I read a quote 16 years ago in which Jackie Kennedy Onassis stated, “If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much.” That sentiment stuck.
In fact, I have often found it at the forefront of a lot of my decision making. As a…
Personal Brand Strategist.
Mom of three.
It is this last title that has been the most challenging.
I’ve never wanted to prevent them from experiencing their own ups and downs—because I believe it is only when fully engaged that you begin to grow and become better. I have often asked myself, how can I make sure as I learn, grow and transform, I am actively taking them along for the journey.
In fact, because of the nature of my job and having the opportunity to help so many people (the majority women) elevate their game of play in the world, I spend quite a bit of time considering what it really takes to raise a Dope Daughter?
My definition of a Dope Daughter: Someone who is clear about who she is, what she is capable of and is working every day to be the best version of herself.
In my day job, clients come to me when they want to elevate their visibility, credibility, influence and impact in the world. Or in other words, when they are ready to “make a name for themselves.” Ironically, most of my clients are Fierce before they ever walk in my office or sign on to work with me. They are Bosses. CEO’s. Senior Executives. MBA’s and Ivy Leaguer’s. They are smart. Well-traveled. Savvy. GameChangers.
However, the majority of them have spent their entire life playing by the rules, checking off the boxes and climbing the ladder. They did everything right. Suddenly, they looked up and recognized that although they are beasts on paper, they aren’t playing at the level they know they are capable of. Whether that means speaking on national stages, writing a book or going for the C-Suite, they turn to our firm when they are tired of playing by the old rules.
The first concept we teach our clients is learning to become the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of the Brand Called You. We show them why it is important to hop into the driver’s seat and take control of your personal brand.
The bottom line is, daily, I get to see the ramifications of what happens when you don’t take complete ownership of your personal brand—or better yet, even recognize that you have one. Sure, I share a lot of concepts and ideas with my daughter but I never once sat down and strategically designed a plan for her—like I do for my clients—until late last year.
Why not? Why shouldn’t our daughters operate from a playbook of their own. I’m not referring to whether or not you provide college advice, have deep and engaging conversations, or have mastered monitoring their on and offline social activity.
I’m talking about helping them get clear about one thing: The most important thing they will ever have is their reputation. They have the opportunity to shape it any way that they want.
However, in order to do that, our girls need a Blueprint. They need someone to strategically and systemically close the gap between where they are and where they want to be.
During the past 8 years of running the nation’s first Personal Elevation™ agency, one thing has become absolutely clear. It is never too early to equip our girls with the tools to brand themselves.
The truth is, if your daughter doesn’t truly understand the importance of building a strong personal brand, she will absolutely pay a price, if not now, later.
Why? Well because everyone has a reputation and it is either working for or against you. If it isn’t working for you, you will miss opportunities, get overlooked for jobs or internships or key programs. Most importantly, you will get negatively branded through associations or previous mistakes and unfortunately, you will be “branded” (pigeonholed) at that level.
As someone who has dedicated their professional life to elevating women and girls, I want to help you make sure that doesn’t happen to your daughter. Therefore, I have compiled a few strategies to help.
Let’s start with the low hanging fruit:
I am not going to spend a lot of time on this issue because social media has become so comprehensive that managing the reputation of a teenage girl can be divided into a month’s worth of articles.
But in a nutshell, If I were to Google your daughter and take a peep into her life via her social channels, what would I see?
Do I see leader? Has she engaged in her life and hobbies and life affirming activities? Or in gossip, ill-advised poses and foolishness (as mom used to say)?
Can I look at her peer group and tell that she is headed in a positive direction? Or, would I question her decision making process? After all, we tend to hang out and attract people who are like minded.
Something to think about. And most importantly, discuss with her.
Next, sit down and ask your daughter the following:
1. If you had to describe yourself and the reputation you are working to create, how would you do it?
2. Do your friends, those in your inner circle reflect where you are headed? Or, is it time to re-evaluate?
3. How would you say you are currently viewed in school? Describe the reputation you have established?
4. What is your reputation inside the classroom?
5. Where is the gap between how you see yourself or what you know you are capable of and how your professors, administrators and peers see you?
6. What can you do to close that gap in the next three months?
a. First month:
b. Second month:
c. Third month:
7. Identify three people you would like to build a solid relationship or make a connection with? Why would each be an asset to your “inner circle” or Community?
8. List three opportunities for you to stretch your leadership, communication, and social skills:
9. What is something that you have accomplished in the past 12-months that makes you ridiculously proud?
10. Name three people at your school or job who have built strong personal brands. What can you learn from each?
My goal is to help you understand that Dope Daughters don’t happen by accident. They are the by-product of an UndeniablyFierce mom.
Jennifer Ransaw Smith is the Founder of The Personal Elevation Lab™, a division of Brand id | Strategic Partners, a full-service Personal Branding + Elevation Agency. The Personal Elevation Lab™ focuses exclusively on elevating the visibility, credibility, influence and impact of women executives and entrepreneurs: http://www.personalelevation.com. If you are ready to Boost Your Status, sign up for our 30-Day Game Changing Program Here.