Personal Branding – a life changing story

In November 2019, I started to work with Simon, a former Royal Engineer in the British Army. Five years previously, Simon had been medically discharged from the Army following an injury sustained in his duties. Those five years were hard, very hard. Being a soldier was all Simon had ever wanted to be. “I knew that when I was in nappies.” Like many armed forces personnel, Simon’s mental health deteriorated markedly upon leaving the army, a situation made all the worse because he hadn’t left out of choice.

In this post, we tell the story of how Personal Branding helped to turn Simon’s life around. (All personal details have been changed to maintain client confidentiality.)

Making a difference

“I don’t know who I am anymore,” said Simon. “I’m just this angry person who doesn’t want to wake up in the morning. The Army was my life. Now I am a 40-year-old warehouse operative living with his parents.”

Therapy was not a comfortable option for Simon, but he had to do something. His GP had prescribed antidepressant medication after Simon admitted to feeling suicidal, but all this did was turn him ‘into a zombie”.

“If our therapy works for you, what will you be telling me in 6 months, say?” I asked Simon. “I will be contributing again. I will be making a difference.”

I knew Personal Branding would help

Although the initial focus was on improving Simon’s mental health, I knew that Personal Branding could work for him. Many employers value the skills and experience of former members of the armed forces. Simon, I felt, had a great deal to offer.

“I think Personal Branding can give you back a sense of meaning and purpose. Other people need to know who you are again, Simon, and the value you have to offer.” Simon was desperate to find a meaningful replacement for the Army, and I knew that Personal Branding could help him find it. I told him that acquiring a Personal Brand would take him on a journey of Personal and Professional Transformation.

Personal Branding: image and values

Simon spoke passionately about the Army and what it meant to him, so I knew that was an excellent place to start. Handing him my laptop, I asked him to put some words next to the following:

  • image – how he sees himself
  • values – what is important to him
  • vision – what type of world does he want to live in
  • mission – what will he do to achieve his vision

Simon found it easy to talk about his image because of his Army career. He was a contributor, a difference-maker, someone with skills and abilities that can serve people, communities and nations. Warming to the task, he added that he was “happy in a team and happy by myself. I can follow, and I can lead.”

The values he espoused included protection and preservation. “In the Army, my job was to build capacity and infrastructure, often in places where there was none. Our forces needed a base from which to operate, and local people access to essential facilities.’ It was clear Simon had a strong sense of public service.

Personal Branding: mission and vision

Civilian life had robbed Simon of his love of the outdoors. “I hate being stuck inside. I want to be in green space doing something useful.” The few brief moments of happiness he did enjoy were in his mum’s garden, working out of his shed, building and creating with his hands.

By our third session, Simon’s mental health had stabilised, allowing me to switch to a coaching approach. Asking some powerful coaching questions enabled Simon to create a clear vision for himself. The vision that emerged was a green one. “There isn’t a field, forest or mountain in the U.K I haven’t set foot on. Our work is helping me to realise this is where I want to be, making a difference. That is my mission.”

A spot of brainstorming on organisations with a brand aligned to Simon’s led us to the National Trust and the role of National Trust Ranger.

Transformation

Simon contacted the National Trust to find out more, especially about the Ranger role. He was directed to local National Trust projects, which led him to sign up as a volunteer. Soon after, he enrolled on some short skills-based courses at a local agricultural college. By our fifth session, the change in Simon was noticeable.

“You look happy,” I said.

“I am. I haven’t felt this good since the Army. I want to wake up now. I haven’t got angry for weeks. I love volunteering. If I am honest, my experience in the Royal Engineers means I am bossing it!” We agreed to see how things went and to keep in touch.

Interview of his life

Sometimes we need the luck to be on our side, and it was for Simon. A position as an Apprentice Ranger came up at a National Trust estate near to where he lived. Two months after our last session, Simon contacted me for some interview preparation. At the core of our interview practice and role-play was his Personal Brand.

“It has to make sense to both you and the interviewers why you are sat in front of them. When you leave the interview, we want the panel to turn to one another and say, ‘It made absolute sense why he was here. No doubt at all.’ Articulate your Brand, and you will be successful, Simon,” I said. And he was. “I got a call driving back home from the interview. They said it would be next week before I found out, but they told me there and then.”

That was our sixth and final session.

Do you need a rebrand?

If you recognise yourself in Simon’s story and how Personal Branding can make the difference you are after, I’d love to hear from you. Based on my unique IMPACT Model, my IMPACT Transformation Programmes might be just what you are looking for as they combine both coaching and therapy to tackle both personal and professional challenges.

To book your free initial consultation, visit my booking page. I will give you as much time as you need to tell me what you are going through and find out how like Simon, I can help you create your Personal Brand to achieve your Personal and Professional Transformation.