Why It’s a Good Idea to Wear Yoga Pants to Work
The MPW Insiders Network is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for, “What’s the best way to manage your personal brand?” is written by Jess Barron, vice president and general manager of LIVESTRONG.COM.
In defining and managing your personal brand, it’s important for your personality and voice to stand out in your work. I consider myself someone who enjoys living healthy as well as having fun. This aligns perfectly with my work for LIVESTRONG.COM, which creates simple and fun content and apps to help millions of people improve their fitness and overall healthy living.
The approach that I take to maintaining my brand can be employed by leaders in many other professions.
First, and most importantly, in order to build a brand you must walk the walk. Since my personal brand focuses on health, well-being, and fitness, I start each day by meditating. I also go to yoga four times per week, cycle two to three times per week, and hit 15,000 steps each day. I bring healthy food in for lunch almost every day.
It’s great to set an example for others, but it’s also important to talk the talk. When coworkers ask me what I am preparing in the office microwave at lunchtime, I’m happy to chat about the healthy eating hacks I’ve discovered, and the easy, healthy premade foods I’ve found as well. I also encourage coworkers to attend our company’s weekly yoga class, and invite them to walking meetings to help us all be more active.
You can also make a statement by signing up for audacious challenges or volunteer work aligned with your brand, and let people know why you are doing it. For example, I am training to run the Boston Marathon in April. Take this up a notch by raising money for a charity as part of your action. Your fundraising will let others know you are committed to taking action and trying to make a lasting impact.
Second, I believe it’s essential to look the part. Most people are visual, so it’s wise to take charge of how you dress. For example, in our casual office environment, I’m often wearing athleisure pieces such as running shoes and yoga pants. Choose high-quality yoga pants made with dark non-see-through fabric. Also, to make them more meeting- and office-friendly, pair them with a tunic, poncho, or long cardigan on top. My attire not only speaks to the fact that I’m invested in healthy living; it also makes it easier for me to sneak in a walk, run, yoga, or high-intensity interval training session during a busy day.
If your personal brand is going to be authentic, it’s essential to be up-to-date on trends and events in your area of expertise. In my case, that means that I download and use all the top fitness apps, and I preorder and rigorously use all of the latest wearable gadgets in the wellness space. It’s also important to subscribe to newsletters and publications that align with your personal brand and read them regularly to be on-trend and knowledgeable about your industry.
As personal brand ambassadors, we also have the privilege (and obligation) to define ourselves on social media. Aim to spend one to two hours each week making sure all of your social outlets speak to your brand. My Instagram shows my workouts and healthy food and recipe photos, my Twitter and Facebook show my weekly bike ride and run maps, and my Pinterest is filled with healthy recipes and workout PDFs.
Finally, I believe it’s important to have a presence at local and national industry events. At these events, I make a point to introduce myself to panelists and influencers, ask questions, and network. Ideally, make it a goal to attend at least one conference per quarter. And also, I encourage you to seek out opportunities to moderate or speak on a panel where you can represent and speak to your personal brand.
Your personal brand is important. If managed well, it can help in your career and life. Be authentic and thoughtful in managing your brand, and it can be one of your greatest assets.