What people think about you IS your business
Those Who Know Us Best
I attended my first (virtual or in person) speed networking event this week, courtesy of Fly Female Founders, and it was so much fun! We rotated in segments of 3-4 minutes and I met 18 amazing women entrepreneurs. Things like that always exhilarate me (with a side of exhaustion)! One of the things I loved about it, was rather than the usual "what do you do?" talk, we were given icebreaker prompts to open the conversation in another way. One of those questions was, "What would your best friends say about you?"
What People Say About Me is None of My Business
Maybe you've seen this quote before. And normally I'd say I wholeheartedly agree. We can't get caught up in what others think about us, we just have to be authentic to ourselves and do what we think is right. However... What people close to us think about us can not only be important, it can help shape our Personality Brand. One of the things I ask my clients to do is exactly this — go ask friends, family, colleagues and co-workers to describe you. What words do they use? Is there a common thread or something that pops up repeatedly? There's a big reason for this exercise. Often, we don't know how we're perceived, but moreover, we don't know what makes us special that other people see.
You Are Your Worst Critic
We're all so hard on ourselves. And while we might think we know what we're good at, often we focus on the wrong side of the coin. Let's go back to the icebreaker question. When I asked it of the woman I matched with, she said her friends would probably say she's Fierce and Forceful. How amazing is that? And yet, I guarantee if I asked her to describe herself, neither of those words would be used. Now, one could argue that calling yourself forceful might not be the most positive descriptor, but a force to be reckoned with just might be. A client might love to know that you aren't afraid to stand up to them, or help them negotiate with vendors, or will hold them accountable to deadlines. It's all about taking those qualities and seeing how they might answer your client's pain points.
I know this concept works and I've been teaching it in my workshops. People have found ways to incorporate distinct phrases like "professional weirdo", "a quiet voice of reason", "allows space to share", "magnet for creativity" and "glowing version of myself." The richness of descriptions that have meaning and create real distinction from others is how we truly define ourselves and moreover, how we create connections with our audience. So I challenge you. Go ask people in your life to describe you and then let me know what they say. More importantly, see how you can incorporate your own uniqueness in your message. And as always, if you need help weaving your story...