self promotion

I used to be a wallflower .... what about you?

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I used to be a wallflower.

Always shy and retiring, never saying boo to a goose or putting a foot out of place.

I was worried I’d be wrong, that people wouldn’t like me and that I’d get found out.

This left me constantly waiting - watching from the sidelines while other people’s careers overtook mine at what appeared to be warp speed! 

Then something happened. I worked with a coach and worked out I needed to eliminate the following:

  • the need to do everything

  • the need to be liked

  • the need to be perfect

  • the need to know everything

  • the need be right, and

  • the need be in control

When I let go of neediness, articulating my perspective, sharing my ideas or self-promoting became far easier.

I know I’m not alone. 
Every day I speak with busy executives who share a similar story and are nervous of standing out.

"What if deep down I'm actually not good enough?"
"What of someone calls me out?"

But when you are blending into the background, your pathway to leadership is always going to be a tough gig. A the longer you play second fiddle,  the bigger your fears will become.

Remember - you cannot sell a secret.  And it's important you are seen, heard and valued.

So let go of the above needs, then spend time to work out

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
— Dr Seuss
  1. What are you interested in? Find your passion

  2. Why are you doing this? Find your purpose

  3. Where will you get best ROI? Find a platform or medium that works for you

Then self promotion becomes a doddle.

And you'll be replacing wallflower with world class in a jiffy!


Your thoughts? What stops you self promoting?  Drop me a note. I'm always keen to hear your perspective. 

PS you might have noticed I've had a photoshoot done. This one features "the bees knees" and other fun ways of reminding yourself that you're actually doing okay. Looking forward to sharing more with you in coming months.

#selfpromotionmatters #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #womenofimpact


Share if you dare, to inspire another woman somewhere!

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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

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

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

Self Promotion Sucks – but it doesn’t have to

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Self promotion sucks – especially for executive women

We’ve been socialised

No one becomes an industry leader overnight. Start with one self-promotion strategy at a time. You’ll be surprised at how things blossom from the smallest effort in the right direction.
— Michaela Chung
  • not to big note ourselves, yet owning and sharing your expertise is a key to a successful career

  • that if we do stand out, it’s should be for looking good, gracious or glamorous and never raise a sweat, yet the key to kicking BHAGs is to put yourself out there.

The social penalty for women who self promote and get it wrong, can be debilitating.

We’re all attuned to it because we’ve been hearing criticisms and advice about standing out or fitting in for most of our lives.

I run my own business

I have to self promote daily in order to stay successful.

I struggle as much as the next person, especially when I’m tired or feeling vulnerable.

And the biggest lesson I’ve learned in this journey?

Take the self out of self promotion

Instead focus on your why, a sense of purpose or a cause.

Not only will you find it far easier, but you won’t be criticised as much either.

And for the thousands who put themselves out there every day in the face of possible criticism or rejection?

I respect you.

We’re setting the scene for generations who come after to tackle things differently.

#selfpromotionmatters #leadership #executivebranding

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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

Why Executive Women need to learn to speak to their own results, despite feeling icky!

The No. 1 #mistake in #selfpromotion is not what you might imagine

It’s not sounding arrogant - although given the 714,000 Google search results on the topic that’s a big concern.

It’s that we imagine that our results should speak for themselves.

Yet we live in a world that’s increasingly busy, where distraction is everywhere and people are the protagonist in their own movie - so others won’t always naturally see or remember your results unless you remind them.

And because we believe that results should speak for themselves, we then think there is something wrong with us and our achievements when no-one notices, or even remembers.

It’s a bit like getting upset when no-one remembers your birthday - but you didn’t even tell anyone when it was.

And that’s ridiculous.

The best bit? When we use real examples with real stories and real impact and outcomes, that helps you avoid sounding arrogant anyway, plus helps align others with your vision.

#executivewomen #womenofimpact #personalbranding

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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

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

What are you up to in May? Executive Branding & Executive Impact intro sessions

Self promotion can be tough for executive women. We're damned if we do, yet doomed if we don't. Research tells us that most of us aren't especially comfortable with it, and even when we get it right there's likely to be someone in the wings ready to cut us down to size - too loud, too quiet, too nice, too assertive, too lucky, tries too hard, too ambitious, not ambitious enough, too ....everything.

"Who does she think she is?" 

(Argh!)

Unfortunately, the social penalty for getting it wrong is even worse and can make you wonder if it's worth doing at all which then leads to a lack of confidence and hesitation about tactics that really work.

All is not lost.  Self promotion tactics and Executive Branding are all under the microscope during the month of May. And if you're at all curious about working with me these events are a must.

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BY INVITATION ONLY - limited to 12 places - and you're invited.

  • Sydney - 2 May 2018 from 5.15pm (FULLY BOOKED)
  • Melbourne - 11 May 2018 Morning tea from 10am (FULLY BOOKED)
  • Adelaide - 17 May 2018 from 5.15pm
  • Brisbane - 23 May 2018 Morning tea from 10am
  • WEBINAR - 30 May 2018 from 12.30pm

Book in via the links.

Yes these events sell out fast.  

So email to be put on a wait list for future events and keep your eye on the events page on my website.

Presence, Positioning & Personal Brand - take charge of the narrative before it takes charge of you!



 
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

3 Common Self Promotion Misconceptions to Nip in the Bud Sooner Rather than Later

Self promotion is right up there with networking - and most people would rather go to the dentist and have root canal surgery than do either. We somehow align both with the shifty used car sales tactics of yesteryear.

But unless you've been hidden in a mine shaft (and some of my clients literally are), or perhaps been in the fortunate position of never having to self promote because someone was doing it for you, then you will have read the headlines that doing good work is not enough. And never has self promotion been more important.
 

Branding is a powerful tool to help you self promote more skilfully

So how does self promotion help and/or hinder?
 

Self promotion is a particularly murky area for women as we run the risk of being penalised by both men and women when we get it wrong.  Bias, stereotypes, perception and other shady areas of grey all get muddled up when we over do it - so we tend to avoid.  

For men it's a little easier in terms of stereotyped assumptions.  However for those with deep subject matter expertise you still need to get out of the way of your expertise and learn to self advocate, self promote and articulate your expertise and experience in language the organisation understands and values.

Both women and men need to confidently articulate how their expertise/experience/results becomes a value add to an organisation in different ways to suit different audiences, over and over again, without sounding like a broken record. Easier said than done, but don't let that stop you.

Plus, it's not just great for you.  It will also ensure your business unit or division is seen and valued as well.


So what are those misconceptions? 

Misconception #1 - Build it and they will come

Remember the famous 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. 

Misconception #2 - Results should speak for themselves  

In fact, results rarely speak for themselves and we have to speak to them. We're all time and attention poor. Plus work is not school so your individual great results won't be necessarily be tracked and celebrated unless you take the lead. 

  • Mistake 1 - assuming others are as invested in your own results and career as you are

  • Mistake 2 - assuming others are great at interpreting your results

  • Mistake 3 - assuming you don't need to do this


Misconception #3 - I've got great champions so I'll be okay
This is frequently one of the most common stories I hear from senior level clients. Up til now they've had great champions and sponsors, who smoothed their way. The downside is that they haven't learned to do this for themselves. So if/when their champion disappears (resigns, is made redundant or retires), the individual finds themselves exposed without having developed their own skills or confidence in self promotion.


In Summary


Developing competence and confidence around backing yourself, selling yourself and/or ideas, and expressing your expertise in language the business understands and values, should be part and parcel of your professional development.  As with any new skill, it takes practice, so don't wait too late to start. 

And if you are a woman learning to self promote, yes it is a murkier area.  But you still need to do it if you are going to ensure you not only win the next raise or promotion more easily, but your voice is heard within the business, and you get to make a bigger difference far more easily. 

Remember - smart and savvy truly is the name of this game! 



Vive la révolution!  #ambitionrevolution

#feminineambitionrocks #executivebrand #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes

Get in touch if you need a help with unpacking and selling your leadership or expert brand more skilfully

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