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Personal Brand – Three Lessons in Authenticity, Clarity, and Alignment

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

My name is Chris Haase, and I craft executive identities.

This is a personal story about how I connected with my own authenticity, clarity, and alignment with lessons for you, the reader.

My career can be broken down into three parts: I began working at big brands (Intuit and Apple), then I co-founded a startup (YourVersion), and now I’m an executive personal brand coach.

In the first two career stages, I struggled with finding a fit in my roles. I was like Goldilocks—I tried all the jobs, but none were quite right.

Each position was fun, and I learned an immense amount from talented people. In the end, though, I felt incomplete. There was a fundamental “missing of meaning” in my work, a feeling of uncertainty about my professional place in the world.

When our startup, YourVersion, did not take off and it was time to move on, my anxiety about what to do next got more intense. To say I was lost is putting it mildly.

Over the next year, I went through a long, thorough, and painful grieving process for my startup. I was forced to examine my professional life and evaluate how to reinvent myself.

Something needed to change.

Through a networking contact, I started career coaching, found some success, and then something magical happened. I found my passion and calling—working with executives. What follows are three lessons critical to my self-discovery and reinvention:

Be Authentic As I worked with my executive clients during their job search, I saw them wrestle with the same thing that had been my challenge throughout my earlier career: they were trying to define their professional identity.

Specifically, they struggled with how to identify and communicate the value they could bring to their next company, and what made them unique and different in the marketplace.

I saw a hunger in them that mirrored what I experienced in myself—a hunger for truth. To get to that truth, I found my most powerful tool: Curiosity.

So I began asking the hard questions of them and of myself. I saw a pattern emerge that gave definition and authenticity to my clients’ interactions in their search. As soon as they knew their value, they became stronger and more confident, and, more importantly, they were speaking from a place of truth.

I used the experience to also do my own work and explain my own value. I worked my answers over and sought out perspectives from different people who know my work. Cobbling together their insights led to my own messaging, truth, and authenticity.

Seek Clarity As my clients connected to their authentic selves, they experienced a high level of clarity about their right next professional role.

When I began career coaching, it was at best a part-time temporary position to fill the time while I found my “official” full-time opportunity. But as life happens, something shifted, and I began to see a path forward and with an executive audience that I didn’t expect.

My professional vision for my work and calling became clear. The fuzzy and abstract gradually became crystal clear. I’d like to say it was a lightning bolt out of the sky and there I was. Rather, it was a slow evolution of committed intention that led to my realization and awareness.  

Recently, I was in yoga and the instructor said, “Find comfort in the posture before going into the full expression.” I realized that was exactly what I was doing–experiencing a measure of comfort in my vision, then moving into the full expression.

Drive Alignment Being authentic and clear is the start for my clients to be aligned in their professional lives—particularly in how they present themselves online as well as in person.

In my experience, the best coaches must model what they coach to their clients. Therefore, I make sure I’m out networking, using LinkedIn, tweeting, and blogging. For me, all those pieces are required to ensure I’m in alignment with what I recommend to my clients.

My own alignment continues to evolve in this process. I feel more connected and focused in my work, and I have a level of knowing that I simply never had before—and the confidence for which I’ve always been longing.

The Opportunity Executives are expected to bring clarity, alignment, and authenticity to their roles and their organizations. They are the highly visible agents of direction, change, and focus in their companies.

Therefore, it is important for executives to spend the valuable time during a transition to discover what makes them authentic, clear, and aligned. It allows them to define their plan to drive that back into their next and future organizations.

Going through my own discovery process has been invaluable and sets the right foundation to invite executives to connect with their own authentic selves, find professional clarity, and alignment in how they present themselves on and offline.

I'll leave you with three questions to get you thinking about your own authenticity, clarity, and alignment:

  • What makes you different or unique in your work?

  • What business outcomes do you drive in your organization?

  • How are you aligned in your work, and in how you show up on and offline?

I look forward to continuing the dialogue.

My name is Chris Haase, and I craft executive identities.

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Chris Haase is Principal of Clarity Silicon Valley, which is a personal brand coaching firm that crafts executive and professional identities.

Clarity Silicon Valley offers an Executive Identity Program and workshops aimed at executives and high-potential professionals who seek to accelerate their career by discovering, understanding, and owning their personal brand through telling their authentic professional story.

Chris is available for personal brand strategy and development engagements with individuals and companies, as well as writing and speaking opportunities.

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