Authentic Vulnerability: Developing Your Personal Brand

For many of us, we have spent years in the classroom learning the sciences and memorizing facts, statistics and pathology in order to become a physician. We have spent countless hours on the wards, examining patients, ordering labs and trying to conquer diseases. We don't often spend time thinking about our personal brand, who we are as a person and as a physician. Today, Dr. Kimberly Beavers shares how to develop your personal brand with authentic vulnerability.

Whether you know it or not, your environment has shaped your personality and brand your entire life. For example, my first school as a child had the motto "friendly, helpful, respectful, and responsible" that we sang in a special song every morning. Why did we sing this song? They wanted us to behave of course, but they also wanted to begin fostering the ideals of character that they believed would help us succeed. In high school, our motto was "fideliter et fortiter" which means "bravely and faithfully" in latin. These mottos, while simple, were repeated throughout my upbringing, shaping the way I feel about my own standards of character. It also laid a foundation for how I want to present myself to the world via my actions.

The beginning of developing your personal brand is not what you are trying to "sell" people or simply how you want to be seen. It's carefully examining who you truly are. Careful self-exploration, including strengths and weaknesses, is a necessary vulnerability to developing your personal brand.

You have already developed some sort of personal brand. It just may not be focused, purposeful, or helping you achieve your goals. Both your professional and personal interactions daily are a reflection of your brand. Your activity on social media is a reflection of your brand as well.

If you're not thinking about your brand actively and living in a way that helps you achieve your goals, you're missing out on a great opportunity for success.

When approaching developing your personal brand, vulnerable self-exploration is the first step. You can start this process gently and I suggest that you use a real pen and paper to brainstorm. You can start by thinking about your professional interests; first within your medical specialty and then outside of your daily work. For me, my clinical interest is in breast imaging and my broader interests are legislative advocacy and the promotion of women in radiology.