What Belly Dancing Taught Me about Personal Branding

What Belly Dancing Taught Me about Personal Branding

Reader Comments (74)

  1. Good tips and I love the belly dancing examples. Kinda wish I had a class nearby to check out for myself. The beginner ballet class has much more painful examples…. 😉

  2. Lisa,

    Another great article and gives a lot of information worth thinking about when it comes to creating a personal brand. Also shows that you can create a personal brand no matter what you are marketing.


  3. Hi Lisa and thanks for this fun post! At first I didn’t see this was written by someone other than Brian, so I thought: “Hmmm. Interesting. He’s taking belly dancing…”

    What really resonated with me was when you said “Your personal brand is you.” It feels good to have this reminder, because occasionally I get stuck in thinking that my blog ‘should’ be or look a certain way. But when I can feel totally authentic in the brand I am promoting via my blog, the payoff is huge.

    My blog is called “Following Your Joy” and focuses on tapping into the things in life that make you come alive and bring you joy. The funny thing is that my middle name happens to be “Joy.” So you are right-on about how the personal brand is…well, “you”. The more I let myself be “me”…the more the good stuff continues to unfold.

    Thank you for getting us think bigger!

  4. Great post! I like the analogy and the idea to base it on who we are becoming.

    Question about the niche: How narrow does it need to be? For instance, is the niche of “spirituality” specific enough, or do I need to narrow it further? Steve Pavlina does well writing about personal development, which is really a huge area.

  5. Lisa,

    Love this: “Your personal brand is you”


    I have been thinking about experiencing a belly dancing class for 2 years. You pushed me over the edge to sign up!


  6. Great post Lisa.

    Personal branding is so important. You need to get in front of the people, but make sure that they like what you are giving them.

    I especially like the idea of making a character – I have many that want to..control…what was I saying?

    Anyways, great post and thanks 🙂

  7. Hi Lisa,

    Great tips and great correlation!

    WOW, how beautifully you have compared the two very different things – belly dancing and personal branding.

    Public’s perception is the thing that makes a real difference in competitive world.

  8. Great post! I love “Be who you are and who you want to become” in social media. That’s sound advice! You got to be moving towards something… gravitate!

    Thanks for the amazing post! glad I stopped by!


  9. Ugh, not a post about personal branding.

    How can we truly be authentic if your advice is to “create your character” and “be your favorite version of yourself?”

    What the f-bomb are you talking about – there is only one me! I am who I am, and you can’t one day decide to be only part of you.

    There’s a reason all of these personal branding fauxperts act like robots — their entire premise is based on not being who you are.

    There, I’m off my soapbox, but seriously. This personal branding thing is a joke.

  10. Jason: yeah, I was waiting for someone to call me out on the “create a character” part of “being yourself”. I don’t really think it’s about being “one part” of yourself, it’s figuring out who you want to be.

    For example, I imagine my belly dancing instructor doesn’t walk around her home being as eccentric as she is in class. But once she’s there, that’s who she is and what she embodies. It’s the same thing in business. You’re just heightening the aspect of yourself that allows you to connect with people more.

    You know the person you are when you’re a little buzzed and you’re more comfortable in you, more able to express what you think and wave your freak flag without fear of judgement? Kind of like that. 🙂

  11. Lisa, three things:

    1. It’s about time!
    2. Is that your belly in the photo?
    3. Kneesocks vs. belly dancing? What’s better?

    Seriously, good write.

    @Jason “This personal branding thing is a joke.”
    No, it’s a big part of the 1st Pillar. Comments in front of 106,405 highly-educated CB followers, on the other hand, may be.

  12. If you’re the same single person with your mom as you are with your friends in a bar, then either I feel sorry for your mom or I’d be bored to tears out drinking with you. 🙂

  13. First of all, I am SO HAPPY Lisa finally wrote for us. Everyone please follow her on Twitter and pester her until she sends another post. Thank you.

    Second, @Shane, that is totally Lisa’s belly in the photo. Don’t tell anyone.

    Third, @Michelle, trust me, if Brian ever does a belly dancing post, we’ll do it in video. #hastobeseentobebelieved. (oops, not on Twitter, sorry.)

  14. Where are the pics Lisa?!!! 🙂

    Your comment “You know the person you are when you’re a little buzzed and you’re more comfortable in you, more able to express what you think and wave your freak flag without fear of judgment?” is so right on the money and I get EXACTLY what you mean.

    Thanks for sharing/relating this awesome experience with us. Really helps me clarify some things for myself.

    Btw, are you doing a recital we can come to? 🙂

  15. Shane: Um. Sure. Let’s go with Sonia’s answer for the belly question. And I prefer to belly dance IN knee socks. 🙂

    Sonia: Thanks for the chance to post. I promise next time I’m asked I’ll be a little more, uh, prompt with writing something. 🙂

    Jacqueline: Ha! Ha! No…really…that’s very funny. :p

  16. Thanks Lisa. It’s great to hear your experiences from belly dancing and how they relate to personal branding (I don’t know how you did this, but you pulled it off ;)). I agree that creating our character (the belly dancer teacher seems to have a fun personality) as well as treating people like human beings are two important aspects of creating a personal brand that help us build a close network and community.

  17. Okay, I’ve been chuckling through the post and the comments – and I’ve been resisting because I really am sick of the whole notion of personal branding… maybe I’m too old? Too young? Too self-confident? Too….????

    Maybe what we really need to do is remind people they are okay, that they are wonderful and they don’t need to worry so much about getting it wrong?

    But I’ll keep chuckling, and Brian… my mom wouldn’t recognize me now 😉

  18. Didn’t really pay much attention to the branding thing till people started telling me that now, when they see the word “nutmeg”, they think it’s a typo of me. I guess that’s called Inadvertent Personal Branding.

  19. Lisa – I appreciate the response, but you haven’t sold me yet.

    Personal branding – at least the way that it’s portrayed online – is all about being “that guy.” And, quite honestly, who wants to be “that guy”?

    If you are to have a personal brand, it should be all encompassing of what you do and who you are — or else you’re stuck creating brands for every context of your life. And you can’t describe that in a catchy tagline after your name.

  20. Lisa

    Taking this a step further, I think it is being the favorite person of yourself and who you want to be in the different environments that you in (relating to what Brian Clark said above in the comments). When I am with my 5 yr old I am a mom and have to be my favorite person of myself as a mom. I am not a yeller but ya know when kids are 5 a voice raising is needed sometimes but I do not like how I feel when I have to do that. As an owner of an agency that caters to small businesses, my favorite person of me is when I am able to help them achieve their goals – give them as much time as they need to understand what we are doing and why. I am the person who jumps up and down and gets excited when clients have sales increases or my friends have something great happening for them. That is when I am happiest being me. In each of these my character is different as is my favorite person of myself. Certain attributes do cross over but identifying my favorite part of me in my different roles does make a difference in my personal brand as people perceive me and look to me for what I have to offer.


  21. Perfect intro. It turned “Just Another Personal Branding Blog Post” into and made you read the article through.

    You’re right on point. Nobody really wants to hear about how perfect someone is, but if your personal brand makes you think of the fx. the “headlines” niche, you’re golden.

    Entertaining as always. Thanks.

  22. AS a recruiter and job seeker advisor, I continually stress the importance of having a brand in order to stand out from all the other job seekers. But on my best day…I couldn’t have said it better than this!
    thank you!

  23. Belly Dancing! When you first described your instructor the first thing I began to think about was my Yoga instructor I once had. She was exactly how you described your teacher so I couldn’t help but to smile. Although many people are tired of reading about personal branding, I find that I am still picking up new information. I really enjoyed your points and the one I liked best was mixing yourself with someone who you want to be. Great article! definitely enjoyed the read!

  24. @JasonUnger / @LisaBarone

    Personal branding isn’t a joke! If it is, that’d be pretty cruel… It’s about carving out a specified identity and building around it. The fatal flaw in it being “all encompassing of what you do and who you are” is spreading yourself too thin with too far of a reach.

    If creating a persona or focusing on one aspect of you isn’t what you want to do then voila therein lies *your* own personal brand. But for some, it can be about creating an alternate self that caters to a niche (as Lisa describes it). That alternate self is not an island, it doesn’t exist independent of all the other parts of you. Every part of you contributes, but you are the one who makes the conscious choice to filter it and focus it. Why? Because not all of it matters all the time. Not all of it is valuable or relevant to your brand.

    For me, the point of the personal brand isn’t to be “that guy” it’s to be ‘Simren Deogun’ or ‘Jason Unger’ as we choose the world to see us.

  25. It’s no coincidence that the people who are “sick of hearing about personal branding” are the ones who still don’t understand what it actually is.

    Your “brand” is simply – How Others Perceive You. It’s the same as your reputation, just dressed up in a fancy buzz word.

    It has nothing to do with “robots”, or being “that guy”. It’s all about who you are as a person, which is expressed through your character, your words and your actions.

    If people perceive you as someone they wanna hang with/hire/date, you’ve got a good brand. If not, well, you may wanna step your game up.

    I believe PB’s bad rap stems from the fact that the concept of branding was co-opted from the business world of corporate advertising and marketing (Ooooh, Eeeevil!) and applied to humans (I am not a product, dammit, I am a man!)

    Once the haters understand this, and get over it, they’ll realize that Personal Branding is nothing worth forking their eyes about.

  26. Lisa,

    Excellent article!

    I love this part: “You can build your brand on simply being human. Or better yet, you can build your brand on being your favourite version of yourself.”

    This is the best personal branding post I’ve read to date, because it’s written a style and voice that appeals to me which frankly exemplifies your point.

    Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom!

  27. Nicely done, Lisa. “Be your favorite version of yourself.” I never heard that phrase before, but it really nicely sums up the full truth that “Be yourself” hints at. Ourself (at least myself) includes laziness, fear, hatred, anger, etc. Your phrase calls upon the better angels of our nature in our own unique selves. Nicely said.

  28. Actually, Lisa, I think you’re right on to highlight both the “who you are now,” AND the “who you are aspiring to be.” It’s not inauthentic to project the person you’re becoming. A rose in bud, or a rose in bloom – it’s still a rose.

  29. wow! It has been a long time since I have heard somebody talk about belly dance with such passion.

    Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older blogs are not as good as this one, keep it up!

  30. I think you really hit it home when you mentioned “accessibility.”

    This is the key to creating a brand that people will flock to and recognize from afar. People want someone they can share with, not just be dictated to. They get enough of that in their day jobs. If you can take the best/quirky parts of your personality and magnify them in a way that will make people pay attention, you don’t have to pretend to be a guru. You just show up and do your thang. The tribe will soon follow.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  31. Hi Lisa:

    Nice, creative post on personal branding. Your personal brand HAS to be you – the most authentic you. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Happy dancing!

  32. I read this post on my blackberry and I couldn’t wait to get on line and respond!

    As a fellow belly dancer, I can sooo relate to the points in this article. My teacher is the same way. She lives her brand.

    I’m also a coach who helps folks figure out how to live into the brand they are and want to present. I love your comment about “When you make your brand accessible you help grow it beyond your niche.” Getting folks to understand that the key is not to come off like looking and sounding like Martha Stewart or Donald Trump or Oprah, but to be who they themselves are with a dash of what they want to communicate to others. What this approach is bound to reveal is that people have to get comfy with who they are, know who they are and feel safe with a little thing called vulnerability with others. I always say and teach: “Know, Like and Trust yourself first and THEN you’ll beocme a attractor magnet!”

    Keep shaking that shimmy Lisa!

  33. Lisa, I love your article! One of the best I’ve read on CopyBlogger – and that’s saying a lot, since I think CB can be counted on to give terrific info.

    What stood out most for me was “favorite version of yourself” and “creating a community”. It do my best to do both, and your words inspired me to keep it up. Thank you!

  34. lisa, great article and so true – we are our business, blog, and have to have the right passion/believe to get out there and tell the world about us.

  35. You have posted on of the few blogs that reflects that there needs to be a person hidden underneath the brand! So much personal branding information refers to social media marketing, and never mentions the ‘product’ (i.e. the authentic you) that you are trying to market. And I love the additon of the belly dancing which makes your blog memorable. Nicely done!

  36. What a fab article! God, I spend ridiculous amounts of time teaching people that being yourself is flat out the best way to market yourself and your business (especially when *you* _are_ your business!)

    You just gotta have your Personality in your Marketing 🙂

  37. Really good post. I’ve read few personal branding articles and I can say I’ve learned a lot from this one (not including the belly dancing) haha!

  38. i love this post. its the same people that make my eyes roll back into my head and think “who is this person?!” that get me interested becuase secretly I wish I could say or do what they’re doing.

  39. Ahaha I love your examples of your belly dancing class.

    I’m actually starting my first (private) belly dancing lesson on SUNDAY!!! (03oct10)

    I’m really excited but I’m also sort of scared that I won’t be able to get my hips to move because i’ve tried to dance by example and I can’t do it!

    But my instructor seems really nice over email. I’ll be meeting her on Sunday so i’ll find out soon. It’s a 1 hour drive from my house to get there so she’s cutting me a little bit of a break on the price.

    I hope my instructor is as vivid as yours!!!!!!!!!

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