You can plan and work and push as hard as you want, but if you don’t have a personal brand that shines through you’ll never get to the top.

On Tuesday I mentioned Seth Godin’s great post from last week, celebrating the life and lessons of fitness guru Jack LaLanne. But what does it have to do with you? Let’s take a look…

“He bootstrapped himself. A scrawny little kid at 15, he decided to change who he was and how he was perceived, and then he did. The deciding was as important as the doing.”

Jack Lalanne saw a direction and moved forward not with what he WAS but with what he WANTED to be. The same applies to clients. Go after the clients you WANT, not the clients you happen to have.

“He went to the edges. He didn’t merely open a small gym… he created the entire idea of a health club, including the juice bar. He did this 70 years ago.”

The message? Think big. Don’t limit yourself to being featured in a local Superlawyers edition. Go after national media. Don’t just write one little article and post it online. Figure out how to turn those ideas into a speech, a seminar, and an e-book.

“ …most of what Jack had to offer he offered for free. He understood the value of attention.”

As I tell my clients all the time. Free isn’t a four letter word. Give clients something for nothing once in a while, it will not only build on your relationship but will give them ammunition to refer out your services.

“He was willing to avoid prime time. Jack never had a variety show on CBS. He was able to change the culture from the fringes of TV.”

You don’t always have to play in the big pond. Find your audience and cater to them, wherever they are. Be an expert in your own world and don’t worry about competing with the big guys.

“He stuck with the brand. He didn’t worry about it getting stale or having to reinvent it into something fresh. Jack stood for something, which is rare, and he was smart enough to keep standing for it.”

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Commit to your brand (both firm and personal) and own it. Repetition, repetition, repetition.

Black Pearl:
One final link on this subject. Here’s an Inc. slideshow about LaLanne that I thought was fun and inspiring. Hope you enjoy it…