The big shots are only the little shots who keep shooting. - Christopher Morley
It's determined through your output: the work you do, the products sell, the services you provide, and the content you create. It determines how much money you make, and how much control you can exert over your career and your lifestyle.
If you're not exercising, you'll lose muscle tone and gain fat. If you're not working on your own brand, it'll backslide too. Rest too long on your laurels and you run the risk of undoing all of your hard work and fading in to the background. If your behavior, attitude and output contradict your existing position, your real positioning will change.
You're not going to need much to get started, just and understanding of how all of this fits together (this guide), some thought about your goals, and the effort to take action. Once you've determined your capabilities and decided where you want to be, you should be able to manage everything in your head, and a few bookmarks in your browser.
Your goals and were you want to be are up to you. We're going to focus on what actions you need to take to get you there.
Success is measured in years, not months.
It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety. - Isaac Asimov
Building your personal brand is, in essence, self marketing. If you take a look at the most successful (or talked about) people in any field, you’ll almost always see someone incredibly talented in the art of self-promotion.
To build a personal brand that makes you a rockstar, it needs to have some key characteristics. It needs to be unique, scarce, and remarkable, and you need to be comfortable promoting it. Robert Kiyosaki, author of the Rich Dad Poor Dad books, says that he’s a “bestselling author” and not a “best-writing author.” Dean Karnazes, known as “The Ultramarathon Man,” is not the best athlete in his field, but he is by far the best at self-promotion.
What's the difference?
The reason that self-promotion works and self-adulation doesn't is because self-promotion is the art of spreading ideas, concepts, and a greater vision. Self-adulation is just the promotion of accomplishments, deeds that have already been done.
When you promote your ideas, you give people something to cheer for that they care about. You give people a cause to support. People, in many ways, are selfish. They promote the things that make them feel good. Your accomplishments aren’t likely to make them feel good, but your ideas do.
Your ideas might inspire hope, thought, or action . . . but as a general rule, good ideas inspire something.
People promote Oprah Winfrey because she makes them feel good. Her ideas inspire thought and that warm fuzzy feeling we all get when we make a sincere connection. On the other hand, you and I aren’t going around bragging about how many books she’s sold or how many shows she’s recorded. We don't care about that because it's the ideas that inspire . . . not the achievements.
Look at Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest self-promoters in history. He was followed not just because he truly was “the greatest,” but also for his integrity and the boldness of his ideas. Compare your feelings about Ali to your feelings about Mike Tyson. Tyson’s boxing accomplishments were arguably greater than Ali's, but he never communicated a greater vision.
Consider what your personal brand is right now. As a physician, what type of service you offer? Are you unique or replaceable? Are there a lot of competitors who offer the same basic service or product? Do people rush to introduce themselves to you? Is your name the one that's 'name dropped' ? Do you wield influence?
A lot of physicians get caught up in trying to pad their credentials or add another suffix after their name; MBA, board certifications, chairman of this or that. It may seem that being a 'specialist' may give you a head start. If you want to be unique, as our personal brand suggests, then we should go with specialization right? Not necessarily. Credentials by themselves won't make you a rockstar and they're no longer the 'end of the road' that gives you lifetime security. They only provide a minimum threshold to be include in a group. If you need to be included in that group for your career, go for it, but rockstar physicians don't deal in minimum thresholds. Groups put you in the middle where conformity is demanded. It's boring in the middle, and the very worst thing you can be is boring.
If you raise yourself above or put yourself outside the group you’ll take some flak. People might label you over-confident or cocky and demand that you tow the group line. Good. Define yourself in such a way that people either love you or hate you. If you have a vision, let it loose and see where it can take you.
Rockstar physicians are thought leaders, not followers.