Dorie Clark, author of the recently published Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, has done quite a bit of reinvention herself. Having, at a fairly young age, received a master's degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School, she went on to become a political reporter, a spokeswoman for Howard Dean's unsuccessful presidential campaign, and, ultimately, a marketing strategy consultant for businesses and nonprofits.
I invited her to Marketing Smarts to talk about her background, the concept of personal branding, the importance of producing your own content as part of a reinvention effort, and, finally, how one goes about finding and benefiting from work with a mentor.
Here are just a few highlights of our conversation.
Personal branding needs to be a deliberate act (9:04): "If you just leave it to chance, you're rolling the dice with your future, because people are going to have these haphazard perceptions of you. Some of them may be right and some of them may be wrong, but if you actually put a little time and thought into it you can direct those perceptions and ensure that you have a better chance of people really seeing you for who you believe yourself to be."
By setting out in a new direction, you create new opportunities for yourself (12:05): "What I'm proposing is not that you can create this prefabricated plan for your life and check the boxes and follow it. Things are going too fast for that to happen. But what I am saying is that if you're thoughtful about it and you come up with a hypothesis, if you come up with some kind of direction you're moving toward, that movement itself will create enough momentum that it will open up new opportunities for you, which may be even a little different than you might have imagined; but if they're interesting, you can jump on them."
Content can be your calling card (18:16): "As professionals, as knowledge workers, it's almost impossible for people to see from the outside, you know, 'How good is he? How good is she?' They just don't know and the way that they can know, that you can prove it to them—which is particularly important in a reinvention—is by writing things, blogging, creating podcasts. Any of that is a way of demonstrating that you know what you're talking about and you are good at it."
Re-conceptualize the idea of mentorship (26:30): "Get the idea out of your head of some older, sage person who's just going to be focused on you altruistically...Instead, think about the totality of the people you know...If you think of mentorship more as about a group that you can learn from, or maybe a posse of people, that I think is a far more empowering way to look at it."
Dorie and I covered a lot more ground in our conversation. I encourage you to listen to the whole show, which you may do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience.
Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
Dorie Clark, a former presidential campaign spokeswoman and the author of the newly released Harvard Business Review Publishing book Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future. She is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and many other publications. She is also a consultant and speaker for clients, including Google, Yale University, and the World Bank, and she is an adjunct professor of business administration at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.