How Personal Branding is Just Like Riding a Bike

“Don’t worry, it’s just like riding a bike.” How often have you heard this cliche? Chances are that around the age of 5, you learned how to ride a bike. After numerous times of falling over, banging your shins against the pedals, and losing control, something magical happens. You are riding! The feeling is euphoric and indescribable. In some way, you manage to combine a series of complicated skills – balancing, pedaling, steering, shifting, braking – in an uncomplicated way. You do not fall over, your shins are free of bruises, and you maintain control. From that point onward, riding a bike became second nature. You no longer need to think about it. It just happens.

Perhaps the best example I have seen of the euphoria associated with learning to ride a bike is by 6-year old Owen Kosevich. His YouTube video shot by his father last summer captured this experience and went viral!

Owen’s parents were quoted as saying that he went through an “emotionally trying time” in learning to ride his bike. When the miracle of riding on two-wheels happened, his pride erupted into his inspirational message, “Everybody, I know you can believe in yourself. If you believe in yourself, you will know how to ride a bike”. 

Believe in Yourself and You Will Be Your Brand!

Being your brand is just like riding a bike – once you believe in your brand you are inspired to take action and train to become your brand. Like riding a bike, becoming your brand includes combining a series of steps in an uncomplicated way. Your hard work and training then enable you to naturally be on-brand all of the time and, like riding a bike, you never forget.

I often refer to a quote from Lance Armstrong when people doubt or fear jumping on the ‘personal brand discovery bicycle’: “If you are worried about falling off the bike, you’ll never get on.”

Personal branding must first start with the belief that you have something authentic and unique to offer – that “thing” that differentiates you from others. However, isn’t it human nature to not believe in something until we have evidence that it actually exists?

When learning to ride a bike, the evidence comes from the incremental steps we take from falling down, to momentary lapses of balance, and finally to the euphoria of riding your bike around the block for the first time. With each step, our belief that we can ride a bike becomes more obvious and we continue to jump on the saddle. We do not give up!

Ride Your Brand 360 Degrees Around the Block!

In the personal brand discovery process, the best way to get the evidence we need to believe in our brand is through the 360Reach personal branding assessment. No other tool exists to give you actual input from those who know you well about your brand. When the final report of your results comes back, you will see evidence in all the brand attributes, skills, strengths, and competencies people associate with you. By teaming up with a certified personal branding strategist you will analyze your results and establish that firm belief in your brand. Eventually, you will be able to ride your brand around the block, and being your brand will just come naturally!

So, to borrow from Owen’s inspirational message, “Everybody, I know you can believe in yourself. If you believe in yourself, you can be your brand!”

Related: 6 Ways to Start Building Your Personal Brand Today

By Peter Sterlacci

Peter Sterlacci is known as “Japan’s personal branding pioneer" and is one of 15 Master level Certified Personal Branding Strategists in the world. His company, BeYB, is introducing a leading global personal branding methodology to on-the-move careerists in Japan. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSterlacci