Aren’t bobbleheads awesome? They smile adoringly and nod their head up and down in affirmation no matter the circumstance. Perfect behavior for an office accessory – but a terrible example to follow while building your personal brand.
It is easy to hit the brain’s snooze button and mindlessly agree with everyone – especially with those in positions of authority (experts in your field, your boss, established media outlets). We blindly accept every order from management, leave positive comments on every blog we see, cruising around life like a sheep that can type. But you know what? Sheep don’t get anywhere. Neither will you if you don’t voice your own opinion and blaze your own trail every now and then.
Several recent events have confirmed my belief that voicing an alternate opinion can be a powerful move. A while back I wrote this article recommending that everyone follow back all of their Twitter followers. And I got skewered for it. Just roasted. The comments section filled up with well thought-out, reasoned explanations of why folks disagreed with me. Even Robert Scoble and Charlie Gilkey stopped by to intelligently blast me out of the water.
But, a strange thing happened in the process. A few of the commenters e-mailed me saying they enjoyed my blog. Ironically, I connected with almost all of them on Twitter. I voiced my opinion, they voiced theirs – and in the process, we connected in a way we never would have otherwise.
In a similar set of circumstances, Marian Schembari wrote a fascinating and controversial guest article entitled “Why Employers Love Bad Girls and Boys”. The comments ranged from supportive to outraged, and Marian responded to each one with class and reason. The added conversation that occurred turned the article into something special – much more than just a few words on a static page.
Think about yourself now. Pick a time that you really stood out at work or in school. Was it because you did exactly what the person before you did? Or was it because you voiced your own unique opinion and initiated change?
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For personal branding tips and tricks from Ryan Rancatore and a great group of guest bloggers, visit Personal Branding 101. Or, connect with @RyanRancatore on Twitter.
Bobblehead image by dayglowill.