Personal Branding and Three “Good Life” Habits

Training is good.  We have a weekly training session for all employees at Mercer Capital, including those in Memphis and those who dial in remotely.  Recently, I gave a presentation on Personal Branding at one of our regular sessions.  This is a topic I’ve spoken about on a number of occasions.  My session was old-fashioned and did not address social media, which I will talk about in the future.

The Good Life Habits

In preparing for the session, I remembered the “referability habits” that Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach talks about.  They are:

  • Show up on time
  • Do what you say
  • Finish what you start
  • Say please and thank you

So I talked about those with the group.  This short list of habits is very helpful if you want people to know you, like you and trust you.  But then, I thought, I have my own set of “good life” habits that I have shared with my children over many years, and with others when the occasion warranted.  My good life habits are:

  • Be where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there
  • Do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it
  • Be nice

I would always tell my kids that if they simply follow these three habits, they will miss 99% of the bad things that often happen to kids when growing up or in college.

Where should we exercise the good life habits?  Setting aside your home, church, and other social or community activities for the moment, think in terms of exercising my good life habits with your:

  • Clients
  • Prospects
  • Referral sources
  • Internal associates where you work

The good life habits are good for everyone in the professional and business world.  In fact, I believe that the higher we move in the world, the more important these habits become. And maybe we move up in the world when we exercise them regularly.

I haven’t published my good life habits before, but I like seeing them in print.  In the context of a session on personal branding, they are extremely important habits.  If professionals and business people simply follow my three good life habits or Dan Sullivan’s four referability habits, their business and professional lives will be substantially enhanced.

Personal Branding

In my session, I talked about personal branding as a means of growing influence and, over time, impacting sales.  SELL, after all, is not really a 4-letter word!

Your personal brand is the collective perception that your various markets (clients/customers, referral sources, prospects, and internal) have about you.  However, a part of your personal brand is your own perception of yourself.  The idea is to have congruence between your own perception of your personal brand and that of your markets.


If your perception of yourself is larger than life while the perception of your market is miniscule, you likely will have no credibility.  If your perception of yourself is much smaller than that of your market (because, perhaps, you get credit for your company affiliation at the outset), you will not be as effective as you can be.  You will lack confidence and won’t act and engage in the habits we’ll summarize in a minute.  The ideal is when you have a healthy and growing perception of yourself that is congruent with the perceptions in your markets.  Under that set of mutual perceptions, you have greater odds for business effectiveness.

Personal branding is something that we all do.  One way to think about it is that every time you have a client interaction, you are working on your personal brand.  Hopefully, you are building your brand with that client interaction (or whatever you are doing wherever you are), rather than detracting from it.

Your personal brand, after all, is the platform you use as you work with your business (in the context of its institutional brand).  Other things being equal, the better your personal brand, the more effective you will be in client interactions and, yes, in selling, too.

Personal Branding Habits

In my session, I talked about ten personal branding habits, some of which are techniques to be done habitually.  Of course, no one can engage in all ten habits all of the time, but it is hard not to engage in some of them some of the time.  Doing some of these habits more of the time is instrumental to continuing to build our personal brands.

Without detailed discussion, my ten personal branding habits are summarized in the following chart.


 So my challenge in my training session was to encourage our professionals to begin to think affirmatively about their personal brands.  Having been working on my own personal brand for more nearly 40 years (wow! that hurts!), I know this beyond a doubt.

  • If you engage in one or more of the above personal branding habits in connection with the good life habits, you will expand your personal brand.
  • If you are already committed to some of the habits and add a habit or two to reinforce and recommit to the ones you are using, you will expand your personal leverage and your personal brand.

Paraphrasing Marc LeBlanc, author of a book, Growing Your Business, let me ask the question:

What is the greater likelihood that implementing some (or more) of the personal branding habits might work for me versus the same old way I’ve been approaching this in my business?

For more on Marc, see my recent post after hearing him speak.

(Almost) Daily or No Habit

Need I say that habits are things we do daily, or, likely not, they are not habits.  So pick a habit or three and work on them.  The Free Dictionary defines habit as:

a. A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition.
b. An established disposition of the mind or character.

Several months ago, I committed to doing three things (almost) daily, in addition to everything else I do that could be considered branding or developing business:

  • Call a client, referral source or prospect with a business and/or personal intent
  • Email a client referral source or prospect with a business and/or personal intent
  • Send one of my books on buy-sell agreements to someone who can benefit

That’s it.  Simple.  Or not.  It takes some planning to have someone to call or email in mind, and it certainly does to identify someone for sending a book.

Have I succeeded in doing these three things every day?  No, but I can trace a number of good things, including additional business and speaking opportunities (#10 above), and there is growing momentum from having been doing this.

Should you beat yourself up if you miss a day or two?  Of course not.  But do the opposite of what a personal trainer told a friend when he confessed to having been out on the town, eaten and drunk too much and not gotten enough sleep.  The personal trainer said, “Just don’t do it tomorrow.

Well, the opposite is this.  If you miss a day or a few days with your personal branding habits, just do it today and then again tomorrow.

Concluding Thoughts

Personal branding is something we all do, whether consciously or not.  Personal branding is part of selling, whether you are selling a product or service, or whether you are selling yourself and your services and abilities within your own organization.

Personal branding is something that builds momentum when you pay attention to the basics on a daily basis.

Personal branding is, well, personal.  No one can or will do it for you.

As always, if you wish to talk with me about any business or valuation-related matters, or to discuss management or ownership transition issues in complete confidence, give me a call (901-685-2120) or email (

Until next time,


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Personal Branding and Three “Good Life” Habits

  1. Great article Chris! I’m currently on sabbatical from business valuation to raise my two young boys Christopher (4) and Collin (0). Perfectly timed article for ways to ponder how to keep building my personal brand, even while not working full-time. Thank you!

    • Holly,

      You are performing a greater calling! You’ll figure things out I’m sure while maintaining your personal brand as #1 Mom!