You Don’t Get To Pick Your Positioning
Positioning is how you show up in the world, but it’s not defined by you. It’s defined by your audience.
How others see you, and what they think of you, is what makes your positioning.
You can influence what others think about you, through the content you publish and the messages you share. But ultimately, your positioning is up to your audience.
You can’t just tell them how you are positioned, you have to influence how they think of you.
For people who have many different interests, it can be confusing to an audience if you share all of them. You are not just your professional self, after all. You also have hobbies, and political leanings, and personal perspectives that could be helpful or damaging to share with your audience in different contexts.
Knowing how much to share as a personal brand, and how much to withhold, it’s something that you learn through experience.
Here’s an example: last week I flew to Wellington to speak at a conference at Te Papa, the national cultural museum. I spoke about my signature topic, Marketing Yourself.
This was the first in-person event where I have spoken in front of a crowd in four years. The last time I was on stage as a speaker, it was in Denver at the National Speakers Association Conference in 2019. Here is a blog post recap I wrote about that experience, it was amazing.
Anyways, when I went to Wellington, I did a fair bit of juggling down by the waterfront. Here is a video I made showcasing a few of my tricks:
So, over those last few paragraphs, how was I positioning myself?
Am I a professional speaker, or an amateur juggler?
I can’t tell you how to think of me, but I can influence you by choosing what to share, and what to withhold.
I like the analogy that Col Fink uses about a Rubik’s cube.
You have different sides to your personality, and your personal brand is influenced by your personality. But if you mix up all the different sides to yourself, it just looks jumbled and confusing.
What people really need is a handle with which they can grasp you.
Col recommends showing one solid colored side to your audience for a period of a few months. This gives time for your message and your positioning to land, and then, if you need to turn the Rubik’s cube to show a different side, people are more open to seeing another side of you, without getting confused.
(Con-fusion, by the by, is a word that means everything gets mixed up together.)
Helping people work on their positioning is something I love to do. Positioning is the first of the Four Cornerstones of a personal platform. After the first week of the Marketing Yourself Intensive, everyone picks one of the four Positioning workbooks:
Each workbook is a Google doc template or PDF that are designed to help you improve your positioning. They each pair with a short, 5–10 minute instructional video to provide additional context on how to use it.
After watching the video, I recommend setting two pomodoro timers (25 minute sprints, with a 5-minute break in between) to complete 1 hour of dedicated work on your positioning.
Everyone who completes their workbook 24 hours before the next group coaching session will get my personal feedback, line by line, on the work they have completed. This will help you improve and iterate your messaging, so that it resonates stronger with your future customers.
Some people like to do more than one workbook in a week, but the commitment for the program that starts next week is 2 hours per week:
- one hour on your own, doing the work on one of your cornerstones, and
- one hour in a group coaching session getting feedback, and listening to the feedback of your peers.
All members of the Marketing Yourself Intensive also receive two 1-on-1 coaching sessions with me, during the first week and the last week of the program. If you’ve wanted my personal feedback on your business and your marketing, this is a great way for us to collaborate.
The cost of the six-week program is $1500. Enrollment is by application only. Are you ready to grow your business?