How comfortable are you taking a position?

What do you stand for Amanda Blesing.jpg
When you stand for nothing, you fall for everything.

When it comes to self promotion, it's much easier when you have a platform to stand on.

No, I don't mean your soapbox, or your high horse. I'm talking about a cause, a purpose or a mission.

Research tells us that, for women in particular, when we self promote around a cause, a purpose or a mission, we more easily depress the impact of the modesty norm which normally makes us feel self conscious. 

Additionally others are far more forgiving of us if we get it slightly wrong or if the activity is perceived to be not as per the feminine stereotype. This means we more effectively circumnavigate negative judgments and social penalties or even the backlash effect.

A definite win win!

In a nutshell, we're more likely to get out of our own way and flagrantly self promote when it's for a cause, a purpose or a mission. 

Your UVP
Another way to self promote is around your unique value proposition - and that means you need to be able to take a position. You need to back yourself and your own ideas and claim that unique space between your experience, your expertise and those things you are most passionate about.

So my question to you is - how comfortable are you in taking a position?  

Most of us cringe remembering the uncomfortable conversation at a dinner party once where someone dominated the conversation with their dogmatic "position".  

Let's not even go there. Simply remember the Buddhist principle of care deeply, hold lightly and you'll be fine.

Although, at the other end of the spectrum there is the person who is almost like wallpaper, fading into the background, and people wonder why they are in the room.  

As a leader, or aspiring leader, being able to stake a claim in the sand and to take a position, is part and parcel of your journey because it will help set the vision and bring others along on the journey. 

How can I work out my position?
Here are my four go to questions that help you work out what your position is on any issue

  • What do you stand for?

  • Why is this important? 

  • How does this add value? 

  • What's in it for the intended listener/audience?

In fact, you could even create a presentation or a LinkedIn post around those four bullet points alone, and it would go a long way to helping others remember you! 

Once you are comfortable articulating all four, self promotion becomes a breeze.

Is it even worth it? Surely there are no new ideas left
Yes it is worth it. Remember it's not what you know or even who you know, but it's who knows what you know.  You cannot sell a secret so you do have to share your ideas with others.

Sometimes a new voice can bring a fresh perspective and helps to solve old problems in new ways.  Diversity works, because of diversity - of ideas, of thinking, of approaches, so don't even begin to think your position doesn't have any value.  

Digging deep into your sense of why will help you do this. Why do you turn up to work every day? Why do you work in this industry? Why do you do good work? Why is this work important? Why is this perspective important?  

Asking yourself why is nearly always a game changer.

Letting go of the need to be right
Another key element of position taking, is the practice of defencelessness. When you let go of the need to be right, or even letting go of the need to know everything, expressing your opinion is far easier.  

Jane Caro, media commentator, comedian and speaker taught me this as I was about to head on stage one day and debate against some extremely clever PhDs and journalists on the topic of gender salary. The best bit? Her advice was fabulous. My team won the day ... by being funny, not necessarily by being right. 

Quick and Easy Wins
Some quick and easy tactics for you to try once you've worked out what you stand for ...

  • Take a stand and express your opinion in meeting where you normally let others do all the talking

  • Craft a compelling argument in an online forum

  • Providing smart and persuasive commentary at an event or ask a smart question from the back of the room

  • Comment "on brand" on LinkedIn on other people's posts

  • Publish or share "on brand" on LinkedIn 

  • And does your leadership team and/or Board, not just know about you, but know what you represent and how that adds value to the organisation?  If not, go create an opportunity for decision makers to see that you have value to add. 

When the rubber hits the road
Now that you've worked out what you stand for and have a roadmap for helping yourself to stand out for all the right reasons, go and put an appointment with yourself in your calendar to make sure it starts happening today.  Practice makes perfect and you have to start somewhere. 

Then remember Avril Henry's rallying cry ....
"No-one cares as much about your career as you do. So do something about it"

YOUR THOUGHTS?  When do you find self promotion easiest?  What challenges you the most about self promotion?  What have you wished you could be given the opportunity for but no-one else knows and you haven't told them about it either? What can you do differently?
Drop me a note and let me know how you're going - ablesing@amandablesing

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months