Marie Kondo’s binge-worthy Netflix show was perfect for anyone making a New Year’s resolution to tidy up. And now, with many people gearing up for spring cleaning, her quiet grace, kind smile and profound life philosophy seem appropriate yet again. Her approach to tidying up our living spaces can be applied to our personal brands too — just in time for the spring renewal. Here are five quick steps to spring cleaning your personal brand.
Step 1: Set a goal.
As you know, one of the first questions Marie asks the people she works with is: what do you want your home to be? When it comes to personal branding, you need to answer this question: what is your ideal representation of yourself online? You still may not know what you want to be “when you grow up.” Neither do I. But we all have some idea of where our skills and passions lie, and what would make us feel happy or fulfilled. Ask yourself: where should I be now to get there? What are the things I want to feature? Which skills and experiences should I present?
Step 2: Make an inventory of what you have.
Now that you’re thinking about which skills and experiences you want to highlight, take a look at your current online brand — your social media profiles, articles connected to you, videos and photos, a personal website if you have it — through that lens.
Every time we join a social network, including messenger apps, we are required to create a new profile, which, like the families visited in Marie Kondo’s show, likely has lead to a collection we haven’t even noticed accumulating over time. Round up all your profiles (in a purely figurative manner, of course) by googling yourself in an incognito window. You also should go through your email inbox to see all the services you’re signed up for, and begin unsubscribing to the ones you no longer need or use. It may seem a bit daunting at first, like the people on the show felt seeing their pile of clothes, but you know it will get better from here! At least your back won’t hurt after carrying out the heavy clothes and books.
Step 3: Ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?”
Alternatively — do you want anyone to see this aspect of your professional presence? As you go through your profiles, you will naturally spot those that are outdated, no longer necessary or filled with information and memories you would rather forget about altogether. Some of those you can delete; after all, you don’t want to be leaving the crumbs of your digital identity all over the internet. But before you do, try to reflect back on that period in your life and, as Marie would advise, say thank you.
Extend this concept of gratefulness to the profiles you want to update, as well. Building your brand is an ongoing process, one that will reflect your changing interests, the demands put before you by the dynamic labor market and, at the most fundamental level, the passing of time and your personal growth. The goal is not to start over every spring, but to know which things you want to keep — those are the things that are an integral part of your identity. At the same time, it also means being flexible and allowing your brand to reflect your ever-changing interests and passions.
You’ve likely experienced failures along the way, but think before deleting them from your history. A well-placed anecdote regarding your mistake or failure can show your ability to learn and grow.
Step 4: Keep similar items together
Just as Marie ensures all electronic gadgets have a convenient home and t-shirts are folded in a way to maximize efficiency, you should ensure all your key information stays the same across different profiles and is easily accessible. Your short bio and profile picture should always be the same, as well as the key messages you want people to take away from your profiles.
Step 5: Put it all back in order
Find a place for everything you want to keep. Something I talk about often is the importance of having a personal website. After all, it is the only platform that is fully controlled by you. It can be connected to your name - quite literally if you choose a NameSurname domain. You can arrange it any way you like and post the content of your choosing. It is one place where you can bring together all different aspects of your personality through your numerous profiles.
Each of these steps may take some time and effort, but with a good plan and the right mindset, your personal brand will be tidy and sparkling in no time.