- Who & Why?
All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘self-confidence’
Just the other day a client gave me a compliment by letting me know how our work had made such an impact on their personal world and in their business culture. I was touched. I was also proud. I had to take a moment and step back to check in on my mentality. Was I buoyed too much by the compliment and patting myself on the back? If so, was I running the danger of letting my ego run away with the compliment and hijacking it to my brand detriment?
In brand development, I always say that everyone must be able to receive and distill compliments well. The practice serves so many various purposes.
However, there’s a fine line between taking compliments well and taking those same compliments and becoming arrogant as a result. The former is so attractive to your brand. The latter is awful for your brand.
The trouble: It’s so easy to run the risk of the latter.
As my mentor, James Espey, says “Confidence without arrogance” is the goal in life and in business. He’s certainly lived that humble and successful life for years.
What’s a person to do? The number one rule is to stay self-aware. Much like I do my best to do, stop and think to yourself:
- Did I really hear the message that was meant to come with that compliment?
- How can I use it in a humble way to boost my self-confidence?
After all, self confident brands win.
If you’d like to discuss this topic or any related topic regarding how to market and sell yourself in a healthy and authentic way, please drop me a line. I’d love to connect and discuss.
Back in the days when I was a practicing lawyer in Washington DC, I used to straighten my very curly hair. Every day. I used to get up early, forsake sleep or a work-out, and stand there and sweat it out. Pulling. Tugging my hair. Struggling. Resisting my natural curls.
I thought that in order to be seen as a competent lawyer, I had to be serious. I assumed curly hair meant I wasn’t serious. Straight hair equaled serious and competent.
One day I woke up and changed careers. What followed was a return to my natural curls. No more waking up early to straighten the curls. My morning options opened up: I could sleep, meditate longer, work out more often.
Does that mean I am not as competent or serious anymore? Not necessarily. I’m definitely competent and you better believe I’m serious about my work as a brand strategist.
I just stopped taking myself so seriously and decided to lighten up. That meant accepting who I was naturally- curly hair and all. I stopped resisting my natural tendencies and started to “own” them.
You know what happened next? My curly hair became a part of my brand. Used wisely, I was able to balance curls as a complement to my branding strengths and talents. That meant in part that if my hair is curly, I made sure I offset the fun and free nature of the curls with a more smart visual brand (ie, no low cut tops, etc).
My curly hair is now part of my values and signals my creative and fun nature and expertise. No more resistance.
Yet, I regularly hear from so many of my clients that they want to seen as competent so they are working on being more “serious”. What does serious have to do with competence?
Being serious does not sell your brand.
Emotional resonance in brand development is what sells your brand. Emotional resonance is crucial. The only emotion that sells is happiness. So if you are telling me that your serious brand signals happiness somehow, then go for it.
Unfortunately, none of us really intend for our serious brand to be giving off a vibe of happiness. So our brand fails AND you are unhappy and confused, too.
Consider that our need for others to see us as competent is really our desire to be respected by others. It has nothing to do with being serious. Gaining others’ respect means we respect ourselves first. But do we respect ourselves enough first and foremost to own our own strengths (and curly hair)? No one can respect us otherwise- whether we are serious or not.
So what does this mean for you and your business, career, and your business brand, too? Stop and ask yourself:
- Where in your life and career do you think you need to be more competent? Why?
- Do you respect yourself to consider yourself competent?
- How are you trying to achieve this competence by being more serious?
- Where in your life and career could you show up more happy and sell more happy?
- What would your own brand and your business/career brand look like if you were more happy and less serious?
As my business grows and I’m blessed with new opportunities, I get new titles with each new position. Just last month I was on a site visit of various hotels in order to book a hotel venue for a conference I am chairing. The hotels put all the spotlight on me, since I am the decision-maker. If I say “yes”, the hotel stands to gain lots of business from my members attending the conference.
In all of this, I had to stay focused. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the moment and get an over-inflated sense of myself with each visit to a new hotel. I had to keep in mind the wise words of my mentor, James Espey, who brilliantly says, “it’s not about you, it’s about your title”. He should know. After all, James Espey spent many years leading the creation and building of some of the world’s greatest brands including Baileys, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, and Chivas Regal 18. He’s been recognized by the Queen of England for his achievements to the spirits industry.
Wow, is James Espey correct as I learned and continue to learn each day. In my case, the hotels were not treating me like royalty because they liked me or respected me and my brand. The hotels were behaving in response to the title I carried. They would have treated any person with my title in that way. Kind of hard on the ego at first, and then it is very liberating to know who you are as a human is NOT your title.
Wealth is also not tied to your brand. I think many of us strive for wealth in order to get respect. However, once again I think people aren’t necessarily respecting YOU, if you are wealthy. They are attributing things to you based on your wealth- they may not even know you and your brand.
Just last weekend I was at a party- well over 100 people in attendance. Here’s what I noticed.
There were three very wealthy couples/families at the party:
Couple #1: Self-made uber wealthy people. Very down to earth and have worked very hard for their huge accumulation of wealth. They share it with others. People love to be around them and acknowledge this couple. Why? Because the couple is not just wealthy, but fun, easy going and humble. Their brand commands respect because they give respect.
Couple #2: They started out with lots and lots of family money. However, they worked very hard at two separate businesses to add to their wealth. In other words, they didn’t just eat mom and dad’s money. People acknowledge them and notice them at the party because this couple has worked hard to stay successful. They are also humble and never flaunt their money. They seem to recognize their wealth is not who they are. Others see this, too.
Family #3: This family is comprised of three adult children of a very wealthy father. Their father accumulated his massive fortune working with his brothers running a very reputable and honorable business globally. Their father has passed on. Unfortunately, the three adult children (now well into their 50s) have never done anything to “earn” their fortune. To my knowledge they have spent daddy’s wealth. As a result, the siblings show up “demanding” respect because they are their daddy’s children. It’s really sad to watch. One of them even raised her voice to me once and said I was rude to not go up to her and acknowledge her and say hello to her. Really very sad. This person was clearly wrapped up in her wealth– actually in her daddy’s wealth. People do recognize the three adult children. However, it is not because people respect these three children. It’s hard to respect someone who has never worked for their wealth and who demands others to respect them. I’ve come to realize if people recognize and respect the three adult children, it may only be out of respect for what their father achieved and not for their own brand values.
So what does this mean for you? Stop and consider:
- How often are you wrapped up in your title or monetary status?
- Do you find your real brand shines through at these times? Or does it feel fake and forced?
- If you are considerably “wealthy” (define it however way you wish), do you allow your wealth to be a “silent wealth” where you show up humble and down to earth? If so, this is the only way you can garner real respect and positive attention from others. This is also the way to be a role model for others.
- If you have an important title (define “important” however way you wish), stay aware to distinguish when the limelight is on you, the real person, and when the attention is directed at your title only. There’s a big difference, as James Espey so beautifully points out.
Just the other day I was on an airplane again. I fly all the time. On every flight I find myself caring too much about what the other passengers think of me. How do I do it? Well, it shows up in every aspect of my “being”- from what I eat and drink on the flight to what I read or write on the plane.
It’s just crazy, right? And don’t judge me- you know you do it, too. You just don’t want to admit it because you don’t want us to value you less.
Some times I think I spend more time thinking about this stuff than about myself and how I feel when I’m on the plane. And this is from someone who develops other peoples’ brands for a living. I’m fully self-aware and know the impact of us not setting our own self-worth and value.
Do you ever wonder why we all care so much about what others think about us?
It can’t be self-preservation. Frankly, all the energy I expend on making sure I look “good” to others on the plane is just exhausting. It does nothing to make me feel better to try so hard. If anything, it is “anti” self-preservation.
It also can’t be because I really care about what others think of me. I’m likely never going to see any of those people again once I step off the plane.
Yet, I fall for ego’s trick, too—even on airplanes with people I have never met and will never meet again.
So the real inquiry is why do we allow others to set our value for us? Why is it that we can’t have a high enough self-worth that it doesn’t really matter what others think of us?
Why do we allow others to set our self-worth and set our value?
The real reason is that we are so afraid to look deep inside because we may discover that we are loveable and great. If we look inside, we may find ourselves worthy of love- our own love and that of others. If we did, then what anyone else thinks of us would not matter- we would get to set our own value and worth. That’s very liberating, not to mention not so exhausting. That’s also an attractive brand.
What does this mean for you? Stop and consider:
- How often do you allow what others think of you to matter more than what you want to think of yourself? Be honest with yourself.
- Why do you do it?
- Where is one place in your life experience and activities that you could allow yourself to be “free” and set your own value/worth and brand?
- What if you just didn’t care what others thought of you- that includes your friends, family, colleagues and strangers? I guarantee you that you would be happier AND more productive. You would have a stronger sense of self, making you more attractive to others.
Was this helpful? If so, please share the blog and help others, too.
Got questions? Feel free to email me directly: katy (at) purispersonalbranding.com
The longer I live, the more I think about what it really means to support others and be of service to them. Where along the way do we lose that magic touch of support and service to others?
I think about this topic more lately because of the larger number of service providers we hire at work. It seems like we pay so many companies monthly for something. The latest hire really made me laugh.
This company gave a 14-day free trial offer so I could test out their software. I found myself scrambling like a maniac to really use and implement their software and test it fast. Why?
My past experiences with similar vendors have conditioned me to believe that companies will give me good service as long as I’m not a client yet. In other words, while they are wooing me in the “dating” phase, they’ll give good support and answer my questions. Once I pay up, they stick me in line with all the other customers who need support and then I won’t be able to get help with their product anymore. Even if me and my company have paid a premium to use their service.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a real life example we’ve actually tested out.
We evaluated Demand Force, a company we have used. Here are the results:
It took Demand Force ten seconds to answer sales calls- when they thought we were prospective clients wanting to buy their service. In contrast…
We were on hold 29 minutes when we became a client and had a question regarding their service and product.
Do you see a problem? I do. Does it now make sense why I was scrambling to see if I really liked my potential new vendor while they were wooing us? Sadly, yes.
What does this mean for you? Stop and think for yourself:
If you are in the role of working for one of these types of organizations:
- what kind of pre and post acquisition support do you offer clients? If it differs, by how much and why?
- What does the difference in treatment do for your overall corporate/business brand? Does your target audience get a clear and consistent brand message? Do they really get to know your company values this way?
If you are an individual working on your own brand:
- what kind of support do you offer others?
- Do you offer consistent support to those you serve?
- Or does your level of support vary? If so, how and why?