Build Your Personal Brand To Avoid Ageism
Ageism can be a daunting stereotype to think about, let alone experience. However, you are probably already doing one thing subconsciously that will help you avoid ageism, or at least lessen it throughout your life. You are building your brand.
Do you have likes and dislikes? Do you participate in activities that interest you? If the answer is yes, then you are creating a narrative, a personal story, a brand.
It’s becoming clearer in society and the workforce that individuals with a strong “brand narrative” will have better luck avoiding the impacts of ageism over the course of their lives.
Why is that? Well, if you are quick to get your story across, and that story is solid, interesting and unique, you will be victim to less stereotyping. You will become that story, rather than someone who is X amount of years old. You control your narrative, and in turn you control how people view and treat you.
Also, by creating a personal brand you become the advocate that people want to hear from. You can promote your thoughts and ideas – including advocating against ageism and age stereotypes.
It can be difficult to create a strong story that is not only unique and show-stopping, but that also resonates with listeners. There’s a fine balance between having a crazy cool story, and having one that gives just enough details to keep stereotyping at bay.
Here are ways you can craft the best story and personal brand:
What Makes You Unique
Determine the top three ways your story is different from everyone else’s. Do you have a unique hobby or career path? Do you have a one-of-a-kind personality trait or feature? Determine what sets you apart, and stress it in your personal story.
Sometimes sharing new information during every encounter with someone can seem like a good idea. However, it pulls your personal story in too many directions. Set boundaries for yourself within the top three unique items you identified in the previous step. Creating boundaries for yourself and your conversations makes it easier for others to understand and follow your personal story and brand narrative.
Be A Brand
Study some of the biggest brands in the world. Look at how they market themselves, and the ways that they create a consistent story and narrative. Follow the steps they take to create a persona to share with the public, and use those tactics to influence and create your own story.
By creating a solid, lasting brand you can more easily network and knowledge-share with people around the world. You can be a subject matter expert, sharing your thoughts in articles, at conferences and in the workplace. If you become a brand, you become an influencer.
You’ll find that over time your brand may need to alter slightly to stay relevant. You may encounter stereotypes years from now that aren’t in your life right now. You may find new ways to network with your audience over time. By consistently analyzing how you share your story you will keep your brand steady, and also keep avoiding ageism as it tries to sneak into your life.
By thinking of yourself as a brand you are creating a personal narrative that others will learn to accept and expect. Others will be less likely to turn to general stereotypes about you because you will be sharing a solid, consistent story. You are controlling your own narrative, and therefore lessening your interaction with ageism.