LINKAGE Q1 (2021) - Choose To Challenge
By Golda Lee Bruce
Four years ago, former news anchor, Golda Lee Bruce experienced an internal shift. She felt called to do more but had no idea how to answer the call. It so happened that personal branding was a good place to begin. Here’s her story.
I just had this overwhelming feeling that I had to do more. For many years I had found purpose in media, but a bout of anxiety and depression changed how I thought about my life and work. I suddenly believed there was a part of my potential that was going untapped, and I wanted to use all of my talents and influence. It was a scary feeling. There were times when I actually longed for the contentment I had before. But it was gone, and a new path lay before me.
So, the question was - where to begin? I started jotting down things I could do to live more purposefully. I wrote down my strengths and weaknesses. I wrote ideas for content I could create, videos I could make, events I could host and books I could write. But there was one beautiful paradox. Life in media had given me a platform, but it had also shaped how I was perceived by the public. I got my first job in journalism at 20 years old and so, to many people, I was and would always be the “News Lady.”
I forged ahead and decided to build a website. It seemed like a good plan. It would serve as a repository for all the inspirational and motivational content I planned to create. And then I set out to find someone who could help me to build my website. And that’s when I met the consultant who told me “we’ll eventually get to the website, but what you need is rebranding.”
Up to that point, I had never thought about branding outside of the news brands I had worked for. I certainly had not thought about a personal brand. And so, it was hard for me to answer the difficult questions that were being asked, such as: Who are you? How do you want to influence others? How do you wish to be perceived?
It turns out that I also thought of myself as only a news anchor and I had to dig deep to find the rest of who I was. After months of searching, I made a discovery: I was a storyteller and I had always been. I realised that at the very core journalists are storytellers. But even before the media career, I enjoyed telling stories. As a child, I wrote songs and I participated in storytelling competitions. Constructing narratives has always been part of my life. So now I know that whether I am in a newsroom, on a stage motivating young people or working in international development, my stories are my superpower.
Now, allow me to share with you the four most important lessons from my leap.
1. Believe in your brand. The first step was that I had to begin calling myself a storyteller. I headed off to social media and I edited my profiles. It was terrifying. I was worried that people would think of me sitting under a tree telling stories to children. And maybe some people did. But as I began to call myself what I was, most people believed me.
2. You are your brand. You’ve probably heard this before. That’s because it is absolutely true. The world’s best marketing cannot conceal a misalignment between who you are and who you say you are. Be honest with yourself about yourself. We all have something to offer to the world, ensure your personal brand tells the truth about what you are offering.
3. Establish targets. What are you trying to achieve? How will you know when you have achieved it? Targets are important for keeping us on track and personally accountable. As a wise person once put it - what gets measured gets done.
4. Appoint a brand board. This sounds much more complicated than it is. Find four of five people in your life, who know you and your goals. Ask them to keep track of your progress and to be honest with you about what you’re doing well, and areas for improvement. Ask them to tell the truth, even when it is hard to do. As you begin to take your personal brand seriously, opinions are likely to come pouring in, don’t incline your ear to everyone. Trust your brand board.
When we talk about branding many people think about logos, colour schemes and photoshoots. That was my mistake too. But before all that comes the acknowledgement that each of us already has a personal brand. It’s up to us to develop our brands and use them to impact the lives of others.
Golda Lee Bruce wants to leave the world better than she found it. She believes in the power of stories to motivate people and transform lives. As a journalist and news anchor for over a decade, Golda told the stories of the people of the Caribbean. She continues this work as a Development Storyteller and Communications Specialist.
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