Tom Peters was the first one to coin the term “personal branding” in a 1997 article in Fast Company called “The Brand Called You.”

Ditch Dare Do by William ArrudaSince then, William Arruda of Reach Personal Branding has fleshed out the essence of personal branding and delivered hundreds of hours of courses and published hundreds of articles on the topic. His landmark book, “Ditch, Dare, Do,” is the consummate personal branding ‘how-to’ guide for professionals. I became certified as a Reach Personal Branding Strategist in February of 2014 and am currently working on my certification as a Reach Social Branding Strategist.

I’ve thought a lot about the topic, and how a person’s relationship with others is the foundation of a personal brand. If you have a strong relationship with the people who are most likely to want to do business with you, then your brand will thrive. For example, if you are a plumber, and everyone in your community knows of you and thinks highly of you, then you will get lots of business.

William will always say that you don’t have to be famous with everyone, but you do need to be famous with your targeted audience. You need to be well-known and well thought of by the people in your community, particularly when their plumbing needs fixing!

As much as your brand depends on relationships with others, it also depends on your relationship with yourself. Aristotle said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

I remember a song we used to sing at Camp Merrowvista when I was a teenager, “This little camper’s light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” The essence of that song was to know yourself and to let your very best self shine through to the world. As a matter of fact, my camp’s motto was “My own self, at my very best, all the time.”

I believe that it’s important to find a place of peace and contentment within yourself. If you feel that way in your heart and mind, then your light will shine through in a truly authentic way. That light will attract others in to your life who will not only make you happy, but they will also bring opportunities that may not have otherwise presented themselves if you weren’t at peace with your true self.

Your brand is your promise to the world. I encourage you to figure out who that best self is, and what do you promise to others? Even if you promise to show up and to give your family, friends and colleagues your very best effort every day of your life, then that’s a brand that will attract good things into your life.

That’s why I like to talk about personal branding “from the inside out and the outside in.” It’s all about attracting others to you because of what you say and do, and also letting the light inside your heart and mind shine through in your personality. I don’t know if Tom Peters would have described personal branding in just this way, but it’s how I’ve interpreted it, and how I make it work for my own personal brand.