Businesses place a lot of emphasis on brand image. After all, your branding and your story are what attract consumers, what gets people to support your app or buy your product. As a result, we have this notion that our brand must be perfect because if we are perfect, then our product is perfect, and perfection sells.


Perfection is not the way to go. In fact, what you want to do is the opposite: be vulnerable.

Vulnerability is scary. You open yourself up to a highly critical society, so for new start-ups, the possibility of having a potentially tarnished reputation before getting out of the red is not worth the risk. However, for Iman Oubou, a renowned self-made entrepreneur — or you may know her as the former scientist turned 2015 Miss New York US — vulnerability was one key factor to her success. …

If you’re a Friends fan like I am, any mention of the word ‘lobster’ immediately conjures up images of Phoebe Buffay. In one episode during the second season of the TV show, Phoebe shared her theory about lobsters which — according to her at least — mate for life.

She then proceeded to demonstrate how two lobsters, who find each other in blissful lobster love, walk together on the sea bed holding ‘hands.’

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Phoebe used lobsters to explain the connection shared by Ross and Rachel, who had circled each other for years. Like lobsters, which mate for life, they were simply meant to be. Phoebe turned out to be spot-on regarding Ross and Rachel. …

In many areas of life, knowing what not to do can serve as much or even more valuable than knowing what to do.

When it comes to building a personal brand, sure, you have built your profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You engage with people and even occasionally share something. Yet, you feel like you are not getting any traction, your follower count is not increasing, and your engagement is nothing to rave about. And you are wondering when it will all pay off.

You are not alone. Many people are working towards building a personal brand, but are still waiting to see it grow. …

When you hear someone say finance, the word that you likely associate with it is money. That’s the conventional thinking — finance is all about the money, how you manage it.

But for my friend and renowned financial advisor Winnie Sun, there’s much more to the financial industry than just the money. It’s about building the interpersonal connections between not just her and her clients but also between her and her audience online and offline.

Keeping this idea in mind, Winnie has grown to become one of the most prominent female financial advisors in the industry. With years of experience, Winnie later formed her own financial consulting firm, Sun Group Wealth Partners. As successful as she is now, Winnie started from humble beginnings, persevering through financial hardships throughout college and slowly making her way up. …

We all have expectations set by others to meet. For me, getting good grades and doing well in school was an expected requirement.

And, of course, we have our own set of expectations. I had learned early on that if I got good grades then life would be good. So I got good grades, and life was supposed to be good, right?

Unfortunately, this expectation didn’t work out very well.

Who are you? Why should anybody trust you?

This is where the personal brand comes in. But before you begin your quest to building your personal brand, take a moment to think about these two words “personal” and “brand.”

When something is deeply personal, it communicates itself in the form of art or a story. A brand is merely how well you package and sell this story to your users. “Personal” is very much an internal process whereas “brand” is more concerned with the external factors.

A mistake most people often make is they spend a ton of time on the branding side of things. They do the talk, rigorously promote themselves, growth hack their ways to build the status of credibility only to end up with a nice shiny “brand” with no real substance. It looks professional but doesn’t connect the way you’d like it to. …

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Have you ever lost anything?

Sure you have!

I am pretty good at losing things.

Historically, I have been famous for losing my sunglasses.

Whether I’m on a boat, or near the water, they somehow go swimming, get misplaced, or just disappear.

I’m pretty good at losing other things too.

When it comes to personal branding, it has a lot more to do with horse racing than you might think.

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Recently, while watching the horse races at the famous Santa Anita racetrack, I couldn’t help but think about personal branding.

Thousands of people were cheering for and betting on horses. But what does that have to do with your personal brand?

Here are three things that horseracing can teach you about building a winning personal brand.

Get in the race

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The first thing is a little obvious — you have to get in the race. There are thousands of people in the audience and there are hundreds of horses behind the scenes, but it’s the horses who actually get into the race that have the chance to win. …

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Think back to middle school. What kind of kid were you? What kind of clothes did you wear? What kind of shoes did you wear? What kind of people did you hang out with? What kind of sports were you into?

Now I want you to transition your thoughts to what you were like in high school.

Then, think about how you were in college. What type of college student were you? What kind of social activities were you involved with? How were you being perceived by the world?

Finally, I want you to think about yourself right now. …

Now I have a question for you, whether you’re an executive or not. That question is, are you an actor? That’s right, do you associate yourself as being an actor? Think about it. Okay ready? Answer. Yes or no? Here’s the real answer. You are an actor, whether you know it or not. …


Ryan Foland

Keynote speaker | 4X TEDx | Author ✒️ @ditchtheact — Order at | If I’m not speaking or brand building, I’m likely sailing ⛵️

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