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Srinivas Rao – Building Your Personal Brand

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One of the things that I love is your recommendation to be unreasonably confident, become an instigator, and just be extraordinary. You say, “The world doesn’t need more copycats. It needs you to be you.” Increases in blog traffic and results are side benefits. Can you tell us a bit more about this?

A lot of this is a byproduct of observation and what I see in the online world after years of interviewing and meeting hundreds of interesting and successful people. I get a unique view into the web because of how I built my platform. It goes back to that conversation about matching bullet points on your resume to a job description, and as a result you just become a pale imitation of other people. Things change once you kind of let go of all that and just say, “I’m going to tell my story.”

you do have to be unreasonably confident and assume that they will lead you to better places. Maybe this is career suicide, but at this point who cares? It takes a level of confidence to do that

I’ll give you an example. The other day I was looking at my page for BlogcastFM and it hadn’t been updated in a really long time. And the copy was a list of my accolades—I did this and this and this—and it was written in the third-person. This isn’t my story. There is nothing real or authentic about this. I’m done telling this story, and basically I opened the About page and rewrote it: I’m an instigator and corporate misfit who is allergic to cubicles and office buildings, and I told a story about how I’d been fired from almost every job.

What I realized was that people relate to that much more than this pedestal. I’m not a guru or thought leader or expert. I’m just a guy who likes creating things. And I think for me, when you get to that place of being—to use a very overly used word—authentic, you become a lot more relatable to people, and strangely we avoid that because to be so vulnerable to admit failure doesn’t seem unreasonably confident. But at the same time, you do have to be unreasonably confident and assume that they will lead you to better places. Maybe this is career suicide, but at this point who cares? It takes a level of confidence to do that.

I think a lot of us have bold ideas, but we resist our bigger ideas because our immediate sort of reaction when we think of something really audacious is, “How the f*@k is that going to happen?” But what’s interesting is once you take the first step. To be unreasonably confident is not the same as being fearless. Being unreasonably confident is saying, “I’m not going to die and I’m not going to go bankrupt if this doesn’t work.” Once you develop that type of filter, it’s really interesting what kind of work you do, and you find yourself doing things that most people say that’s audacious, and that’s remarkable.

The thing is, it’s not about taking these huge leaps. There is this mantra perpetuated by the blogosphere to quit your day job and travel the world. People hear that and think of un-packaging something from wrapping paper and discovering the world. But if you’ve traveled the world, it’s not as perfect as the pictures make it out to be. Traveling is tough.

The real question is how to be yourself. A large part is doing something and sticking with it for a long time when there might not be external rewards. Scott Belsky says that our external rewards system conditions us to do things quickly and expect rewards quickly. As a result, we avoid audacious goals. Big dreams don’t come at bargain basement prices.

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Srinivas Rao – Host and Co-Founder BlogcastFM

Srinivas Rao is a connector, instigator and corporate misfit who is allergic to cubicles and office buildings. He’s the guy you’ll hear shouting “let’s shift gears” in every episode of BlogcastFM. In other words, he is the host of the show. He’s been fired from almost every real job he’s ever had.

In April 2009, he graduated from business school, was completely broke, and realized that he was unemployable. His world basically fell apart. So he did what anybody in that situation would do: he moved back to his parents’ house and started a blog. That was just the beginning of taking the scenic route through life which has resulted in his #1 bestselling book The Art of Being Unmistakable: A Collection of Essays About Making a Dent in the Universe.