In anticipation of the Olympic Games, Golden Notebook takes a look at the health and fitness aspect of personal branding.
My last blog hopefully shed a bit more light on what personal branding is about and its benefits, with a focus inner branding attributes — our values, passions, vision, credibility, relevance, strengths and goals. Outer branding, however, is equally important to consider in building a strong personal brand.
Outer branding is the way in which you convey yourself to the world, and includes your communication skills, presence, personal style, grooming, and mannerisms. The importance of these attributes in making a first impression is pretty obvious.
But what about other lifestyle factors, such as health and fitness?
I asked Liam Barrett, personal trainer and co-founder of The Fit Scene to tell us why these are important aspects of personal branding. Here’s what he had to say.
“I strongly believe that your own body is the biggest advert to your personal brand. If you look fit and healthy, it’s pretty obvious to others that you’re taking care of yourself and actually care about the way you look. It also conveys a message about motivation. Research has shown that people, in general, who go to the gym and take care of themselves are typically the ones who are more motivated…in their career and life in general.”
“We aren’t saying that everyone who succeeds has a six-pack, set of guns and a nice waistline, but looking healthy and fit can really help with first impressions. For example, if you have person A and B, who have exactly the same credentials, background, but one looked healthy and fit, they would probably be the one hired. It comes down to how you present yourself, your outer brand.”
But wait, we wouldn’t want readers to think this is all about outer appearances, right? What about health and well-being, both physically and mentally? Liam continues…
“In addition, there’s a biochemical aspect to working out, such as serotonin released in the brain (the “feel good” neurotransmitter) and endorphins. These supercharge your body and mind. In other words, they are associated with feeling good – positivity, happiness and higher energy levels. After a good pre-work or lunchtime workout, you can go into the office with endorphins and adrenalin flowing, which will improve your concentration and energy level, and hence your productivity will be enhanced. So keeping fit and eating well results in a total package of better health, wellbeing, productivity, and a strong outer brand image.”
Of course, fitness isn’t the only factor in developing a healthy side to your personal brand. Balancing work and life, managing stress, getting proper rest and maintaining healthy eating habits are also critical.
Tom Midgley, registered dietitian and nutrition expert, reminds us that when nutrition isn’t effectively factored into this equation, particularly if one is physically active, it can have significantly detrimental effects on one’s emotional state. Tom explains. “Our bodies need the proper fuel to maintain energy levels and overall well-being, however the chemicals that regulate mood all require the right nutrients at the right time. An imbalance can result in a short supply of the nutrients needed to help maintain physical and psychological well-being. For example, if nutrients are insufficient when exercising, they will be in demand for assisting in the body’s recovery process, such as repairing body tissue, and therefore become less available to help manage mood. The end result can be fatigue, low mood, sleep disturbance, irritability, lack of focus, diminished productivity and burnout – all obstacles to achieving a healthy personal brand.”
So this leads me to a few questions to consider regarding the relevance of fitness and health to your personal brand:
1) Do you have enough energy to accomplish your daily goals?
2) Do you generally feel more alive and vital (rather than dead and drained) more days than not?
3) Do you think most others perceive you as generally looking well?
4) Have others in general shared more positive feedback about your health and/or lifestyle than concerns?
5) Do you have enough stamina and drive to live the life you want to live?
6) If health and fitness are things that you value, are you living in accordance with them?
7) Overall, do you feel positive about your health and well-being?
If you’ve answered “NO” to any of these, then perhaps it’s time to consider take a look at health and fitness as part of your personal branding plan.