Can Your Personal Brand Survive the Cheese Challenge?

Once upon a time, the funniest thing to happen to cheese was Monty Python’s Cheese Shop sketch. No longer. Now we have… the Cheese Challenge, where parents are throwing cheese on a baby’s head.

Yes, I know, I know… it doesn’t compare to the Flying Circus! But it is taking the internet by storm. What is it, exactly, I hear you ask?

Well, people are throwing cheese on (hopefully) their baby’s head, and filming their reactions. Why? That, I don’t have a real answer for. It’s funny? They need more social media likes? They really dislike cheese (or their baby)? I don’t know.

What I do know is that not everything that is popular is good. Chucking cheese on your baby’s face is one of these things – wildly popular (this week), but not good – for the baby or the cheese. There are times when you need to step back and say, “Whoa, there, this wildly popular thing is not for me.” It’s okay to do that – whether it’s on social media, or professionally.

Yes! I’m tying the ridiculous Cheese Challenge to your career! Pull up a plate of Wensleydale and listen. There are lots of trends that sweep the workplace. Open plan offices. Glitter bomb resumes. 360 degree feedback. A ball pit in your conference room. Hear this: you do not need to follow every trend to be successful, as a worker, a manager, or a boss.

There’s a lot of focus today on building your individual brand through your career. That doesn’t mean garnering likes by throwing cheese on your colleagues, but instead having people associate a certain idea with your name. (Hint: Cheese slapper isn’t the image you’re looking for.)

As a professional, part of your brand is to know who you are. That means that you don’t chase trends. You can learn your style and your way, and stick to that. Add new elements when they fit your brand. But otherwise, they’re a distraction. They take away from the key of who you are. Doing something showy may catch people’s eyes, but it may lead to expectations that you can’t fulfill – because it’s not who you are.

And at work, who you are is not based on your social media profile. It’s based on what you accomplish. So instead of looking for likes, focus on achievement.

  •  Learn what the organization needs and help them attain those goals.
  •  Connect with colleagues to learn how to work together better.
  •  Communicate with leaders to identify their needs.
  •  Help craft a plan to get your organization to hit its marks.

Your brand should be successful team player/leader. Even without the title of leader, by identifying organizational goals and helping them be achieved, you’re leading from within. You’ll find that this strategy works way better than a superficial scattershot attempt to dazzle higher ups.

Now, ask me about the Limburger….

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