By Alexia Leachman, Personal Branding Coach at Blossoming Brands

Now, looking back and reflecting is great in small doses. But to achieve anything substantial in life or business, looking forward is infinitely more helpful. After all, you don’t drive a car by looking in your rear view mirror.

A great personal brand is one that supports you in your personal and professional endeavours and if there is any conflict, you’re in trouble. So, being clear on where you’re heading is crucial for your personal brand to be working for you. Just think about how you different your LinkedIn profile might be if you decided that you wanted to quit your job and set up on your own, and even then, how it might differ depending on whether you were opting for freelancing or you were setting up a business. You would probably change the emphasis of certain elements of your experience and skills. You might even choose to leave out certain bits as you decide that they’re not relevant as they confuse or dilute your core message.

The same goes for how you choose to introduce yourself and describe what you do. Your personal pitch, or elevator pitch will differ significantly depending on what you’re trying to achieve. Different goals may have different people that you may want to influence or target. The value that you bring to the table may be described differently depending on what it is that you’re doing, or trying to do and who you do it for. The way that you express your personal brand is everything that you do and everything you say and if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, this becomes very difficult to do effectively. You might even send out mixed messages, which could actually be quite damaging.

So you see, just be being clear on your goals for the coming year or two can force you to make some critical changes to how you express and communicate your personal brand.

When thinking about the coming year, have a think about:

- Who do I want to be working with — this could be clients or colleagues?

- What do I want to be doing?

- What additional expertise do I want to have acquired?

- What opportunities do I want to create for myself?

- How much revenue or income do I want to generate?

But thinking professionally is only half the game. If you’re a well-balanced person, and I hope you are, you’ll also be thinking about your personal goals and aspirations;

- What personal milestones do I want to set for myself? Say, completing a marathon or climbing a peak.

- Where do I want to be based geographically and what’s best for my family?

- What relationships do I want to nurture or develop?

- What adventures do I want to enjoy?

So as you approach the end of yet another year, put some time aside to think what you’d like to get out of the next year. And as you sit there over the festive break wondering why you’re watching yet another Christmas Special, think about how that might translate into how you express who you are and what you’re about, and whether you need to make any changes to what you’re doing.

And when you’re ready, read my next article: A Time For Connecting.

Alexia Leachman is a Personal Brand Coach and Head Trash Liberator at Blossoming Brands. She helps entrepreneurs find their mojo by helping them to tell their story, raise their profile, build their digital presence and manage their reputation. You can find out more at www.blossomingbrands.com and www.headtrash.co.uk And you can follow her on Twitter at @AlexiaL and @BBrands