How to Build Your Personal Brand Without Acting Insufferable

Self-promotion isn't easy and isn't always comfortable. If you're worried about coming across as arrogant when building your personal brand, take steps to ensure your actions aren't totally self-serving.

Big Think Edge is a video-driven platform that catalyzes happiness and performance in professional environments by cultivating leadership, creativity, and self-knowledge. Learn more about Big Think Edge.

Big Think expert Dorie Clark is a big proponent of building your personal brand while simultaneously avoiding being a total jerk about it. 

According to Clark, there are several key things to remember in order to ensure that your brand-building isn't completely self-serving. Sure, it's important to frame yourself in the best way possible. But you're also submitting personal facts and figures to augment others' understanding of your skills and capabilities. By composing an accurate and thorough resume or CV, you're offering employers and teammates a tool by which they can analyze your skills and needs.

Here's a basic summary of Clark's advice:

"The first step is understanding the true value of self-promotion...

The next step is to focus on facts, not interpretation...

It’s important to demonstrate your expertise with stories, not words...

You’ll also want to ensure that those stories are relevant...

Finally, even when you’re promoting yourself, it’s essential to express humility."

"Often, people shy away from self-promotion for fear that they’ll alienate their colleagues and develop a reputation as a braggart. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead, personal branding can benefit you and your company by helping others understand where you excel, and ensuring that your talents are put to use in the best way possible."

The gist: You should focus your self-promotion in a way that assists others in addition to yourself. Do this by building off concrete accomplishments and accolades without adding any embellishments or subjective titles (for example, Clark hates it when people anoint themselves "social media experts"). Take a look at Clark's full piece (linked at the bottom) and let us know what you think.

Below, Clark paints a portrait of "thought leadership" and explains how anyone can work to becoming a thought leader in their particular sector:

Lateral thinking: How to workshop innovative ideas

Don't underestimate the power of play when it comes to problem-solving.

  • As we get older, the work we consistently do builds "rivers of thinking." These give us a rich knowledge of a certain kind of area.
  • The problem with this, however, is that as those patterns get deeper, we get locked into them. When this happens it becomes a challenge to think differently — to break from the past and generate new ideas.
  • How do we get out of this rut? One way is to bring play and game mechanics into workshops. When we approach problem-solving from a perspective of fun, we lose our fear of failure, allowing us to think boldly and overcome built patterns.

Are these 100 people killing the planet?

Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Jordan Engel, reused via Decolonial Media License 0.1
Strange Maps
  • Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
  • This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
  • The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
Keep reading Show less

Straight millennials are becoming less accepting of LGBTQ people

The surprising results come from a new GLAAD survey.

Photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • The survey found that 18- to 34-year-old non-LGBTQ Americans reported feeling less comfortable around LGBTQ people in a variety of hypothetical situations.
  • The attitudes of older non-LGBTQ Americans have remained basically constant over the past few years.
  • Overall, about 80 percent of Americans support equal rights for LGBTQ people.
Keep reading Show less