This is the fourth and final installment (at least for now) in the series “Maximizing Your Personal Brand.” I trust that you have benefited from the previous posts in the series, and that if you have not yet read all of them, you’ll find some time to do so. It will complete the picture where personal brand is concerned. Here are those links, for your convenience:
Maximizing Your Personal Brand Part 1: Attire
Maximizing Your Personal Brand Part 2: Hair
Maximizing Your Personal Brand Part 3: Hygiene
Don’t skip over those too quickly. While the topics may sound simple, there is something for everyone in each of them (even those who are proudly sporting a bald head or who consider yourself squeaky clean).
In the event that you’re pressed for time, but have missed previous posts, let me quickly summarize one last time two key foundational concepts where personal brand is concerned:
- Nonverbal communication extends beyond expressions and gestures.
The first impressions that you make happen before you even get a chance to speak; yet those impressions will often dictate how – or even if – people will receive your message.First impressions can dictate how – or even IF – people will receive your message. Click To Tweet
- You are your own personal brand.
This means devoting adequate time and resources to making sure that your identity remains unique, positive and memorable.Make sure your personal brand remains unique, positive and memorable. Click To Tweet
With that, let’s look at one final area that significantly impacts personal brand. And in keeping with the other posts in this series, this isn’t just about the obvious stuff like workouts. So even if you hit the gym six days a week, keep reading. There’s something here for you.
Health – Personal Brand Strategy #5
This is perhaps an even tougher issue to address than hygiene, because it gets at the heart of body image among other things. But a healthy person is just perceived as more confident, welcoming – and trustworthy. The general thought people have, even if subconscious, is this: If he isn’t disciplined enough to take care of himself, why should I trust him to be responsible with this project or undertaking?
Life can get busy and it’s easy to scarf down junk food on the go all too often, eating it in the car while we race between appointments. But you don’t need me to convince you that this is a bad rut. Prepare healthy food in bulk, and then portion it out into easy-to-grab containers kept in the fridge. Have plenty of portable fruit around. With just a little effort, you can change your eating habits and your overall health (and probably even save some money over the cost of eating fast food all the time).
Don’t forget the importance of hydration. If you are even a little dehydrated for a while, it can take a real toll on your energy, focus and general health. While I’m sure some Negative Nancy you know told you that you can die from drinking too much water, most people (by far) are not in any danger of overdoing it where hydration is concerned. And if you are a coffee or soda drinker, be aware that caffeine is a diuretic, which can cause you to actually lose water even though you feel like you are drinking plenty of liquids. The more caffeine you intake, the more water you need. This might be a T.M.I. moment, but we’re all adults here: as a general rule, if your urine is clear, you are properly hydrated. The darker it is, the more trouble you’re in as far as dehydration. If you didn’t already know this, you’ll thank me, because you’ll now get plenty of reminders to drink more water – several times a day, in fact.
Make room for exercise. That doesn’t mean you have to pump iron for hours daily, jump into high-intensity classes, or buy the latest video series that promises to have you shredded in two months. Fitness looks different for different people. Maybe it means adding some focused walking to your day. Maybe it’s doing some high-rep/low-weight routines at home. No one is so busy that you can’t invest even 20 or 30 minutes a day into health. And the benefits go far beyond physique or self-esteem. Not only will you look better, you’ll have more stamina and focus, and be able to increase overall productivity.
In addition, be sure you are getting enough sleep. Dark circles, sunken eyes and a gray countenance just come across as haggard, even irritated, all of which affects your overall approachability and personal brand.
The ways in which health affects your person – and thus, your personal brand – extend beyond physical choices like exercise, diet and sleep. They include mental health. As mentioned already, the choices we make regarding our bodies do have a direct impact on our state of mind, but there are other areas to consider which may not be so obvious.
Those of us who tend toward being overachievers need to remember to set healthy limits for ourselves. And this is often hard to do, because of the drive we feel. I know that I myself have to be intentional about setting aside (and really protecting) time to relax, play and be still. While some may need to do less relaxation and play and perhaps do a bit more work, those who lean toward working too much can struggle with feeling uncomfortable with downtime – like we’re missing an opportunity or being “lazy” if we slow down at all. Initiative and commitment are good things. But running non-stop without adequate time to refill builds a baseline of stress that is not healthy.Running non-stop without adequate time to refill builds a baseline of stress that is not healthy. Click To Tweet
Not only can it actually decrease the quality of our work, but it can cause us to make inefficient use of all those hours we’re putting in. Negativity creeps in. We begin to be a little shorter with people. There are just a host of possible detriments to our person, and thus to our personal brand.
It’s all about balance. Rather than considering protected times of silence, reflection, meditation and even play time as barriers to success, consider that they are actually necessary inclusions to operate more efficiently during your working hours.
Finally, no matter how careful we are about maintaining balance, there will be times in the life of anyone who’s doing anything worth doing where stress is higher than normal. It’s important to our overall health to have systems in place for navigating those times in a positive way, and decreasing the amount of time they last. At the very least, it’s important to have someone to talk to who can be “in it” with us without being emotionally capsized; someone who can be truly empathetic yet maintain some objectivity; and, perhaps most importantly, someone who can tell us the truth, even when it’s hard. While a spouse or significant other can certainly be a comfort or valuable ally during times of stress, they aren’t always the best person where maintaining distance or objectivity is concerned. Consider finding a mentor, life coach, counselor or even a trusted friend who fits the bill and won’t just tell you what you want to hear.
In The Best Advice So Far, I devote a chapter to the concept of limitations (both expanding and contracting them). In this chapter, I talk about a time in college where I wound up hospitalized and in a life-threatening state due to maintaining a 4.0 GPA, investing in the lives of area youth, and otherwise “working hard” to my own detriment. My mother said something when I finally came through the worst of it (having missed a couple of days of my life unconscious), something that I’ve never forgotten: “Saving the world and keeping up a four-point-oh GPA does no one any good if you’re dead.” While your own circumstances may not be quite so dire as that, the truth of what my mother told me still applies. In short, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone or anything else well.If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone or anything else well. Click To Tweet
Our personal brand communicates who we are, and that goes far beyond our spoken or written words or message. As leaders, maintaining a strong, positive and genuine personal brand is vital, including being intentional in areas concerning our broad health. If we aren’t willing and able to lead ourselves well, people will not have the confidence to follow.If we aren’t willing and able to lead ourselves well, people will not have the confidence to follow. Click To Tweet
Adam Smith says
Health is such an important topic, Erik. As you pointed out, if you cannot take care of yourself, how in the world will you be able to lead others. Great post!
Erik Tyler says
Thanks, Adam. I had plenty of challenges to health decisions on my Bahamas cruise! (But I did hit the on-gym daily, which I was happy with!).
Excellent advice Erik and such great quotes. This is an ongoing area of growth for me. Self-care is so important. With multiple jobs & kiddos, it’s not an easy balancing act. Planning ahead & scheduling out time for self-care is what is working for me right now. I can confidently say that the extra planning is worth the effort 🙂
Erik Tyler says
Kids and young guys always ask me, “How do you stay so excited and motivated about health and the gym?” And my honest answer is this: “I don’t. It’s always hard, always a struggle. I do it on sheer discipline.” It’s never easy, so good job doing what you need to do in order to keep healthy living in the picture.