Personal Branding Requires a True Reason to be Celebrated

By Jeff Beals

We see it all the time – celebrities behaving badly

A baby-faced beauty grows up into a drug-addicted, histrionic has-been with a long rap sheet and a collection of orange-jumpsuit photos. A professional athlete goes to jail for assaulting his girlfriend. A famous musician and his bodyguard are arrested for punching an autograph-seeker in the face.

America is afflicted with bad-behaving celebrities and a 24-hour media industry that is desperate to report celebrity abuses.

And then there are those who do outrageous things in hope of becoming famous.

The explosion of reality television shows and viral social media videos has made it possible for seemingly anyone to be a celebrity if they have the right look, at least a little bit of charisma and the willingness to perform outrageous stunts in front of millions of incredulous eyes. Turn on television on any given night and you’re apt to see someone eating a live cockroach, screaming at their spouse or allowing a camera crew to document their most intimate moments just so they can be a national celebrity (even if it only lasts for 15 minutes).

The word “celebrity” has become tarnished.

You may be surprised that I, as author of a book on self marketing, am troubled by the over-emphasis on celebrity status in America. I’m concerned despite the fact that I advise professionals to become “a celebrity in your own sphere of interest.”

In a loud, crowded and brutally competitive world, professionals need to be well known by the people who make up their personal target audiences – clients, potential clients, anyone who could refer business, bosses, co-workers, classmates, community leaders, etc. If you’re a celebrity in your own sphere of business, you possess social and professional power that can help you reach your goals.

But I think of “celebrity in your own sphere of interest” as being known for an on-going series of respected achievements. In other words, you have to do it right. In order for your “celebrity status” to be effective, exhibit good behavior. If you work hard and do impressive things, you deserve be “celebrated,” and that’s where the word “celebrity” comes from.

Don’t be like those awful celebrities on television. Instead, be a “celebrity in your own sphere of interest” and make sure you are famous for something that provides value to society.

But how do you let the world know the wonderful things you are doing without coming across negatively?

You need the right attitude and the right frame of mind.

Despite the necessity of personal branding, many professionals are not entirely comfortable doing it. They’re afraid they might cross the fine line and become the type of person that others try to avoid. That’s a reasonable concern, because Nobody likes braggarts, show-offs, know-it-alls and blowhards.

Ironically, living as a celebrity in your own sphere of interest requires the virtue of humility. Promote yourself while making it look like you’re not trying. Let people know what you’re doing without being obnoxious. Above all, make sure you have real accomplishments to promote.

Never fear, you can avoid turning your personal branding efforts into egotistical boasting by asking yourself two questions:

If people knew the real reason why I want to become a celebrity in my own sphere of interest, would I be embarrassed?

If the answer is “no,” you’re probably okay.

Do the things I do for personal branding purposes also have legitimate economic, cultural or social benefit?

If the answer is “yes,” you’re probably okay.

Simply put, you will find it easier to accomplish your goals and reach your potential if a lot of quality people know you and have a positive image of you in their minds. Being a celebrity in your own sphere of interest is good for business success and career advancement. Just make sure that as you journey down the path to personal stardom, you take your ethical and moral beliefs along with you. If you do, you should be just fine.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone else who might benefit from it.

Mini Blast: Finding Clients in Surprising Places

By Jeff Beals

On a visit to his neighborhood Starbucks a few years ago, photographer Brad Williams saw several attractive photographs displayed on the walls. Williams, who specializes in outdoor photography, was primarily a hobbyist back then but was becoming known for his artistic shots of buildings, skylines and cityscapes.

Realizing that his photos stacked up favorably to those already displayed, Williams showed his creative work to the Starbucks manager. Soon thereafter, his photographs were on display for coffee drinkers and latte sippers to enjoy.

One day a local real estate developer happened to notice Williams’ photograph of a suspension bridge. The developer had been looking for a talented photographer to shoot his buildings, so he gave Williams a call.

The real estate developer became a loyal client and still is to this day. Williams has built his photography business and now boasts a long list of prestigious clients. Photography has become a profitable side business that compliments his fulltime work at a civil engineering firm.

Opportunities to market you and your business are practically everywhere. You simply need to keep your eyes open and take action.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

Writing Your Personal Calling Card

By Jeff Beals

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it,” Sir Winston Churchill once said.

While he was best known as the prime minister who led Great Britain through World War II, Churchill was a prolific writer. He wrote articles, opinion pieces and books of all kinds – novels and biographies as well as political and historical non-fiction.

Churchill lived his life publicly through his written words. Writing was a way to build his reputation as a public servant and an expert on international political affairs. Churchill realized early in his career that those who wrote their thoughts for broad audiences had more control over how they were perceived.

Writing remains a powerful tool in current times.

Professionals who appreciate the value of personal branding are wise to sit down at their keyboards and start hammering out their pearls of wisdom. Writing can bring tremendous opportunities. That’s why more and more professionals are blogging and submitting articles to publications. Setting up a blog takes only a few minutes. Every major city has numerous publications, and many of these depend on outside writers to supply the content.

Think of writing as a form of marketing, a personal calling card. If you write enough articles, and spread them around the Internet, people will start to notice you and eventually respect you as an accomplished, well-known expert.

To help you write and blog successfully, here are some tips:

Thou shalt be interesting

“Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either,” said American author Meg Cabot.

Entertaining the reader is just as important as educating the reader. Pick a topic that relates to what you do professionally but is fascinating to others.

Identify sources

If research is necessary, find the best possible sources. Those sources might be interviews you set up with experts. Convincing prospective sources to do interviews can be challenging, because many of these people have been burned before by journalists. Let them know that your motives are positive. Be transparent and explain exactly what you are doing with the article or blog.

Take copious notes during interviews. If you quote someone, you have an ethical obligation to make sure you write their words verbatim.

Write like a pro

Purchase a copy of the Associated Press Stylebook. You can find it at most bookstores and on line. The vast majority of publications follow AP style. If you follow it, your writing will appear to be much more legitimate. By the way, there are a number of little quirks to AP style. For example, AP uses the term “adviser” instead of “advisor.” Large cities like Chicago, Atlanta and Boston “stand alone,” meaning you don’t write the state name following them. Speaking of state names, AP doesn’t use the U.S. Post Office abbreviations. For instance, Colorado is “Colo.,” not “CO.” California is “Calif.,” not “CA.” Some states such as Iowa and Maine are not abbreviated at all.

Big stuff first

When composing your article, use the “inverted pyramid” method of writing. The fat base of the upside-down pyramid is at the top of the article, and it represents the biggest, most significant, most newsworthy part of the story. The small, narrow tip of the pyramid at the bottom represents the least meaningful part of the story. Place great emphasis on the article’s first sentence also known as “the lead.”

Active rather than passive

Most of your writing should be in the active voice instead of passive voice. In other words, “The president vetoed the bill” is better than, “The bill was vetoed by the president.”

Remember 8th grade English class

Use proper grammar, punctuation and spelling. Proofread carefully. Tenses should be consistent. Subjects and verbs ought to agree.

Make it tight

Mark Twain once said, “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

When we talk among friends, we tend to throw in a bunch of “filler words.” Delete these when writing. As Stephen King believes, “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”

Brevity is beautiful

Short articles are more readable than long ones. As German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, “It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.”

Use real words

Don’t try to be too cute with your writing by filling it with clichés or politically correct double speak. Make your message as clear as possible; avoid balderdash, poppycock and gobbledygook.

Don’t get defensive

Unless you are writing in your own blog or for a publication you personally created, you give up some control once you submit the article. An editor will probably review your work and make at least a few changes. For the most part, having an editor is a blessing as it reduces the likelihood of errors.

Learn from the Masters

“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it,” William Faulkner once said. “Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”

Those who read often tend to write well.

Any professional can enjoy increased name recognition and ultimately more business through writing. The trick is to do it properly and compel people to read your material. After all, the best-written article in the world is useless if nobody reads it.

As you write, put yourself in the reader’s shoes. You must make sure that someone who knows little about your subject, who quickly browses it, can understand and appreciate the message you are trying to convey.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone else who might benefit from it.

Recovery Is One of the Five “R’s” of your Professional Success

By Jeff Beals

I’ve never been much of a wrestling fan.

Don’t get me wrong; I certainly respect the sport and admire how hard wrestlers work. I just never really got into it. But when I heard the next scheduled speaker was the winningest person in the history of the sport, my ears perked up.

Earlier that morning, I served as opening keynote speaker at the Iowa Commercial Real Estate Expo. Hundreds of brokers, lenders, developers and property managers from across Iowa had converged on Des Moines for a day of learning, networking and motivation. After speaking, I stayed for the rest of the one-day conference as an attendee.

The closing speaker that afternoon was the legendary Dan Gable, a larger-than-life figure in the state of Iowa and a titan of the wrestling world.

Just how storied was his wrestling career?

For starters, Gable never lost a single match in high school. At Iowa State University, he was a three-time All-American and compiled a record of 118-1, never losing until the final match of his senior year. He went on to win a gold medal in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

He became head wresting coach at the University of Iowa in 1976 and led the Hawkeyes to 16 NCAA national championships and 21 Big Ten Conference championships. Such a run of dominance is extraordinarily rare in the history of athletic competition.

Now retired as a coach, Gable is still involved in the sport and played an instrumental role earlier this year in saving wrestling as an Olympic sport.

As you might imagine, a man of Gable’s accomplishments had this audience of commercial real estate professionals sitting on the edges of their chairs in rapt attention hanging on his every word.

So what pearls of wisdom did the living legend have for these hard-charging, success-hungry real estate pros?

Well, in any motivational speech, certain things tend to stand out. In this case, it was the five “R’s” of success that Gable often repeated to his athletes and assistant coaches. He shared them with us with sly grin on his face: “Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic, wRestling and Recovery.”

The first four “R’s” make sense, but what is “recovery?”

When Gable competed as an athlete, he trained and practiced incredibly hard. Some might have even accused him of “over-training.” But his super-human workouts never wore him out. They never left him too exhausted to practice at full speed the next day. The reason for his resiliency was his belief in recovery. At the end of each practice, he had a strict routine – stretching, ice, sauna, steam room, massage and mental relaxation. He never cheated himself this critical recovery period. Many of his fellow wrestlers would pack up and leave as soon as practice was done but not Gable. He considered recovery to be just as important as the practice and workout. When he became a coach, he demanded his athletes be just as committed to the art of recovery. This allowed his teams to exhibit unmatched stamina.

Gable told the assembled real estate pros that “recovery” was important in their profession too. It should be a part of every professional’s routine.

What does “recovery” mean in the non-sports world?

Recovery is necessary for ambitious achievers who want to make it to the top and perhaps even more important for people at the top who want to stay there. Gable often delivers speeches to people who work in sales positions. He commonly meets high-achieving salespeople who are frazzled, burned out and making themselves sick as they try to match and exceed their previous successes. Whenever Gable meets such people, he preaches about recovery.

Regardless of your profession, you need recovery. To this day, as a consultant, speaker and businessman, Gable reserves time for recovery. During this time, he slows things down in his mind. He analyzes what happened earlier in the day, both good and bad. He breaks down not only his actions but his emotions. He assesses where he will go or how he will respond the next day. Like Gable, your recovery should be physical, mental and emotional.

And this isn’t something you’re supposed to rush through half-heartedly. Gable believes recovery should be a full hour at the end of the day. That’s difficult, when you’re busy, but the results speak for themselves.

Dan Gable is one of the most competitive human beings you’ll ever meet. Even during the speech, he was sharply focused and “in the zone.” He is “all in” in everything he does. If a guy that intense uses recovery time to propel him to the very top, it sure makes sense for the rest of us too.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone else who might benefit from it.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.