In the Know Thyself blog we looked at how important it is to…well…know yourself. I also touched on a subject I think is worth looking into a little deeper: Shameless self-promotion. But first, how did we get to the point where self-promotion is not only okay, but something you need to be doing?
In the old career ladder paradigm each time you ascended to a new rung, you were fairly secure there. You enjoyed job stability, and were entitled to the position you’d attained. After all, you worked your way there; you earned it. Well, the ladder has been turned sideways. Luckily, what’s replaced that old paradigm is far more interesting.
The paradigm has shifted away from entitlement and towards taking personal responsibility for your career, for marketing yourself, and ultimately for your success. This is a chance to promote yourself and to define your own career Vision. It’s an opportunity to position yourself based on your goals, strengths, and passions.
As with marketing any product, you must first understand your Vision.
Ask yourself: What is your ideal scenario for work? This is your Vision for yourself. Write down that scenario, commit it to paper. It has often been said – and our own coaching experiences show this to be true – that people who write down their goals are more successful than those who do not. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you know your Vision.
A Reason to Believe: So now you have this Vision that you quite like. But what strengths, skills, and experiences make you confident you can achieve this Vision? The answer to this question is your Proof. Every great product needs proof to sell. It may be that you notice a gap between your Vision and the Proof. This gap defines your Career Development Action Plan and tells you what you need to work on.
The Next Critical Step: Talk to people about your Vision. If you aren’t telling people your Vision, you aren’t actually marketing yourself. A Vision is just a hallucination if no one else sees it. I’m unsure who to attribute it to, but it’s so true. Today you need to tell someone your career goal – let them share in your vision and contribute to it. Better yet, tell five people.
The Perception of Product You: What people think of you will impact your progress. Marketers know you have to understand the perception of the product before you can properly sell it. If you have the Vision and the Proof but your marketing doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, you need to discover how people perceive you. This is powerful and critical information. Do a 360-degree feedback (feedback that comes from your immediate work circle) to understand what others think. Once you have this knowledge you can either create a marketing plan to correct any misperceptions, or create new perceptions that will help move you closer to your goal.
For most people asking for feedback and talking about what you want can be pretty uncomfortable. Know this: When you’re uncomfortable, you are growing. Take the marketing plunge and think about Product You. Embrace the new paradigm of personal freedom and market yourself!