“Be sincere in your aim and you will find the help of Allah (swt) surrounding you” – Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyyah
“Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken”. – Oscar Wilde, Author and Playwright
As the world becomes more flat, digital media evolves and new disruptive ideas spread, the demand for individuals in particular areas of expertise/subject matters is growing quickly.
With all the imitation & regurgitated content; Writers, story tellers and intellectuals with original narratives and perspectives tend to easily stand out in the pack. As a result, what we’re witnessing more and more, is the formation of personal brands.
Think about it; even within the Muslim community, we see the blueprint of establishing one’s own personal brand. The combination of organizing one’s lecture, e-books, custom Vlogs, a personal website, and creating uniformity of one’s message across outlets like twitter & facebook with quality content can easily propel one’s own personal brand. If we look at communities as spaces and each space is producing unique personalities that bring vision and tell the stories that need to be told, then the personal brands will follow.
All things said, why is this topic important or even worth discussing? You might ask, If one sets out to build their own personal brand, are they narcissistic? Well depends on how you look at it, but, as Muslims, Islam teaches us to be grounded like gravity in our intentions but more importantly remain humble no matter how much personal success we achieve in this life.
Success is obviously opened to interpretation, but as one’s influence grows, then the easier it is to have your ego inflated or like it’s said, the person can get “gassed up”.
I’d thought I write about this because popularity can easily lead one to doing things for the sake of a worldly benefit. While personal branding brings out a person’s potential and ability to market their skills effectively, it’s overarching goal should be refocused around purpose and why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Bottomline, a personal brand is how you market yourself and offer value to the world. It’s that skill set you bring to the table and are depended on for help when others are in need.
Those of us who are out looking to have an impact in this world with roles that force us to interact with the public, need to be more cognizant of the big picture.
We don’t want to show up in front of Allah (swt) being exposed for our otherwise intent of doing the work we did.
Ultimately, it’s God that has blessed each of us with some sort of vision, comprehension and passion for what we enjoy doing. It’s only right we use it positively and with the right intention so we’re giving back to those who need to be taught.
If you’re familiar with street lingo, you might have heard hear people say “Do You”, what that basically means is as an individual you need to exercise your own judgement, be critical of yourself and think things through.
One brother once told “Do you and I’ll make du’a for you”. Personal branding demands that you do carve out your niche and master it.
Marc Ecko in his book “Unlabel” talks about the idea of being different and not standing out amongst the herd like behavior in society. More importantly, people will always be out to steal your ideas but what they can’t do is steal your personal brand. Not even the grinch.
Like one rapper said, “they can imitate, but cant’ replicate”.
That’s the formula of creating your unique voice, not let’s dive into how to build a personal brand:
Ask yourself what you’re most passionate about, align it with your career goals and execute.
Drill Down on Your Values
A good brand contains powerful attributes, it triggers certain emotional cues that allow your audience to feel a certain way when they come across your work.
Diversify Your Presence
Start a personal website and blog (ideally a domain with your name). Get on linkedin, twitter, facebook, go network. “Your network is your net worth”.
Whatever you do in life, you gotta be consistent. In the presidential election debate, one candidate took a verbal shot at another presidential candidate and said “the only thing consistent about you is your inconsistency”. Don’t be that person.
This is the most important to me, I believe that whatever we do when it comes to speaking out or building a personal brand, there has to be a consciousness of giving Daw’ah. At the end of day, we’re all ambassadors of Islam.
It’s always a scary thought and challenge to keep your intentions pure. The shayateen are always whispering in our hearts and coming sideways. They tailor temptations to each of us a.k.a create fitna flares.
Before I wrap this post up like a turban, I wanted to share one of my favorite ayah’s in the Qur’an is from Surah ‘Ibrahim that keeps me motivated, which states:
Have you not seen that Allah created the heavens and the earth in truth? If He wills, He can do away with you and produce a new creation.
May Allah (swt) help us keep our intentions in check and use our talents to build personal brands that will bring positive benefit to those who we come across.