- Who & Why?
Category Archive for: ‘Job Search’
I mentor a young woman who is getting her undergraduate degree. She recently interviewed me for her entrepreneur class. One of the questions she asked moved me very much.
Her question was, “What does it mean to you to think about yourself as an entrepreneur?” I haven’t sat down and thought about this question in a very long time. I sat back to reflect in order to give her an honest and sincere answer. Instead what I discovered is that I became quiet emotional at the privilege I had to be an entrepreneur.
As I reflected on the last ten years of my life in running this company, two things stood out as themes to my answer: honor and responsibility.
To be an entrepreneur for me means to be a pioneer and a trend-setter while helping people and organizations choose to see things differently and excel. It is an honor and a privilege to be an entrepreneur and it is clearly NOT for everyone. Everyday is exciting and fun. Others may see risk and instability, I see a promise to be better and impact the world in a positive way. I see it as my responsibility and an honor.
Every day it is my privilege to be allowed into our clients’ lives and hearts and minds. Rarely is there a day when a client doesn’t drop their guard and become vulnerable with me in an effort to be better and do better. What an honor and a privilege it is to be me and to have clients trust me in this way.
What does this mean for you?
Even if you are not entrepreneur, this line of thinking will serve you well in your work and career and personal life, too. Stop and consider:
- What is an activity in your life that is exciting and fun for you?
- Can you take your current career and/or job and choose to see it from the vantage point of an entrepreneur- as fun, exciting and a true contribution to others?
- If you answered “no” to the question above, can you take just ONE aspect of your current career and/or job and choose to see it that way?
- In your life and career, have you stopped to listen to feedback from others regarding what you do that can be seen as: a) a privilege and b) a way to be of service to others?
I hope you found this material helpful. If so, please SHARE it with others. I’m always striving to provide you with content that is helpful to you and your brand and life. Please email me with your feedback and questions: katy (at) purispersonalbranding.com.
Making the decision to change careers and then taking the big plunge to actually change careers is hard enough. I know what it is like. I remember it all too well. Sometimes I look back and wonder where I ever got the nerve or the courage. I have even asked myself if I would do it all over again, knowing what I know now. The answer is always a resounding “yes”.
Changing careers is scary because there are so many unknowns. We ask ourselves all sorts of questions, including:
– Will I like my new career better than my current career?
– Will I be a success?
– Will I make enough money to live comfortably?/ Can I pay the bills to survive?
Part of the difficulty in changing careers is the unsettling notion we have about how we can conform who we are, as individuals, to the new job. The problem is that most of us identify ourselves with our careers and jobs. If you asked me 15 years ago who I was, I would have told you I was a lawyer.
Clients often say to me that they do not know how to represent themselves (ie, position their personal brands) in networking events, on business cards and in front of others in general. For example, one client practiced as a CPA for twenty years before switching careers to go into the mortgage industry. Not only did she have a challenge with what to verbally say as she introduced herself and her new career, but she also had reservations around her visual brand- how does a mortgage industry specialist show up in public? Is it the same as a CPA or not? More conservative or less? The list was endless, understandably.
The hesitation and confusion is understandable. There is a very real loss of self followed by self-discovery in this process. You have to go through the journey of figuring out how to distinguish yourself and your new personal brand within the context of the your new industry and career. This requires you to know your uniqueness and your story around it. Then you need to find the overlap in your uniqueness, talents and story between your two careers.
So ask yourself: 1) are you ready for a change? 2) would a new career make you happier possibly in the long run? 3) do you have a contribution to society that fuels your passion and purpose? 4) where are the commonalities and differences in your two careers and your skill-set and offerings- ie, where are YOU the same in each career?
I had a new client say to me last week, “I have such trouble when I have to describe who I am in my bio and cover letters.” Her problem was that she started with her name followed by the word, “is” and had no where to go from there. So say her name was Jane Doe. She had no idea how to finish the statement, “Jane Doe is….” At 55 years old with a wonderful and brilliant career, she literally had no idea who she was or what to say about herself AND her experience/work to others.
The truth is that this problem plagues most of us in one way or another. It most often manifests full force when we are forced to face the issue, such as like my client above, while we are looking for a new job or career. This is the main time when we have to explain to other employers and contacts the truth: who we are, what we are about and why we should get that next great job or promotion.
I see the struggle all my clients face when we work on developing their unique selling proposition and story. Most folks stare at me like I am asking them to move a boulder up a hill through mud. But what they realize later is that at the top of that hill rests a treasure chest for them. To get to the treasure, first they have to figure out who they are, get their story down on paper and really “own” being unique.
So stop and ask yourself: How would you answer the question: “[Your First Name and Last Name IS…]”
– First look at what makes you unique
– Then figure out your own story. Before you can express who you are to others, you gotta know who you are and own it well.
Have you ever wondered if people really care what you do for a living? I go to so many events where people stand up to introduce themselves and lead with what they do- “I’m a lawyer, I’m a dentist, I’m a CPA, I’m an engineer”. Blah blah blah.
Do you really think that you will captivate us, inspire us and have us remember you this way? In a world where it seems every other person is a coach, lawyer, doctor, accountant or engineer, who really cares that you are one, too?
So a few days ago I posted a video from a few years back by Simon Sinek where he explains the reason your “why” is so much more important than your “what”. I love this video because it helps me explain why your personal brand is so important. Even better, Simon’s video articulates my entire personal branding mission and work so well.
The point is that your “why” is the sweet spot. It is where I get to have that emotional connection with you. If I “get” your why immediately, then your personal brand is optimal: I remember you, I feel a connection to you, I am inspired by you, you seem credible and I’m much more motivated to get to know you….and hire you or refer you or promote you.
The reason most people do not lead with their “why” is because they do not know their why. Often they are so involved in the substantive work, they cannot be bothered with superfluous stuff like the why. Or it is too painful to really look inside to figure out the why. I’m not going to kid you- we spend TONS of time in so many different ways with clients so that they can find, own and build a brand around their “why”.
So, what is your “why” around what you do? Email me your answer and I’ll help you develop it offline.
Inherent to the personal branding process is the ability to be able to know your uniqueness, own it and let others know it. Of course, if this was easy to do everyone would be an expert at personal brand management, have more business and be happier in general.
Yet, as I always say, we find that people have a hard time being outstanding and shining brightly AND letting others know it. Inherently, the problem is low self-confidence. Therefore, we become “closet professionals” as I like to call it. We go around hoping someone will somehow notice how great we are, like us and then hire us.
Last week I had the pleasure of hearing a speech by Edith Ramirez, the Chairwoman of the FTC. She spoke at a local female lawyers luncheon. Ramirez is a bright and capable lawyer, having been on law review at Harvard with President Obama.
At the heart of her talk was the concept that women and minorities are not good at marketing themselves, or tooting their own horns. She highlighted how an essential part of being a good attorney is having self-confidence, something we directly measure for our personal branding clientele. If you are not self-confident about what you do, clients will feel it.
Ramirez stated that it is ok to say, “I’m good. Hire me!”
So how good are you at saying, “I’m good. Hire me”? Do you have self-confidence and passion around your profession, be it a lawyer or otherwise? If not, why not?