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Personal and Professional Representation

They are one and the same!

How can you raise your Brand score by the end of the summer?

It’s that time of year once again. For many of you, you’re about to experience a very special phase and perhaps a different place here in America or even abroad. It is often your first encounter with being immersed in a foreign language and new customs as you experience another culture. You will have the opportunity of doing nothing but music and performing all day long. You are truly in an “insulated magical bubble” that is exciting, scary, motivating, and stressful all at the same time. It’s Summer Program time.

It’s also the time to present and represent your Personal Brand by being mindful and present for each moment of this journey. Have you ever thought of the real importance of being able to represent and present your Personal Brand as you participate in your summer program? Why does this matter and what are your benefits if it does matter?

Take a moment to think about someone that you respect and admire. Take a look at their Personal Brand.

  • What aspects of their behavior do you appreciate?
  • Are they always consistent so you know you can count on them?
  • Are they authentic and not just putting on an act?
  • Do you feel they are trustworthy?
  • Are they willing to fail, make mistakes then learn the lesson, pick themselves up and move forward?
  • Are they courteous, polite and do they respect others?
  • Do you feel they live their life on purpose and with passion?
  • Do they live up to their potential?
  • Do they ask for what they want?
  • How good are they at communicating? Do they listen well?
  • Are they conscious of how they do what they do?
  • Do they contribute to the overall experience?

OK – I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Know that others recognize the quality and value of your personal brand as well, by knowing what they can expect from you on a consistent basis both during working hours and private time.

Consistent behavior on your part can convince others to mentor, respect or want to work with and for you even after your summer program is over. Conversely, being inconsistent in your behavior can keep you from the possibly of getting any of the above. (Example: behaving one way during program hours and using different behavior, “letting loose” during off hours.) It’s a matter of choice.

Have you thought of how you want to represent not only yourself, but your school, the program you are attending, and even your country when you are away? What kind of impression do you intend to leave behind, during the program and during your free time? Will those you have come in contact with during your stay at your summer program or the community or country in which it takes place, want you back? Yes, you do need to think about these things before, during and after your program is over. You are a guest in their town, state or country and need to treat their customs with respect and integrity in a consistent manner and don’t just become another “Ugly, Loud, American”.

"Nothing is more crucial than your contribution to the feedback loop: you are the one who colors everything that comes your way, using intention, belief, expectation, wishes, hopes, dreams and fears. No input is neutral, because you are emotionally invested in your experiences." - Deepka Chopra

So what exactly is your responsibility when representing yourself, your summer program or the company you are working with, whether here or abroad?

The first thing I recommend is to Google the town or country in which you expect to spend several weeks or months. It’s important to both know and respect the customs/behaviors necessary in the venue in which you will be participating. You will be a guest there. It would be nice to leave a great lasting impression of your courtesy for their customs and practices wouldn’t it?

Remember that you are also representing the company/program and all it stands for, upholding and helping to build its reputation, dignity, and respect within the community. You are also representing those that run the program/company and all of its teachers, coaches, conductors, stage directors, etc. Your behavior is what is remembered both during your working and personal time. Yes, your natural instincts might be to let lose, be loud and demanding during personal time, but I can tell you from my own experience that I along with my colleagues, have been embarrassed to have to acknowledge that these students are from and representing our program.

I often continue to be embarrassed when traveling even in my own country and see the outrageous disregard for courtesy, respect for others, and arrogance in public circumstances. There seems to be an air of entitlement that we should just let loose and be ourselves without any kind of restraint or caring for how the rest of the world works. This is not presenting and representing your Personal Brand.

"You are your greatest asset. Put your time, effort and money into training, grooming, and encouraging your greatest asset." - Tom Hopkins

And trust me when I say, that for those running the company/program, you are creating a lasting bad impression. Our industry is small and word travels very fast and can either give you a possible next break or keep you from it. Your behavior counts, your Brand counts. It’s not just about your voice, talent and potential and what you do during “working” hours. It’s being respectful and mindful all the time. So present and represent your Personal Brand at all times so you learn to have respect and integrity within and for yourself as well as others.

Now you know what I think, it’s your turn to let me hear what you think. Ciao and Avanti! Carol

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