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Seven Incredibly Expensive Self Promotion Excuses Typical for Executive Women

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You are the story teller of your own life, and you can create your own legend, or not
— Isabel Allende

If you do a Google search for how to self promote without sounding like you're bragging you'll get 2.5 MI+L hits. It's a big concern for both men and women with societal and cultural norms and biases forming part of this minefield.

It can be even tougher for women when it comes to self promotion, as you know. We're damned when we do, yet doomed when we don't. We want a career that really counts. We want to feel as though we are seen, heard AND valued, but it can sometimes feel like balancing on a knife edge. 

Sometimes we even wonder why we bother.

Yet when we don't self promote we miss out on plum assignments, juicy salary increases or bonuses in line with our male peers and equally importantly, we miss out on being perceived as a serious C-suite contender.   

Remember, our society confuses confidence with competence, and self promotion with confidence will help you not only get ahead, but be perceived as better at your role as well.

Over the years I’ve heard lots of reasons why people don’t self promote and I believe the following seven excuses will cost you  $10's of $1000's in salary over the course of your career.

  1. I just need to do great work - Remember the famous “build it and they will come” line from Kevin Costner's Field of Dreams?  He had built a baseball stadium and people magically turned up from all over to attend simply because he built it. In a highly competitive job market, where we confuse confidence with competence, you simply cannot afford to assume that people will see the value or commercial application of your experience or expertise. Additionally, algorithms, short attention spans and rapidly changing technologies rule the world. It’s really hard to sell a secret, so you'll need to do far more than create a program, post something on LinkedIn, or just do great work. You also need to sell the value of the great work you do - ergo you need to self promote.

  2. My results should speak for themselves - this is the most common expression I hear from busy executives who are beginning their self promotion journey.  Nearly everyone has this inner mental script. "It's not fair. I shouldn't have to tell my boss about how well I did. They should see for themselves, because it's their job to manage me."  Success will belong to those who can speak to their own results without sounding like they're bragging. In fact, success comes more easily to those who even do sound they’re bragging, than those who don’ t speak up at all. Start practicing now.

  3. When I land a new role, I don’t need to self promote any more - another really common misconception.  The most ambitious and successful women I work with know this. They keep self promoting even when they start a new role.  In fact, even more so. They stay visible both inside and outside the business, but they change the balance towards heavier internal self promotion to help them fast track their success in the first 6 months, and lighter external self promotion to ensure people outside the organisation remember who they are.  There is nothing worse than being buried in everything new with no room to do much more than survive, only to emerge after your first 6 months and find out that people have forgotten you exist.  People are fickle, attention spans are short, and there is always someone hungrier. Stay visible people. Stay visible. 

  4. I don’t really need the credit or recognition - another really common excuse, particularly after someone has missed out on a payrise, promotion or recognition. Yes you do, because that's the currency of the organisation you work in. If you don't value yourself enough to claim credit, others won't either, and someone else may just take credit on your behalf. It’s a sign of healthy self respect to claim credit where credit is due. If you don’t respect yourself, others will also take you for granted. Once again, start practicing now.

  5. I have to do this on my own - peer promotion is a great addition to your self promotion toolkit. And it really works for women because it doesn’t trigger reactions about socialised stereotype biases. It's GREAT to have others on your side who can fly the flag for brand you, reinforce your opinion or even remind others how great you are. It’s far easier for me to say out loud that “Michelle is a Rockstar”. It’s far harder for me to say that about myself. So build out a team of peers or others who are also interested in career advancement but not competing with you. Then help them to help you by providing them with evidence of your results and examples of what you do. Ask for references on LinkedIn, ask for positive feedback about your leadership brand. Your peers or others may just help you achieve Rockstar status without you having to sweat it out.

  6. I've got great sponsors/mentors/champions so I'll be okay - I’ve written about this before and I can’t write about it enough because I see so many women who’ve hit a certain spot in their career, who have never had to self promote previously, and all of a sudden they don’t know how and it feels incredibly hard. Sponsors mentors and champions are great. Do what ever you can do ensure you have the backing of great sponsors, mentors and champions in addition to peers who support. But these people may resign, retire or are made redundant and then you are left hanging out to dry with no self promotion muscle, because you've never had to do it for yourself before.  You do need to develop your own skills (in addition to having great sponsors mentors and champions) so you can carve out your own career path. As leadership expert, Avril Henry wisely says

    "No-one is as interested in your career as you are. So do something about it!”

  7. We imagine it’s “all about me “ - in fact, the most subtly powerful self promotion is very rarely all about me. Remember the line from ABC’s Kath and Kim - "Look at moi, look at moi, look at moi"?   Unskillful self promoters, who we all try and avoid, make it all about them. Boring. And quite challenging. When we make it about the self, it’s far more likely you’ll become self conscious or worried you’ll appear self absorbed or self centred. Instead when you take the self out of self promotion and make it all about the problems you solve, the difference you make and the value you add, you'll do far better. Take it one step further and make sure that this is in service to others, and you'll be self promoting like a Rockstar within no time.

These excuses are really common. I should know. Because I say them to myself as well. And the best fix is to stay curious, keep learning and keep on self promoting until you get much better. Self promotion Rockstar status is not that far away!

Keep me posted. Let me know how you go. Drop me an email or a message via LinkedIn and share your best tactics

Need help? Curious - check out the events page for an intro session or book in for a 30 min intro call to learn more

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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

Have You Got the Courage to Step Into the Limelight?

Many of the executive women I work with are truly courageous as they start putting themselves out there to be judged, leading more fully, and doing so anyway without waiting to be invited.

The last 12 months has seen so many of my clients ditching their old "wallflower" brand to

  • become finalists or win awards

  • land board positions

  • tackle conference speaking gigs

  • get published in international publications

  • receive substantive increases in salary

  • win big, exciting new roles, and

  • feeling as though they are truly world class.

Kudos.

It takes confidence, courage and vision to lead more visibly. Delighted I can be part of their journey. From invisible to invincible and beyond!

What would it take to help you to step into the limelight and gain the recognition you truly deserve?

From Invisible to invincible - and beyond!

#visibility #selfpromotionmatters #womenofimpact

 
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

Develop a Possibility Mindset

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Mindset is such a critical part of self promotion and career advancement, that I include it as the first in my Seven Vital Components to Subtly Powerful Self Promotion keynote

If you think you can or you think you can’t, you will definitely be right.

Embracing a possibility mindset is the only way forward.

I challenge you to accept the POSSIBILITY that you'll be able to self promote effectively and powerfully without feeling like you are bragging, within the year.

There are four provisos:

  • Be prepared to make mistakes

  • Be prepared to feel uncomfortable (remember that's where the magic happens)

  • Be prepared to do the work

  • Be prepared to get out of your own way.

It's not just self promotion where a possibility mindset is helpful. Your entire career success may just depend upon it.

What tactics do you use to keep yourself self promoting strategically and powerfully?

#executivebranding #selfpromotionmatters #standoutcareer

Need help? Curious - check out the events page for an intro session near you or book in for a 30 min intro call to learn more

 
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

Self Promotion Blunders Executive Women Definitely Want to Avoid - national tour

Self Promotion Blunders we all Want to Avoid

If a girl pulls an all-nighter and there’s no one there to see it, does she get promoted?
— Helen Coster

I've made every self promotion blunder in the book and then some. In particular, back in the early 2000s when I'd come back from a stint as an expat and felt I had to make up for lost ground. No-one knew me or remembered the great work I had previously done and I needed to catch up, so I tooted my own hornblew my own trumpet and hustled with the best ..... and the worst of them. 

Then there are other times too, when I suspect that we convince ourselves we don't need to self promote at all, because if we miss out on an opportunity it simply wasn't meant to be.

I get it. It's tough for everyone - and especially tough for executive women.   

COMING OF AGE

Yet it's an absolute career game changer when done right and can make you wonder why they don't teach this in uni.

I had one senior level client just last week tell me she finally feels as though she has made it!   What's changed for her? She is self promoting skilfully, subtly and powerfully inside her current organisation. She feels as though she has come of age career-wise and will never look back.  

This is empowering stuff and I'd love for you to feel this way too. And you can.

So I'm running a series of events to talk about self promotion blunders we all make - from not doing any, through to going OTT. Then we'll talk about what you can do about it and you'll definitely come away with a plan to move forward with.


WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

If you're in the mid level of your career and you are feeling:

  • As though you've managed to get yourself pigeon holed

  • Frustrated and invisible as decision makers overlook you despite stellar work

  • Horrified as others take credit for your work or ideas 

  • Like you're about to be caught out if you don't do something different soon

  • Or maybe you're simply curious about working with me so want to see me in action.

If that's you, why not join me for an intro session? 

We'll examine the 7 self promotion blunders we all want to avoid - and what you can do about it.


Then let's get this self promotion party started! 

Places are limited to ensure everyone feels seen, heard and valued.  

Early registration recommended - check out the events page and book today.

#executiveimpact #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #womenofimpact

 

 
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

Celebrating strong, fierce, tough, talented and powerful women in sport who inspire us to greater heights

With International Women's Day 2019 just around the corner maybe it’s time to get revved back up again and focused on what we can do, rather than what we can’t.

So much we read about what women, women leading and feminine ambition is focused on what we can’t do and keeps us playing small.

Loved this inspiration from the #IWD2018 World Triathlon

(You can thank me later ☺️)

Three amazing and athletic women in my network who set the standard high!

  • Victoria Symes

  • Samantha Phillips and

  • Lisa Walton

I’m sure there are many others but these three were top of mind.

Who is a strong, fierce, tough, talented and powerful woman who inspires you?

#IWD2019 #womenofimpact #inspiringwomen

 
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

How to win with your professional photo shoot

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We all know that people make split second judgments (4 seconds or less).  With CVs and recruitment moving more and more to online platforms like LinkedIn, your photo is one of the things that really matters.  It's a door opener, a trust and credibility builder, and has the potential to add 10s of 1000s of $$ onto your earnings over the course of your career. 

You never get a second chance to make a first impression

The flip side is also true. A bad photo keeps you missing out time and time again, for opportunities that you never even got to hear about. And never will.  

There's an old saying "dress for the job you want, not the job you have". The same goes for your professional headshot.  Your photo should position you for the role of your dreams, and not be something you were lucky to cut out from the previous year's Xmas party snaps. 

My US Celebrity Photoshoot

Four years ago I had my first professional photoshoot done. I was in the USA attending a speaker training week with Michael Port and he had brought a celebrity speaker photographer onsite for us to take advantage of.  It was an eye opening experience to say the least!  David (photographer) was hilarious with his "yeah baby, work it" comments bouncing off the walls as we posed and draped uncomfortably (we had been warned). But the results were phenomenal and we all felt a million bucks! In fact, I'm still using the shots he took then, and would do it again in a heartbeat if I got the chance.

I know many of my clients still feel uncomfortable with this idea. That it's somehow big-noting yourself at worst and unnecessary at best.   So to help feel more comfortable and to make the most of your next photoshoot, here are my nine tips for executive women and busy experts with big, hairy, audacious career goals.

I love the person I’ve become, because I fought to become her
— Kaci Diane

 

Nine Nifty Notes for Preparing for a Successful Photoshoot!


1. Think “successful leader” and “future personal brand” in your industry as you prepare - the role you want, not the role you have.  If you're aiming for a leadership role in a mining company, wear a suit, not the fluro. If you're aiming for a leadership role in education, dress yourself appropriately again. Ask yourself "What do the leaders in my industry typically wear on a good day?"  

2. Bring a change of jacket (or have a top which you could wear with a jacket or without) so you an get advice (and perspective) about what works best. This also means you can have two different looks in your allotted time slot. Head and shoulders is all that's required for LinkedIn.

Amanda_Blesing_Professional_photo

3. Don't be afraid of wearing colour - avoid all black and charcoal gray is definitely out for most women.  Note my own photo has a black jacket but I have a white top underneath for a bit of a highlight. If I had my shoot again (and I will) I'll definitely be adding some colour or highlights. 

4. Show your throat - don't wear a high neckline or collar. According to research this signifies trust. I guess the exception to the rule here would be if you were interviewing for a ski resort where the turtle neck is ubiquitous with style.

5. Aim for a V neckline shape - so if you are wearing a round/square top, pop a structured jacket over the top. The current shape of the LinkedIn photo window doesn't flatter the round neckline much, plus the stereotypes around leadership lend themselves to a more V shaped neckline.

6. Blend the feminine with the masculine - a structured masculine business shirt is also not recommended for most women pitching into leadership - blend the masculine with the feminine (structure & flow/yin & yang).

7. Accessorise with your role (and stereotypes) in mind - a little jewellery is perfect but nothing too dominating. The focus is on you, your leadership cred and building connection.

8. KISS - Steer clear of too much patterning or clutter. It can be distracting. It's you we want to get to know.

9. Makeup is highly recommended - and dress your hair before you go. Although, obviously you can use the facilities onsite if you need.  Don't forget to ask the photographer to photoshop your pick of the images. Blemishes, spots, flyaway hair etc can all be managed for a price. If the celebrities do it, why can't you? 
 

Bonus tip #10  -  Be a poser - Angle yourself so your shoulders are on a diagonal, you are looking back at the camera and smiling. Smiling is great, likability is important. Don't be a afraid to try a range of poses. The pose that felt the most awkward  and uncomfortable for me, was the one I ended up liking the best.  It's not stupid. It's not egotistical. Everyone is a different shape and we all have different goals, so different poses suit different people.

My personal favourite is the arm folded/crossed. It works for me and has worked for a few of my clients.   

Check out Helen , Nuala and Kathryn in their before and after shots.  Phenomenal. (Well done to each of them!) 

Helen Mandziejewski pre photoshoot

Helen Mandziejewski pre photoshoot

Nuala Ward pre photoshoot

Nuala Ward pre photoshoot

Thanks to Helen Mandziejewski

Thanks to Helen Mandziejewski

Thanks to Nuala Ward for sharing

Thanks to Nuala Ward for sharing

Kathryn Vosper pre photoshoot

Kathryn Vosper pre photoshoot

Thanks to Kathryn Vosper for sharing

Thanks to Kathryn Vosper for sharing

 
Here are a couple of great examples for your to check out on LinkedIn.  
 

BEFORE YOU GO - Women of Impact go on tour!

We're heading back on Retreat to Palm Cove in 2019    Limited places as ensuring the right mix of people are in the room is important to the success of the event.

If you're interested in learning more about the program, drop us a note. Click on the button to register your interest and we'll send you the pricing and details.

  • Super Early Bird rates to 14 February

  • Early Bird Pricing to 30 June 2019.

  • Email to learn more

 

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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

Perfectionism is a curse - especially when it comes to taking the stage

My first ever speaking gig absolutely bombed.

I was nervous

Amanda Blesing - speaking at Melbourne networking event #WomenOfImpact

Amanda Blesing - speaking at Melbourne networking event #WomenOfImpact

My new business depended on me being good

Plus I had hugely unrealistic standards & expectations.

After all, I had booked and briefed more speakers than most people have had hot dinners!

I felt like I needed to be better than best.

Spring forward 4 years and I’m speaking like a champion - more confident, more relaxed - and with much better results.

Perfectionism is a curse.

While we imagine it drives better performance, it can have the opposite effect.

It gets in the way of us tackling stretch opportunities.

And the stress can undermine your performance anyway

So what happened?

I learned to take it easier on myself - have some compassion and respect for both myself and my audience

I also learned that we don’t have to feel like we’re proving ourselves all the time

Life’s a journey not a destination

And it takes time to create a diamond.

9 times out of 10, you’ll get a better result when you let go of perfect.

So next time you put yourself out there into a stretch situation

Remember ....

No more ABBA “take a chance on me”

And far more of Kylie “[you] should be so lucky”!!

 

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

The Secret to Shameless Self Promotion without Losing Likability

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This week I've been absolutely shameless in my self promotion as I raise funds for the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, and it got me wondering why. Why was it easy, when I normally struggle?

So what did shameless self promotion look like for me? 

  • Reaching out to people I hadn't spoken with in 6 years and asking them for money (shameless)
  • Hitting up random LinkedIn connections who barely know me from a bar of soap (gasp!)
  • Relentless deployment of all my persuasive influencing skills (humble brag)
  • Sending hurry up reminder notes to people (hustle)
  • I even posted a video of myself (sans makeup) on LinkedIn in my efforts to drive awareness of the fact that women are retiring under the poverty line despite working hard most of their lives!!  (I mean, can you believe it? No make up! How will I survive??) And yes women are the silent and invisible majority when it comes to homelessness. This is a serious socieital issue.

And despite all this 

  • I wasn't embarrassed
  • I spent hours on it on the weekend
  • I gave up two days of my own working week
  • I dealt with rejection far more easily and
  • I didn't falter like I usually do when it comes to spruiking brand me.

Why? Because I was self promoting but for a cause, a purpose, a bigger mission.  And therein lies the secret.

Research tells us:

  • When women advocate, negotiate and promote on behalf of others, we are great at it
  • The socialised helper archetype for women is incredibly strong
  • Women are also socialised from a young age to be modest or humble
  • As a society we look more favourably on female leaders who nurture/support others. If you attended the recent Clinton/Gillard evening in Australia you may remember the reference
  • We are more likely to advocate or promote when it's linked to a deeper sense of why.

In a nutshell, just like negotiating, we know how to do it, but hesitate because we are nervous of the social penalty or backlash when/if we get it wrong.  The Catch 22 is that the less you do it the less confident you are in the future.

Yet, if there is a deeper sense of why, a sense of purpose, or a mechanism that helps you "escape the discomfort of defying the modesty norm" you are not only far more likely to self promote, but achieve better outcomes as well. 

(Women’s Bragging Rights: Overcoming Modesty Norms to Facilitate Women’s Self-Promotion ~ Jessi L. Smith & Meghan Huntoon, 2014)

And it's not just women. There are some cultures where humility and modesty are deeply ingrained. So this insight is important to anyone who struggles with self promotion.

There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.
— Michelle Obama

Getting out of your own way and ditching the modesty norm

I'm raising money to help break the cycle of homelessness. How does me raising money for Vinnies help you to self promote in your career?  

If you can dig deep and find your connection to a deeper sense of why, a sense of purpose, a mission, values, a theme that drives your career, or simply find a mechanism that helps you ignore your socialised modesty norm, you will find it far easier to self promote, plus you'll even perform better in your role as well.

Final shameless plug - donate here

And on that note, if you would like to make a taxable donation before the EOFY or maybe you just want to hear about my suffering on the cold concrete, or perhaps, most likely, you'd like to do your bit to help those less fortunate - here's the link again for the Vinnies CEO Sleepout. 

All donations welcome because we're in it together.

#MakeABiggerDifference #FeminineAmbitionRocks #WomenOfImpact #Collaboration

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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