What is your personal label?

Remember the popular Govinda song – ‘What is your mobile number?’ Allow me to take a step ahead and ask of you – ‘What is your personal label?’ As you reflect on the same, my hope is that this question stays with you and it is the one that you are continuously updating and refreshing and even humming!

A ‘personal label’ is your identity. It is made of words that describe you and your personality. How did these words come about? Most of them if you think deep, come from within yourself. It is you who defines who you are, what you stand for, what you symbolise. But the paradox also is that for many of you, your definition of yourself is derived from how your external world views you.

The perception of who you are is a combination of your own making and that of others looking at you and putting their own words to describe you. 

How do you define yourself?

Communicators play a collaborative role across teams, divisions and functions. They connect. Have you ever thought of how you define yourself when you connect with people? The first place to begin is to ask yourself the question ‘who am I?’ or simply put, describe yourself. Write down the adjectives that come up. It will be a mix of positive and negative words. Once you have that list ready, here is what you MUST do – strike out any negative words that you may use to describe yourself!   

Replace the word(s)

With the negative words weeded out, you will find that the negativity too has disappeared. Success is now easy to achieve because you are thinking positively and relooking at things differently. In your job you will come across many instances when things look bleak and all negative thoughts fill your mind. Do this exercise of weeding out the negative words and replacing them with positive ones. It is really a simple exercise but the power of it cannot be undermined. You don’t fill your resume with negative words. Your resume reflects your achievements and successes. So why should your personal label not be the same?

Strength it is

Communicators or PR consultancies also play the critical role of driving internal messaging for the organisation. This calls for a high degree of cross functional collaboration and strong skills of managing complexities that can arise because of people differences and disagreements. Your ability to receive feedback, give honest opinions and disagree often is an extension of your personal label and how you perceive yourself. You also continue to build your personal identity as you communicate with others. Hence, it is critical that you are aware of yourself. Focus on your strengths and build on those when leading or participating in discussions.

Invest in yourself

Remove some ‘me’ time and invest in yourself with picking up new skills, networking across diverse groups and/or reading about your subject. Keep yourself updated on the latest trends in communications and client services. The communications field is evolving at a very fast pace. You need to ensure you are one step ahead of the game.


To build on to your personal identity and use your skills to the maximum, you must be willing to experiment. For instance, are you open to moving out of your comfort zone and trying out a new role? Or, are you open to taking on some extra work to shadow a colleague whose role you have always admired? How about looking for roles where you are charged with acquiring new information daily? I know a colleague who moved from communications to shadow an archivist! We are often ensconced in our areas that we do not want to topple the apple cart. You need to come out of that mind-set.

Work on sharpening and redefining the contours of your personal label and you will find yourself expressing better and performing better. Go ahead, celebrate the YOU and build your own personal label!

Sarita Bahl
Sarita Bahl is an alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the Swedish Institute of Management Program. An experienced and versatile leader, she comes with nearly four decades of professional experience. She has over the years successfully overseen the communications and public affairs function and led the corporate social responsibility strategy for Bayer South Asia, Pfizer, and Monsanto, among others. Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, the public sector, trade associations, MNCs, and the not-for-profit sector. Her areas of interest include advocacy, stakeholder engagement, sustainability, and communications.

As an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and Senior Practitioner (Mentoring) from the European Council of Mentoring and Coaching (EMCC), Sarita specializes in career transition, inner engineering and life issues. Sarita enjoys writing and is passionate about animals, books, and movies.

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