halfway there. When it comes to crafting your goals for social media, your personal brand or any pursuit, give your all to concentrating on what you consider to be success. That’s the building of character right there. That’s how you build a brand you can be proud of.

You may never see or meet the people you’re trying to influence, so strive for your reputation to become a reflection of your character. The way to put yourself out there is to use authentic, thoughtful reflections of yourself. On Instagram, Facebook, Linked in, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and more. Don’t intentionally play on people’s emotions. Just be real.

Think of the life you want to live and what you’re best suited to give back to the world. Develop your strategy and plan. Then, repeat the process and keep learning along the way. The world needs your voice — so make it original.

You’re Here to Create. Build Your Brand.

I’m helping thousands of people each day build their life on values and put together their personal game plan. Join me! Check out The Value of You, my Amazon bestseller. The e-book is available for a limited time for just $2.99! Order the e-book HERE!

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Additional Writing

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