Onwards, upwards and practical
Better is normal
I am fortunate to meet with people who wish to better themselves. They tend to be –
- Already at a time of reflection and making the most of time for some intellectual respite.
- Recognising that they have hit a major crossroads – and need help to make sense of ‘why’ before the ‘what’ and ‘how’.
- They are learning to negotiate difficult situations daily – almost invariably in a male-dominated environment.
These are three recurring themes – and no pigeonholing, I promise!
Is this familiar?
Remember that this could be you or me: the young mum returning to work after having her baby, the high-flyer hitting the ceiling, that person in your team with new responsibilities or even one of your Directors – SHE can be any one of us.
So, feel free to add to these (or, even better, do it here for convenience):
- ‘My natural strengths are X, so why have I been doing Y all this time?
- ‘My former boss is now working for me, and he is a man: advice, please.
- ‘I need to stay away from the madding crowd of ‘business as usual.
For the lucky ones, the energy comes from being in the same room for a few hours, perhaps for days and for those lucky enough to take time out, for up to two years! Then, they form their own ‘village’ to figure out an exit and identify a strategy for a new beginning. They epitomise the maxim that ‘there is no such thing as self-development without self-awareness’.
Most interesting conversations happen with those who land in these rooms because they have been recommended by a senior who sees in them more potential than they see for themselves. They are the luckiest people – and the most rewarding to work with!
That is until it comes to the tireless ‘fun’ of re-crafting a personal elevator pitch. If you have been through this, you’ll know that it’s worth every second you spend on it, even if, at times, it can be uncomfortable and may even seem a waste of time.
Who ever said it’s easy to talk about yourself?
Here is the point: if you are stuck with some fancy words you heard or saw written somewhere but can’t articulate on the spot (yes, imagine yourself in that elevator), you haven’t entirely made them yours. Of course, you may be in love with (or, perhaps, proud of) your CV, but you are not emotionally connected to those words. It’s such a pity: you thought they were the right ones for you, but they just wouldn’t come out right when you were in that elevator!
Up and down means learning.
Here, we strive to keep things simple and in our image work, we challenge and guide our customers to express their image aspirations in up to three words. Then, they go from there – testing, consulting, revisiting, and reiterating – just like an elevator (please forgive the Americanism), going up and down.
We encourage using verbs in the present (continuous) tense so that your behaviour, communication, and appearance synchronously show that you mean it. You do not need to have results of heroic proportions (and each worthy of the top line in your CV), but to show that you are working with intent at both your image and leadership style.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and while your character has always been with you, your roles and job(s) have arrived later in your evolutionary story. The good news is that aligning your image aspirations with your realistic goals is a skill that can be learned. It takes commitment; even if you think nothing is new, you can still learn about yourself!
And if you have arrived in that room to learn how to figure out your leadership style, pause for a moment and remind yourself that leadership is not only about what you do at work but also about your personal life (style) as well – all in one. So that is where you (should) lead first of all.
Practically thinking and acting are critical.
When people ask me what I do, rather than promise to ‘ignite’ and ‘elevate’ everybody everywhere, I prefer to stay with what I have become good at and challenge women to think differently about themselves. So I listen, train, share stories and give them a ‘finishing’ hand if they are committed to putting in some effort for themselves, all while encouraging them not to fall into the trap of their CVs – but to use who they are to be effective, growing agelessly, and being content.
It is all about using their inner and outer image in tandem – the same way we do when choosing words to match our behaviours – and the other way around.
Where are you on this journey? Thinking and acting in tandem – or not just yet? So, what are you going to do? Press the button and go down – and start again . . . to toil with it a few more times?
Why not try this: press the button to go to the top – simply because you can see better from there. No brilliant CV would help you with the clarity of knowing when you have arrived.
But to get to your top, you need to take the stairs a few times! And if you wish to get there faster, even two steps at a time, we can help.
Visit our Image Ability store and learn more about how we can help.