The Mental Game Behind Personal Branding

Recently, I took up running again after a 10-year hiatus. It feels great to be doing something good for myself and to be participating in an activity that I really do enjoy. However, there is one thing that I forgot over time: running often involves a mental game in which you can easily become your own worst enemy. My run this morning reminded me of the mental game behind personal branding.

Personal branding starts with really knowing yourself.

What interests do you have? Where do your strengths lie? What are you truly capable of when you work hard? Who are you as a professional? Without giving serious thought to questions like this, you won’t be able to build your brand.

On the negative end of the game, it’s possible to mentally fight your brand and destroy it if you’re not careful. Take, for example, the frustration that can build during a long internship search. You apply for positions, maybe even score a few interviews, but nothing works out. You start getting discouraged and think that maybe, probably, it’s you.

Things could go downhill quickly from here. You revamp a perfectly good resume. You retool your image into one that you think will appeal more with employers, but one that isn’t really in line with who you are. You alter your brand because you think you have to change. But sometimes, it’s not you – it’s them.

About halfway through my run, I felt like stopping. Not because I physically couldn’t go any farther, but because it just seemed easier to walk. I fought the impulse and pushed myself to continue. I wound up running at my fastest pace yet. I won the mental game.

Stay strong in your personal branding mental game. You never know what you might achieve.


Laura serves as Internship Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the office of Career & Leadership Development.  In this role, Laura advises students who are pursuing internships, assists employers with intern recruitment, and supports university faculty who oversee academic internships.  She also provides students with job search readiness assistance through presentations, individual counseling, and social media.  Laura earned her bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she majored in French and Political Science, and she received her masters degree in Counseling from UW-Whitewater.  To learn more about Laura, read her blog, follow her on Twitter, or connect on LinkedIn.

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One Response to “The Mental Game Behind Personal Branding”

  1. avatar Lew Sauder says:

    I think one of the most critical personal branding steps is initially determining your brand based on your values. If you try to brand yourself as something you’re not, it will be the equivelant of branding a Hummer as a fuel-efficient car. If you modify your brand into something you think the employer will want, you do a disservice to them as well as yourself.
    Lew Sauder, Author, Consulting 101: 101 Tips For Success in Consulting (

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