Know your why and you’ll grow your personal brand

One of the hardest things to nail down when thinking about your personal brand is “why”.

Group shot of Isaac, Dennis, Heather, Logan, and others

I was sitting around a long conference table at GoDaddy talking with my friends Dennis Yu, Logan Young,  and Heather Dopson. The conversation centered around personal brand and Dennis asked me, “why are you passionate”?

I thought for a second and before I could even start my answer, he stops me. He says, “no, do it on video – in under a minute”. I immediately thought, “Damn Dennis, how about I do it juggling flaming bowling balls too”. That’s a lot of information to share in a short time.

I’m glad I didn’t say that because Dennis would have said, “YES! That would work great for Facebook!” – I’m only half joking.

What Dennis was getting at is the core of Personal Branding. He wanted me to really think about and know what drove me. If I couldn’t share a story that explained my why in under a minute, I didn’t have enough focus – yet.

Look at it this way. Nobody cares about your passion until they know why its your passion.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Richard Simmons was a fitness guru before it was cool. His message was, “If I can get in shape, anyone can”. His passion was fitness and we knew why – he wasn’t active and made a choice to get in shape.

John Walsh from America’s Most Wanted is passionate about catching criminals and protecting children from predators. His son Adam was taken from a mall and met a tragic fate. He found relief by helping others and catching bad guys.

It’s easier said than done.

I grabbed a video camera and went to work recording my “why” video. I didn’t know just how hard it would be. My first video clocked in at just under four minutes. It wasn’t concise enough.

I filmed another round and edited it down to 2:36 minutes. Still, too long. I mean, my family would watch it, but that’s about it. I had to cut out another minute of the story.

The third edit came in at just under a minute and a half. That would work. Here’s the secret I learned:

Telling people why you’re passionate gets easier the more you do it. You naturally edit yourself down by telling the story over and over. You skip the filler and quickly get to the point by practicing.

You know what else happens? You get authentic. The real passion and emotion comes out and it translates well on camera. So grab your phone and start recording friends. Share your passion and tell the world why it’s so important to you.

Expect to mess up. Expect to edit yourself. Expect to get frustrated. Expect to get discouraged. It’s going to happen the first few times you film. The best example I have is driving a car.

Don’t over-think your video

When you first get your permit to drive, you’re over-thinking everything. Mirrors, hands, feet, controls, pedals. Then there’s the anxiety about driving – it all adds up.

Think about driving a car now. Do you think about any of it. It’s just natural at this point. It’s so natural that you can hold a coffee, talk to your passenger, and change the radio station without even thinking.

So trust me, it gets easier and your videos, blog posts, and social posts improve. You just have to commit to doing it. If I can do it – anyone can do it.

Just for fun, here’s my first “why” video:

You can see more of my videos at:

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