During my personal branding workshops, I often receive powerful feedback when I encourage a concept coined by the late leadership expert Dr. Stephen Covey: “Live your life with the end in mind.” This concept is especially beneficial when teaching participants about reputation and brand identity because they can focus on what really counts–now and in the future.

By reflecting on your personal brand today, you can actually control how you are seen, known, and remembered tomorrow. You will be able to answer these self-reflective questions: What will matter in the end? What kind of legacy do I want to leave?

One thing you will discover is that when it comes to creating your personal brand, much like pulling together the perfect dish, your credibility is the most basic part. Your reputation will impact the way people perceive your unique promise of value; therefore, you must be believable.

To determine how well you influence others, respond to the following:

  • Do you inspire people to believe in and take pride in your company or organization?
  • Are you perceived as having a collaborative attitude that promotes camaraderie and teamwork?
  • Do you consistently align your personal values with your decisions as a leader?
  • Do people trust and believe in you and take you at your word?

This exercise will determine your credibility–the ability to influence others. It is essential for personal-brand building because, as a leader, you must make an impression that leaves a lasting mark in the minds and hearts of those who need your unique promise of value.

It’s what makes you a complete leader, of which I’m a strong advocate. I know, firsthand, that credibility is developed over time but can be lost within moments, largely due to the lack of capacity or knowledge. My goal as a personal branding strategist is to ensure that my clients’ credibility is protected, enhanced, and increased over time.

How is credibility retained and gained? You need these 3 “C” ingredients in your “image” cupboard:

  1. Character: This is who you are on the inside. It’s the part of you that is often bigger than the outside. It is who you are when no one is looking. It typically stands out over time and is refined while going through the challenges of life. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” John Wooden, legendary coach of UCLA and NCAA Basketball Teams
  2. Competency: This is a special mix that includes your talents, skills, endeavors, and accomplishments that gives you the ability to empower and execute your unique promise of value.
  3. Core Values: These are a combination of all your guiding principles and standards that provide fuel for the directions and decisions you make. Your core values enable you to take a clear stand for something, while delivering on your unique promise of value. People learn to trust you based on this key ingredient.

To be the complete leader, credibility will be synonymous to your name. It isn’t just about your education, years of excellent job performance, or membership in an elite professional organization. It is your character and value, which are displayed through your behavior and actions. It is the ability to be a believable and trustworthy leader by your words and deeds.

Now it’s your turn. Take an honest inventory of your reputation as a leader. Refine or rebuild it so that you stand out and maintain the competitive advantage. Your name and unique promise of value will be even more memorable and recognized when your personal brand is well seasoned with credibility. The world can never have enough “complete leaders!”