HOW TO: Build your personal brand
Updated: Mar 21
I was in my element. It was Saturday, hanging out with an ex-colleague, and there was nothing to do but shop. Truth be told though, I'm not much of a shopper. Except... when it comes to op shopping (or thrift shopping, if you're outside of Australia!). Which is what we were doing.
Two blissful hours later and I had all my recycled treasures tucked into a cloth bag to tote home. I had new, unique threads, I had saved money by bagging several bargains (pun intended!), and I was helping the planet by sustainably reusing clothing. See proud photo.
More than a hobby
Op shopping isn't just a thing I do every few months to kill a few weekend hours and refresh my wardrobe.
It's a part of who I am, and what makes me me. I've been doing it since I was a teenager, and it sparks joy, fills me warmth and pride, and gives me an emotional connection to my family and my future. My mum volunteered in op shops when I was a kid, I'd go op shopping with my sisters through my teens and twenties, and the Dalwood Children's Home jumble sale was the highlight of my shopping calendar pre-COVID.
And that's why now - op shopping is part of my personal brand. When I introduce myself on my courses or webinars on change leadership, here's what I say:
I’m Lata Hamilton, the Founder & CEO of Passion Pioneers. I live in Sydney, Australia. I’m an absolutely foodie, a cardio junkie and an avid op-shopper / thrift shopper – I just love recycled treasures. With Passion Pioneers, I help leaders carve their own path for change.
But why would I bang on about second-hand clothes in my bio?
It's not about the clothes
Because I'm not a robot. I'm a human, with a soul and a heart and likes and dislikes and emotions and passions. As a leader, you can have all the smarts and education and experience in the world, but ultimately people connect to people.
We're living in a day and age where robotics and artificial intelligence and automation are streamlining many jobs and the more humanity you bring into your job and leadership, the more likely that your role won't be replaced by digitisation and technology. And most importantly, the more confident your people will be to follow you.
Op shopping ticks the "Personality" factor of my Triad of Personal Brand: it means "who you are that makes you you". The other two factors, Authority (your expertise and experience) and Style (the way you do things) are just as important. But many leadership courses focus more on Authority and Style and ignore the importance of showing up as your whole self as a leader. Your Personality builds trust, authenticity, and relatability by bringing out the human side of you. Which is so critical when leading change in particular, when emotions are high and trust is low and pressure is on.
So for me it's cardio (running, swimming, yoga, trampolining), food (eating, cooking and exploring), and op shopping (unique clothing, value for money and sustainable action). Those 3 things make me me. The question now is: What 3 things make you you?
Lata Hamilton is the Founder & CEO of Passion Pioneers, an Executive Coach, and Change Leadership Trainer. Click the "Join my list!" button in the top-right corner (web) or the "Sign Up!" button at the bottom (mobile) to request your free Personal Brand Blueprint with 21 ideas for building your personal brand when leading change.