In the beginning of your career, you have to sort of go overboard on the self-promotion.
Sticking yourself out there to the 100th power, if you will.
But I’ve realized that over time, as your success legitimizes and your reputation achieves a sense of wholeness, you don’t have to really do or say as much anymore.
You care less and worry less.
You’re beyond needing to impress people.
You learn to let go of the need for approval.
You no longer seek permission to be yourself.
You’re comfortable in your own beautiful skin, even if it’s hairy, pale, and, in some areas, a little ashy.
This process only happens with personal and professional maturity.
BUT HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS: As you become more congruent and self-actualized, you move away from doing and saying … and move closer to BEING.
My mistakes, mentors and experiences have taught me the following four practices for making a name for yourself in the most authentic way possible:
1. Try NOT making an impression. When you google the phrase, “First impression, “ 11,900,000 hits come up. Clearly, there’s no argument against the value of first impressions – in business or in life.
The challenge is preventing yourself from focusing TOO much on “making an impression.” Because when you do, it usually leaves you flustered. You’re too busy concentrating on outcomes, not activity. Too busy worrying about making an impression that you forget the name of the person you just met. Product, not process.
Ultimately, when you work the hardest to make an impression, you leave the least impact on the people you encounter.
REMEMBER: When you stop trying to impress people, you become the most impressive.
2. Don’t advertise your importance. There’s a difference between being successful and being really good at looking like your successful. There’s a difference between being important and being really good at projecting an image of inflated importance.
Unfortunately, some people don’t know the difference.
This brings to mind another passage from The Tao: “When you over extend your effort, you accomplish the least.”
If you have to tell people you are, you probably aren’t.
If you have to tell people you aren’t, you probably are.
And as Max Lucado says in his best book, “In a desire to be great, you might cease being any good.”
REMEMBER: When you try the least, you do the best.
3. Don’t be too anxious to prove your value. Wait for the right time. The Tao also suggests, “When you argue the loudest, you appear the wrongest. But, when you have nothing to prove, people can trust your words. And because you do not display yourself, people can see your light.”
I learned this the hard way, after nearly three decades of being a terrible listener. Fortunately, I learned that your hand doesn’t always have to shoot up first.
REMEMBER: People will discover your greatness soon enough. Patience.
4. Stop justifying. Your fee. Your value. Your beliefs. Your choices. Your existence. Your expertise. Your behaviors. Your knowledge. Your motivations.
He who talks next loses. So, whatever it is you’re talking about it, state it confidently and then shut up. Don’t feel the need to justify, qualify or prove yourself to anybody.
No buts. No becauses. No only-ifs.
REMEMBER: YOU believe it. That’s what matters.
– – –
Making a name for yourself, being approachable, sticking yourself out there, being That Guy … all of these processes CAN be carried without trying so hard.
Without making so much noise.
Without compromising yourself.
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What have you recently discovered you’ve been doing wrong for years?
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