• Leonard Kim Contributor.

Your brand. You want to do everything to protect it. So you are never mocked, never humiliated, or looking like a fool. I used to be like that too. Back in 2008-2010, I tried to procure an image that I had no problems and was part of a crowd that was able to enjoy all that  life has to offer. I covered up anything that erred on the side of making me look flawed.

But is that the right thing to do?

When we look into the history from textbooks, we see the ‘hero’s story’ everywhere we look. Leaders like Rockefeller, Roosevelt, Churchill, they’re all portrayed as legends that have ‎created an everlasting brand behind them.

But What Do We, as Not-so-heroic People, Feel When We See This? We Are Led into Believing the Following

1. You Need Privilege To Succeed

If you’re a minority like me, you’re under the impression that the only way to achieve true success in the world is to be a white male. There’s an underlying issue of privilege in the world many people don’t speak of, so what are you supposed to do and how will you ever make it?

2. You Need Perfection To Succeed

These so called legends in our text books look flawless. People who have never made mistakes. A few days ago I was eating a salad and some of it fell on my shirt. You may be thinking if you can’t even keep your shirt clean, how would you ever achieve true success?

3. You Need To Be Fearless To Succeed

Great leaders in textbooks, aside from Abraham Lincoln, have been seen as people who have never failed. People who fear nothing and will do whatever it takes to achieve success. This makes success look like an illusion that can never be achieved by common folk like you and me.

But there has to be a better way, right?

A way to achieve success without being a perfect, fearless leader who never makes mistakes.

I’m not a president or world leader, even though I’ve met one before. I haven’t discovered the cure to cancer, even though I’m associated with some of the top cancer researchers in the world. ‎I’m not even close to being the smartest person in any room, even though my network is filled with some of the most brilliant people in the business world.

I’m just a normal simple guy. Someone who has constantly failed in life until I was almost homeless. Someone who feels fear on a daily basis. Someone who is self conscious of how others may portray me. Someone who slips up and makes constant mistakes. Someone who didn’t have the world handed to them on a silver platter.

Yet, over the course of the last three years, I’ve built a readership base of millions of people across the world, spoken to youths across college campuses and have inspired people across the world to pursue their dreams.

But how is any of this possible and how can you do the same?

By Following These 3 Simple Steps, You Too Can Achieve True Success, Without Necessarily Having the World at Your Disposal

1. Work With What You Have


When I started to build my personal brand in the midst of 2013, I had three followers on the internet, a computer and a wealth of knowledge I could pick from online.

Instead of thinking of what I needed to achieve success, I went out, researched the landscape, then took action. I changed my mindset to be grateful for the little things I did have and took a chance to move up. The act of acting, backed by an attitude of gratitude helped me start up and propel my career. Next thing I knew, I had over 10 million reads on my content, was featured in a ton of publications and picked up hundreds of thousands of social media followers.

2. Be Authentic

Looking through the landscape of the internet, when I saw the great leaders of today, I noticed ‎it was really hard for me to relate to them. They played their highlight reel and it seemed they weren’t genuine, real people, just figureheads who built unachievable empires like that of my history books.

Instead of playing your highlight reel, be authentic and share the lessons you learned in your life, backed by the real world experiences that you went through to learn these lessons. By showing the raw emotions of what you went through, others will be able to relate and resonate with your word, allowing you to create a true connection with your audience.

3. Buy Into Your Fear


There’s two types of fears you will face when you look upon doing something great. The first type of fear is the fear of failure or success. This held me back from trying because I was scared of moving back in with my grandma again.

To overcome this fear, you need to stop looking at the end result and look at the daily action instead, then commit to it. Whether it be writing one article a day, week, month or doing a video, look at the action as opposed to the end result.

The second type of fear is being judged. I felt this all the ‎time when I wrote posts about the darkest hours of my life. I felt like people would look at me as a complete failure and would ridicule and mock me. It was so scary, that when I went to publish, I would shake for 20 minutes debating whether or not I should publish.

When you start to feel this kind of fear, it means you have something that will resonate with many other people who have experienced the exact same thing you went through. So when you are faced with this type of fear, buy into it. When you buy into it and publish, people won’t ridicule and mock you. Instead, they will start conversations with you about how they experienced something similar, or talk about how brave you are for sharing, or even call you an inspiration.

There’s a clear roadmap here, and your success is within reach. But you need to stop playing that highlight reel from textbooks and start being authentic and real. Otherwise, you will just blend into the crowd and be another face that no one can relate to. And what will that do for your overall success?

I’ll tell you exactly what it will do. If you don’t have privilege, and you are not perfect or fearless, it’ll do absolutely nothing. If the odds are against you, use my 3-step strategy and I believe you will succeed.

Go out there and give it a try. When you’re done, tell me all about your results in the comments below. Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Leonard Kim is recognized by Forbes as a Top Marketing Influencer and Inc. as a Top Digital and Youth Marketer. He is a personal branding expert whose content has been read over 10 million times. He has amassed a social media following of well over 250,000 people. He’s been featured in too many publications to name that a Wikipedia page was made about him.

Leonard is managing partner of InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your brand, get featured in publications and grow your social media following.