Today I want to talk about how you (and your confidence!) are your own best assets.
My aim is that you’ll go away from this inspired to take action and tell your own story with confidence.
Personal branding is a subject I’m really passionate about. Ive worked with many wonderful people over the years to bring out the best in them. This means telling their story to the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re self-employed, work in a big corporate organisation or are an entrepreneur, you can have a voice and a strong personal brand.
As Tim Ferriss says:
“Personal branding is about managing your name—even if you don’t own a business—in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are that your ‘blind’ date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview? Ditto.”
Some stats about personal branding:
- Ninety-two percent of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands.
- 82% of customers trust a company when their senior management members are active on social media.
Gone are days of hiding in the background
At the end of the day, as things shift and change (especially in a global pandemic), the only person you can confidently rely on, is yourself. It is time to own your own story. To do this, it very much relies on confidence, courage and as Brene Brown would say, vulnerability. So here, I’m going to be totally honest and tell you a story I’ve always kept to myself.
I couldn’t ask or expect my clients to tell their stories, feel confident on social media or speak their truth on camera, without trying to do this myself.
But ten years ago, I was the least confident person you could imagine. I was crippled with anxiety and the thought of giving a speech, even to ten people, would keep me up at night for weeks beforehand. I would go over and over and over it in my head and have full on nightmares to the point of total panic.
The crunch point was when I was asked at the last minute to present to the board of directors and I thought I might have a heart attack.
I had managed to get by over the years through careful planning of presentations, medication in some instances and wearing black polo neck jumpers to hide the inevitable stress-induced red rash…so a last minute presentation was my idea of hell.
At this point, this life of anxiety was exhausting me. I thought to myself, either I get a job where I don’t have to do this, or I have to sort this out.
I found myself a life coach, unlocking years of repressed bullying and finally found myself slowly coming back to life.
There’s more. I started to push myself bit by bit over the next ten years. First I went freelance, then I started a business, then I realised how to say no (still working on that) but i was still fearful of REALLY putting myself out there.
Then one day on Instagram I did a challenge to put yourself out there on Instagram stories – which are the short form videos which disappear after 24 hours. Easy right? I agonised about putting my face on camera. Then filmed it at least 20 times and sent it to a friend to check. I turned it black and white to hide my face. I wore my trusty black polo neck. Then added text to hide my body.
But I did it. It was the first step. And you know what? I got great feedback! People were so happy to see me, and hear my voice and were surprised I was Northern! What a relief.
Keep pushing yourself to find confidence
But there’s even more because first steps are important, but the next steps are more important. Keeping it up means everyday you push further and further out of your comfort zone. And I can tell you confidence builds and builds, it is a neat trick. Even this talk is another step outside of my comfort zone.
And before you know it, you’re enjoying it. And you catch that wave of excitement.
I now help entrepreneurs with their personal brand for a living, I’ve created a free downloadable guide to help others, I share a newsletter and post on social media most days to educate and inspire others to do the same. This would have been completely unthinkable to me ten years ago. But bit by bit I’ve become the person I was supposed to be.
Wherever you are in your journey, believe me, you won’t believe how far you’ve come in a year, in two, in three. You can be yourself and be free to speak your truth. By being out there, we do a service to all women and girls, to show them that they are allowed a voice.
Take the first step
My action for you today is, take a step. Whether you share a takeaway from this hour long talk, whether you comment on a topic that matters to you, or whether you start work on your own website, be brave. I know how you feel because I’ve been at zero confidence (and pretending to have some) to the person I am today. And I still have a long way to go.
So my advice to you is, please don’t wait, start now on building your confidence. A beautiful life awaits. Thank you for listening to me and have a wonderful International Women’s Day.
As Karen Lamb says: ‘A year from now you may wish you had started today.’