Monday, March 3, 2008

Becoming Who You Were Meant to Be

If you’re a woman with children, you are probably used to being called “Bobby’s mom” or "Chloe's mom." Or if you’re working for someone else, you might be known as “Susan’s assistant” or "the HR gal." There are monikers that could be worse, of course, but maybe you’re getting a little tired of being known by such titles.

Branding, for many women, is something that begins in college. You declare a major and that’s the first time you say who you are. Or, you get your first job, and the boss pigeonholes you.

But over the years I’ve spoken with many happy and successful women, and they all say that more women need to take steps to develop their own reality, not function according to someone else’s perception. More females in the workplace, in other words, need to take off their masks of who they think they should be and became the real person they are – and find much greater professional satisfaction and personal happiness as a result.

Where to start? You may need to:
· Dig deep. There’s only one you — you are special and unique. That means you need words to express your personal beliefs, values, how you want to live and what you consider most important to your well being. The challenge is creating interest and enthusiasm for what you have to offer, and using it to enhance your image in the business world.
· Define dreams and put them into action. Create a mission statement for yourself and write it down. You are very likely to get what you ask for, because when you finally get serious about what you really desire deep in your soul, others start paying attention. Someone once suggested to me you should be able to rattle off your personal mission statement in 12 words or less if someone held a gun to your head (yikes!), while someone else said your statement should feel like a drum roll should proceed it.
· Go after the target audience with a vengeance. No matter what your mission or goal, identifying and earning the devotion of your target audience is critical to your success. Just don’t be fake, because people will sense it and immediately tune you out.
· Crush inner fears. It’s important to overcome insecurities that can stop you in your tracks. In many cases the thing you are afraid to do is the one thing you must do to solidify your brand.
· Recruit supporters. Get friends, family members and colleagues to help you create an atmosphere of success. Listen to their advice, since it comes from a place of genuine caring about you.
· Look good. You must not only make your exterior appealing to your target audience, but also make it a genuine reflection of who you are.
· Get comfortable in your own skin. Guess what? You’re not perfect. No one is. But you can develop your personal style and make it part of your brand. How do you show others that you’re creative, or dependable or funny? We’re all born with charisma --whether or not we all use it is another question.
· Devise a plan and get on with it. If you’re not going to do it, who will? Keep your eye on the prize and work towards it.

Finally, one last note: tune in Tuesday at 10 a.m. CST for a lively and provocative discussion with Christopher Flett on my podcast, “Smashing the Ladder With Anita and Diane,” where we’ll talk about all the things women do right – and wrong – in their careers. And, there will be plenty of good information for the guys, as well.

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Anonymous said...

I agree with what you say above. I had been in a job for the past few years that was trying to mold me into something I am not and wanted to me to suppress my individual instincts.

For me, it was allowing myself to be nerdy and being comfortable with it. At my previous job, such thinking was far too weird for them---my only consolation was to support the hire of nerdy interns so I had some one to hang out with.

This advice, though, should not be just for women. I have known a number of men who have been unable to let out their inner nerd---and as such have been completely uncomfortable with life and their jobs.

Currently, I am in a job where the nerdiness is helpful and considered much less weird. I am much happier.

Anita said...

You're right...plenty of men could probably use this same advice. I know that when I've had jobs that felt like "me," I not only was much happier, but much more productive, creative, etc. Good for you in finding nerd nirvana!

Anonymous said...

Or, in other words, create a Personal Brand. These are great items to consider to do so.

People look at creating a personal brand as being silly, or hard or whatever.

But, it is a proactive, affirmative view of who you are as a person. That is important because without it, you are simply viewed as your perception at the moment -- Mary's Mom.

Great advice, Anita.

Anita said...

You're is about a personal brand. I also think I should have pointed out that this can evolve over time... you shouldn't be afraid to change it when you feel it no longer is who you really are.