- Posted by marysastevens
- On April 24, 2017
- 0 Comments
At the beginning of a new job, or when you first launched your business, how many times did you question the value of the work you do? When I wrote about imposter syndrome on my personal blog, I learned that this feeling of inadequacy exists for many of us.
“Marketing is enthusiasm transferred to the customer.” – Gregory Ciotti
When I have an idea or proposal for a client lead, I focus foremost on the value of my words and strategies. Having belief in your skills and strengths will only lead to a more successful career. To boost your confidence and put you on the path to triumph, here are three ways you can start now.
1. Know your “why”
“Why did you choose to go into this business?”
I ask this question to my clients during each consultation, and often remind them of their answers as we work through next steps and strategies. I chose to study journalism in college because writing was always my favorite subject. I chose to go into public relations and marketing because telling stories is more than just a byline in a newspaper – it’s strategic and influential in helping people make informed decisions. To me, it’s fun and exciting to think about new ways to promote and talk about a product or service. I’m lucky that I can fall into the cliché, “I love the work I do.”
A client and I recently had a deep conversation about her “why.” We delved into her childhood and how she ended up on her career path where she was of service to people and making their world safer. This career choice ultimately lead her to start a business that also serves people and gives back to the military veterans and spouses who have served our country. It was a breakthrough for her; sometimes our “why” has always been with us…we just need to talk it out.
2. Differentiate yourself from your closest competitor
It’s standard business acumen to know that being able to stand out among your competitors is vital to success. This is especially true for candidates interviewing for a new job where there are others who have the same skillsets, education and work experience.
After I started my first job right out of college, I knew that I had landed the position over more than 20 other applicants. Many of them were former classmates and several had more PR experience and internships than I did. I asked my new boss if she could tell me how I stood out among the competition.
My only internship put me in front of others in that it gave me the true skills and published work they were looking for in this entry-level role. Instead of interning at a public relations firm (which is still great idea for those interested in PR), I worked at a small-town newspaper in Montana and lived with my grandparents for the summer. It was a win-win solution for me. I was published every day due to the small staff and spent quality time with my grandparents. Years later, I still cherish that time and I am able to share some of the many articles in my portfolio. This internship gave me hands-on experience with writing, editing, AP style, interviewing and photography – all skills that are just as important in the PR world as they are in a newsroom. My robust portfolio and strong knowledge of AP style put me above the rest.
Challenge: Write two concise sentences that show how you are different than your competition. Think of unique experiences, awards, goals, successes and even learning opportunities from past failures.
To help you get started, ask your current clients or employers what makes you different and relevant. Ask why they chose you and continue to believe in the value you offer.
3. Working effectively through rejection
The fear of rejection is far greater than many other fears, including fears of spiders and heights for many of us. How many times did you shy away from asking someone on a date because you didn’t want to be turned down? How many jobs did you pass over because you felt you weren’t qualified enough?
To help overcome this fear, which may very well be holding you back from advancing your career trajectory or growing your business, spend some time answering the following questions:
1. Write down words and phrases that friends, colleagues, clients, former employers or professors have said when they express recognition or your value to them.
2. Categorize your strengths and things you can improve on in an A, B, C list. For example:
· A – My strongest suit
· B – What I’m competent in, but still cautious
· C – Greatest weakness, past failures, what I’m intimidated by
Once you have this list you can focus on what makes you confident and lead with that. You also now have potential improvements written down.
For me, as much as I dream about it, I know that I am not a graphic designer. I own this and while I know it would be a great skill to have, it would take years to catch up others who are so talented. Instead, I focus on my B, a more realistic goal for me right now, which is developing web content and design. I’m proficient in storytelling and communication but through experience have earned my stripes in the digital space.
When my husband and I moved for his medical residency I started a new job that I was chosen for based on my writing and creative background. But this job also incorporated sales – and gasp! – cold calling. I’m an outgoing individual who doesn’t shy away from public speaking and feels relatively confident in one-on-one situations. But nothing prepared me for showing up at offices unexpectedly or calling them in the middle of the work day to ask prospects if we could talk about why they should choose our company over another provider.
To me, this was exactly like bungee jumping off a bridge; there’s literally nothing anyone could do to convince me to do it. Jumping off a bridge with a bungee cord is a rational fear. For me, talking to people was an irrational fear. To overcome that fear, it took training in Sales 101 with a consultant, studying what I needed to know about why clients should choose my company, and practicing a hundred times my introduction and answers to potential client questions.
Whether you’re selling your product or service, or marketing yourself to a potential employer, practice your personal statement and prepare for questions that will likely be asked. Once you build the confidence in your answers, all it takes is that first leap of faith… and while we’re not bungee jumping, we can dive right into success.
In summary, build your confidence in yourself through the steps listed above. Once you understand your why and know your unique value, you will find that your enthusiasm for your work has converted into a true belief and ultimately success.