Your Personal Brand Is A Big Deal
But the ultimate personal brand is your name – and all that it entails. Your name is a label for who you are; your core identity and your personal brand. It’s important to realise, as I’m sure you do, that you’re much more than your name – a lot, lot more.
We have labels for everything
That thing with 4 legs, a seat and a back? We label that a chair. That round, flat thing you eat from? A plate. See, labels make it easier to talk about objects without having to describe each thing in minute detail. The labels/names we use enable us to distinguish one person from another.
What a pain it would be if we had to describe everyone instead of simply using their name; “Hey, you over there! Male! The one with the pale face, blue jeans, green T-shirt and red hair!” Much easier to shout, “Hey Jack!”
Your name is the label you apply to you.
The problem with labels is that we may start to believe that the label is the actual thing.
We may label someone a gossip. But gossiping describes something a person does – a behaviour – not who they are. They may have many other labels that describe them. Labels such as parent, brother/sister, boss, creative, staunch, handsome, loving etc, etc
We can get into trouble if we think that any label equals or is the sum total of the person.
Each person’s name is like the Grand Poobah of all labels. It’s the overarching label under which all the other labels that apply to you fall. Your name is the label you respond to. The name label you use might be the name you were given at birth, a shortened version of that, or a nickname. Maybe you’ve even changed your name, through marriage or deed poll. When I was divorced some years ago, I changed my surname back to my maiden name of Philp. My married name no longer represented who I was and it felt foreign.
It’s a nice simple name to spell – hell there are only five letters in it! But, even when I spell it for them, or they copy it from something like my driver’s licence, 95% of people get it wrong. They write, Philps, or Phillips, or Philip. It’s as if they think I can’t spell my own name! It pisses me off. I don’t think I’m an egotist. But I worry that if they can’t even get my name right, how much care are they going to take with any transaction we’re about to engage in!
When someone does get it right I feel like hugging them and doing a happy dance!
It shows me they’ve actually listened to how I’ve spelt it or said it, or that they took care and copied it accurately. They’ve realised how important a name really is – not just my name but everyone’s name.
What if it’s a difficult name or one that’s hard to pronounce?
Those people are probably even more frustrated than I am. If I’m unsure of a name, I’ll ask the person to spell their name for me. I will then make a mental image of the spelling which makes it easier for me to say it. Depending on the situation and my perceived difficulty of the name, I might also write it down and, for my own benefit, the pronunciation.
I’ve found people are only too happy to spell their name. Many people with unusual or ‘difficult’ names have told me that most people just don’t bother asking again and simply avoid calling them by name. What impact do you think this might have on a person’s sense of who they are?
This is why a name is so important.
When you get it right, you’re letting the person know that, to the core of their identity, they’re important.
It’s good to make another human being feel important because every one of us is important.
It takes nothing except a little bit of care and attention.
Think about what you intimate to someone when you get a name wrong or don’t bother trying. What does it tell the other person about how important they are to you? More importantly, what does it say about you?