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Your personal brand: Having an inner father

Father’s Day makes us think about one of the first important relationships with an authority figure in our lives: our father. For some it can be a painful contemplation, perhaps rules and early discipline, or it may be an absence, a feeling that we missed out on something, or didn’t get to know that person well as an adult. They might remain a shadowy figure from our childhood whose image we can’t quite make out. For those of us lucky enough to have had a mentoring relationship, it is the first glimpse of how the outside world connects to us personally, a reflection of societal rules and how to follow them.

Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

One thing we know, it isn’t easy to be a father. This person has to have warmth and love, yet give a clear picture of how things work out there in the big world. If you steal an apple, you are doing something wrong, you commit a sin, and you commit a crime. Our fathers are the ones who encouraged us to be brave facing trouble, like getting an injection at the doctor’s office. I remember after one failed attempt on the part of the doctor to administer the needed medication, a chat with my father encouraging me to be a good little soldier while he held my hand, yielded the necessary compliance. After that, I understood, it was painful, but something that had to be done and I was to do it in a way that helped me handle it. I never forgot that lesson, because on the one had my father empathized with my fear and yet on the other hand, gave me a way, a mental attitude with which to face it successfully.

So it is with our personal brand. We are who we are in our personal self, yet we must find our mental attitude with which to face the world of work, of employment. We have to demonstrate our expertise, our ability to cope with those things the big world demands of us. We have to reveal ourselves, yet we function as our own fatherly guide knowledgeable about how to cope. So many people feel lost when they are trying to prove themselves and find employment or a new career. I often tell people to pretend they are their own best friend taking them by the hand to lead them through the tough steps of resume preparation and interviewing. Another way to consider it would to imagine that caring ‘Dad’ who said you were able to play second base or that you could run straight as an arrow, giving you tips about how best to present yourself to be successful. That inner coach or ‘father’ giving you needed encouragement is exactly the person you need at this time. Keep that voice close to help you develop your personal brand.

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