It is probably one of the most common admissions I hear as a career empowerment coach and used to hear as executive recruiter. This very common challenge, even for highly skilled and experienced high achieving professionals at their peak! I often hear “I am so much better at selling something, an idea, a product or helping someone else sell themselves, just not myself.” So how can this be? How is it, that so many of us struggle to articulate our value, our experience and what we represent? Why do we so often freeze when the spotlight is put upon us?
Is it a confidence thing? If so, why? Why can it make us feel unsure or uncertain? Is it because we can’t hide behind a brand, product, idea or something that we may feel no tangible or emotional connection to, therefore any negativity or criticism doesn’t affect us personally or directly? Does attempting to ‘sell our own qualities’ actually tap into our own insecurities in a way that these become highlighted first in our minds, obscuring our thoughts about our abilities, qualities and potential? Is it that we are simply out of practice because in today’s world our focus is predominantly channelled elsewhere and not necessarily on our own selves.
During a coaching seminar a few years ago now, I was tasked with standing in front of someone at the seminar, holding eye contact and describing 3 things I appreciated about myself and why. After some time of stuttering and feeling awkward, I managed to form a few sentences, however, I was struck by how uncomfortable it had made me feel and at how unable I was to list just 3 personal things I admired about myself!
Self-evaluation, preparation, time and practice are essential ingredients to increasing self-confidence and the ability to ‘sell yourself’ effectively.
When was the last time you stopped and took time out to ‘self-evaluate?’ I mean really self-evaluate and focus on your abilities, your accomplishments (however big or small) and the things you really appreciate about yourself? As a general overview, start by asking yourself the following:
What key things are important to me in my work/career? What/Who inspires me? What makes me stand out? What motivates and drives me? What key things do my work colleagues and close friends admire about me? What have I accomplished that I am proud of? How did I accomplish these things? What are my ‘personal’ brand standards, my principals? What are my key values? When have I made a positive impact on someone or a situation? What do I stand for? What do I admire about myself? What do I consider to be my qualities?
Become your own personal ‘Brand Ambassador’ The actual process of ‘self-evaluation’ is an empowering one, if you are willing to invest time in you. Trust me, we all have answers to the above, take time to identify yours. It creates what I call ‘personal product knowledge’ which in turn, helps to break down insecurities and build a more prepared, confident and powerful ‘you’.
Louisa O’Donnell, Career Empowerment Coach & NLP Practitioner