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:

Personal Growth

The life choices that had led me to be sitting in a booth underneath a banner that read “Ask a Philosopher" – at the entrance to the New York City subway at 57th and 8th – were perhaps random but inevitable.

Keep reading Show less

For thousands of years, humans slept in two shifts. Should we do it again?

Researchers believe that the practice of sleeping through the whole night didn’t really take hold until just a few hundred years ago.

The Bed by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Surprising Science

She was wide awake and it was nearly two in the morning. When asked if everything was alright, she said, “Yes.” Asked why she couldn’t get to sleep she said, “I don’t know.” Neuroscientist Russell Foster of Oxford might suggest she was exhibiting “a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern." Research suggests we used to sleep in two segments with a period of wakefulness in-between.

Keep reading Show less

'Self is not entirely lost in dementia,' argues new review

The assumption "that without memory, there can be no self" is wrong, say researchers.

Photo credit: Darren Hauck / Getty Images
Mind & Brain

In the past when scholars have reflected on the psychological impact of dementia they have frequently referred to the loss of the "self" in dramatic and devastating terms, using language such as the "unbecoming of the self" or the "disintegration" of the self. In a new review released as a preprint at PsyArXiv, an international team of psychologists led by Muireann Irish at the University of Sydney challenge this bleak picture which they attribute to the common, but mistaken, assumption "that without memory, there can be no self" (as encapsulated by the line from Hume: "Memory alone… 'tis to be considered… as the source of personal identity").

Keep reading Show less