Video from @australianopen on Twitter.
We see athletes every day, across a range of sports, but perhaps one of the most popular of all time is Roger Federer, who won the Australian Open today and grabbed Grand Slam win No. 18. I am among those who love Roger and so I was ecstatic that he collected another major.
This year’s Australian Open was a dream for me, as my favorites on the women’s side, Venus and Serena Williams also made it to the final. I love both women, but favored Venus a little more in the match, given her story. She’s battled an autoimmune disease over the past several years and she is still able to play at the highest level. Venus ended up as the runner up, with little sister Serena raising the trophy. While I was sad for Venus, I was happy to see Serena win her 23rd major, the most in the Open Era and only one behind Margaret Court, the retired former No. 1 who holds the most ever. I look forward to seeing Venus win another major one day — why not, she’s in great form! And I certainly want to see Serena reach and pass Court.
It was Roger who had all attention Sunday, one day after the women’s final. Like, I’m sure many others, I went looking for social media posts about the Roger Federer/Rafael Nadal match, as I wanted to bask in the glow of that epic battle and great win. As I looked at so many on social media congratulating Roger, I drew several personal branding lessons from him that we can all use. Here they are:
#1. Be nice.
Roger is known as a nice guy and, quite frankly, a statesman. Whether he wins or loses, he is always gracious. Even in his victory speech, he took time to acknowledge Nadal’s team. That’s right. Not just Nadal, but his team.
We all have within us the capacity to adhere to this lesson we learned in kindergarten. Being nice is always in order, especially in times when we would rather not be, such as when we are celebrating our own victories or nursing our own hurts.
#2. Help others where you can.
Roger is a big philanthropist, as he does charitable work around the world, most notably in Africa and Switzerland. He doesn’t just put his money toward it — though charities are always happy to receive and are in need of money — but he puts his time toward it. He often visits the schools and communities where he is providing aid in some way. His foundation’s goal is to help one million children gain access to quality education by 2018.
We may not have the resources Roger does, but we can all do something to help someone else. Becoming known as a helpful person who is generous or serves others strengthens your personal brand.
#3. Be kind to the people you work with.
Despite their long-standing rivalry, Roger attended the opening of Rafa’s academy in October. It was a show of support for a peer, something that we don’t always think about in our own careers. Often, we’re focused on our own projects, initiatives, and ideas, and aren’t that interested in supporting those of others, especially people we work with or feel that we compete against. But Roger’s example shows you can be committed to your own work, but still support the efforts of others.
#4. Believe in yourself.
How many times has Roger been written off?! The pundits and so-called experts were quick to say he would never win another major after the health issues following his last major win, Wimbledon in 2012. As he fell in the rankings, their negative comments grew louder. But he turned that around and competed very well before being sidelined by a knee injury last summer.
Not many outside of us die-hard fans envisioned another Grand Slam win, after all, he’s been injured and he’s gotten older. But he proved the doubters wrong, due in large part to his own self-belief, as he became the oldest man to win a Grand Slam in 45 years on Sunday. He walked into the Australian Open seeded 17, far outside of the top ten and his own usual standing. He hadn’t played a tournament in more than six months. And he had to take injury timeouts in his last two matches. He was old, by many standards, doing what only one other had. Any of these would have been enough to shake anyone’s confidence.
But where others didn’t believe, he kept pushing. He performed brilliantly, in form reminiscent of Roger of old. And he advanced, round after round, until the trophy was his.
For us, it’s important to believe in our own capabilities when we are working hard on our hopes, goals, and dreams. Naysayers will do what they do best and try to tear you down. Facts may appear one way on paper, and suggest you could never do what you attempt to do. But you’ve got to have the belief that you can do that thing, as improbable as others outside of you believe it to be. They don’t know you. They don’t truly know your circumstances, will, or desire. So while they may doubt, you just believe. And when you can’t believe, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. By acting the part and doing the work, you can become that which you desire.
#5. Enjoy the work.
Roger has won the most Grand Slams on the men’s side and has plenty of records. He could have long ago retired, to go off and enjoy his family, money, and achievements. But he hasn’t done that. He still plays because of love of the game.
Whatever work we dedicate ourselves to should be work we enjoy. This is all the more so if you are actively seeking to become known for the work you do, whether that is a creative, athletic, intellectual, or other pursuit. You see, if you don’t actually enjoy the work, you won’t be able to keep at it when things get rough — when naysayers make fun of you, when you make a mistake, when someone rejects you, when someone doesn’t like the work you did.
#6. Be in touch with your audience.
Roger takes to social media from time to time to let his millions of fans know what he is up to or to get a glimpse into his life. Even when he was off the past several months, he posted to social media to share his thoughts on matches and even to share his practice.
When you want to get known for your work, be in touch with those you want to know you. There are many ways you can create a sense of connection with your audience. You can create a mailing list and share members-only benefits, such as behind-the-scenes activities, with subscribers. You can do live streams. You can share updates and posts to your favorite social media platform. What you can’t do is be all off on your own, never interacting, engaging, or sharing.
A personal brand is something you build as you do your work. It’s the way your audience knows you. Your personal brand can inspire admiration, love, and respect, or it can undermine your work, cause you to be disliked, or turn off your target audience. Excelling at your work isn’t just about the work. It’s also about the person. Who you are as a person. Your personal brand matters.
Want to learn how to build your personal brand? Be sure to attend my webinar,” 7 Essential Steps to Getting Known: Learn How to Use Personal Branding To Increase Visibility And Grow Your Business (And Career).” Click here to register.
She is the host of the Chase Your Star with Monica Carter Tagore podcast, an online show on life strategy, personal growth, and entrepreneurship, available on iTunes, Google Play, and Spreaker.
Monica is the author of several books, including her most recent, "Stronger: 31 Inspirational Messages to Get You Through That Tough Time."
She helps entrepreneurs and professionals gain the mindset and skills for success. She also helps them build brands.
She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two boys.
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