When I speak to corporate groups, it is always a mixed crowd as far as experience and even pay scale. But once in the room, it is a level playing field as we are all there for more than my humor and wit (although stand-up comedy is something I do as I sleep!) As we settle in, I tell my audience to look around the room and realize that there is not a woman in the room who doesn’t feel her skills could be better, that is why we are here.
Where do I begin is the most common question asked by professionals looking to improve their brand and advance their career. And sometimes it is just a matter of getting your ‘ask’ in gear.
But trying to get women to use their voice oftentimes goes against the core of their upbringing and it is something they have to be taught or empowered to do. Obviously, times are changing!
All of you have talent, passion and fabulousness within, but often it’s one of your best-kept secrets because you fear that by asking for help, advice or counseling, you are exposing a tiny crack in your resume. I want to encourage you to look around, there is not a person in your inner circle who doesn’t think their skills could be better. Skills being defined as – the ability coming from one’s knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc.,to do something well. If you have skills that need tweaking, I want to encourage you in both your personal life and your professional career, to be sure to ask for help, seek out advice, look for a mentor and, just as important, look for someone who may need mentoring but seems afraid to ask.
How often have you heard someone say, how does she do it, how does she put herself together so well, how does she exude such confidence? Perhaps this is a skill that could be fine-tuned.
One of my favorite quotes is from Arthur Ashe, one of the best tennis players in history.
The key to success is self-confidence and the key to self-confidence is preparation.
As an image consultant, I often find myself in a room filled with smart, talented, motivated professionals. I recently brought a client to a breakfast where Arianna Huffington was the keynote speaker. Once seated I asked my client to take note of the next 8 women to enter the room and tell me which ones entered looking confident and which ones entered looking uneasy.
She was spot-on with the same observations that I had. The confident women had dressed for the occasion, were well tailored and well appointed, they looked good, so they felt good and they entered the room with a positive attitude. The less confident women had for whatever reason put something together that morning that they thought would pass. They no doubt struggled from the minute they opened their closet doors and as a result, they entered the room uneasy, with eyes down, shoulders lowered and they looked around for a seat where they could just blend in.
If you’re a professional, every second counts, from the interview to the daily job, the networking, the meetings, the potential for advancement. Research indicates that people are more likely to hire, promote or do business with us if we present as polished and well put together.
Working on your image in 2018? Try modeling yourself after someone you admire or respect. I was touched by a video I watched yesterday by Kellie Frederickson – My Year of Whittling. She encourages you to think about someone you admire and then define what it is about them that you admire and write down their traits. Take the time to watch this video and then create your ‘I am’ list. Then peruse your wardrobe, assess your daily visual message (to yourself and others) and take action to make some changes, even just mini tweaks to make you personally feel better about yourself, to personally up your level of self-confidence.
Let’s prepare for the photo opp every day. Don’t assume people are not noticing. They are, whether it is at the office or the conference or even Whole Foods. People notice how you package yourself and make judgements about who you are initially just off of that first impression. Who doesn’t want to feel confident and well dressed? And we are not talking about glamming it up just to secure a jug of milk. We are talking about looking in the mirror on the way out and saying – I look and feel damn good today, onward and upward!
Need help opening the door to self-confidence? Start here: Confidence Is Always In Style