What the heck is a Personal Branding Illusion? That's a good question, but it begs the question "What is a Personal Brand?", so let's start there.
I absolutely love this post by Liz Ryan!
First off, I've never heard the concept of a personal brand explained so well:
People protest "Oh, I don't have a personal brand, and I don't want one" but that's like saying "I choose not to cast a shadow when I walk in the sun."
A few weeks ago, I had this exact conversation with my mom; she thought it was crazy that I referred to my online presence as my "brand," but I told her that we all have our own version of our personal brand, a concept that was difficult for her to understand. The way Liz Ryan puts it here though, explains the term personal brand as just another way of saying "reputation" or "self-description."
It's true, your personal brand is just a fancy way of quantifying the way people see and perceive you, based upon the way you present yourself physically, intellectually, emotionally, digitally, etc.
Here, Ryan also describes five common ways people refer to their "personal brand" that are simply inaccurate. One example of this is "tasks." The tasks that you perform on a daily basis are not your personal brand. Your skills (which help you accomplish your tasks), are a component of your personal brand, but don't just leave it at that! Another example - one that I personally can't stand - is "zombie language." Per Ryan, Zombie Language is often manifested in the form of buzzword-enhanced one-liners that professionals use to describe themselves (See: goal-focused social media strategist, or results-driven PR professional). If you use those or any of the other mentioned "strategies" to define your personal brand, have a look at this piece and get restructuring!