Personal Brand

by Dawn Bentley

Define your values

Values are primarily responsible for our motivation and yours will determine how you spend your time. Values also dictate how people evaluate their actions. To be completely congruent, everything your brand stands for needs to be aligned with your values. Commercial brands that are long lasting are also very clear about their values, as it’s the core of their identity.

Values are the things you hold most dear, giving your life meaning and purpose. Your values govern your behaviour and provide both the motivation behind your actions and the evaluation criteria by which you assess them. They are the way you judge good and bad, right and wrong, appropriateness and inappropriateness.

They are deeply embedded and govern the choices you make in any given situation. Connecting with your values and honouring them allows you to sparkle and be true to what you believe in. This is amazingly powerful for a brand, because brands are built on trust and reliability. People who live by and act in ways that are congruent with their values will be very consistent in how they operate. If people do not sense that what you say is the same as how you act, then they will not be inclined to trust you.

Your values will determine what you do, particularly when you are under pressure. When you are not acting in accordance with your values, you are likely to feel uncomfortable and/or resistant to something. For example, one of my personal values is freedom, so when someone tells me what to do, I react in one of three ways: I push back (fight); dig my feet in (resist, so I may sometimes be seen as stubborn), or ignore the person and do my own thing.

Values are deep within us and make up how we live. If you are not aware of yours, they simply need to be uncovered.


Step one

From the list below, identify the five that are the most important to you. This may be tough, as picking only five may mean you exclude others that are also important to you. This is deliberate, as the challenge is to identify those that are the most important values for you. If you can’t identify the five at first go, do it in two stages: make a longer list and then prune that down to just five.

This list is not exhaustive, by the way, so feel free to add you own.

  • Achievement: attaining goals, sense of accomplishment
  • Advancement: progress, promotion
  • Adventure: new and challenging experiences, risk
  • Affection: love, caring and fondness
  • Competitiveness: striving to win, being the best
  • Cooperation: collaboration, teamwork
  • Creativity: being imaginative, inventive, original
  • Economic security: steady, adequate income
  • Fame: renown, distinction
  • Family happiness: close relationships with family members
  • Freedom: independence, autonomy, liberty
  • Friendship: close relationships with others, rapport
  • Health: physical and mental wellbeing
  • Helpfulness: assisting others
  • Inner harmony: being at peace with yourself and others, tranquillity
  • Integrity: honesty, sincerity, standing up for beliefs
  • Involvement: participating with and including others, belonging
  • Loyalty: commitment, dedication, dependability
  • Order: organised, structured, systematic
  • Personal development: learning, strengthening, realising potential
  • Pleasure: fun, enjoyment, good times
  • Power: influence, importance, authority
  • Recognition: respect from others, acknowledgment, prestige
  • Responsibility: accountability, reliability
  • Self respect: belief in your own abilities, self esteem
  • Spirituality: faith, strong spiritual and/or religious beliefs
  • Wealth: abundance, getting rich
  • Wisdom: discovering knowledge, insight, enlightenment

Step two

For each value, ask yourself to what level these are currently satisfied, giving each a score out of 10, where 10 is fully satisfied.

Step three

For each value, ask yourself what you need to do

  • To maintain it
  • To enhance it.

You will now be clear about your core values and what action to take to maintain and develop your satisfaction levels. The more your values are satisfied, the more relaxed you will be and consistent in what you do.

If, from your assessment, you recognise that one or more of your top values are not being met, then you should consider whether you are in the right job or whether you can change anything in your current job in order to satisfy those needs.

See the topic on Values.