23 Sep Creating “I Am”
When you know yourself, your business, and your “brand”, you are naturally more open to conversing with other professionals or executives, and you will exude confidence.
But knowing yourself comes first. Brainstorming a bullet point list of your defining traits (an “I am” list), personal and professional, can be very soul-searching, reflective, and worthwhile. And while you may not easily share your personal values and qualities in your first few networking meetings, eventually you will be more self-aware and able to play to your strengths in professional encounters. You also can show your traits list to friends, family members, and contacts to see how others see you and how you see yourself.
Find What You Value
Do you want to merely “get through” your work day, or do you want to continue to earn the respect of those you encounter — employees, bosses, co-workers, clients, prospects, and referral sources — by your work ethic? Do you value being right, or do you value getting things done quickly and efficiently?
Your attitude about delivering quality and value to everyone should not be understated. Put some consideration into how your professional image is shaped by the things you value most and what traits you would like to build on or minimize. Making yourself someone worth connecting with, a Center of Influence, goes beyond the work you do; developing your values and passions is crucial to finding your direction.
Know Your Roles
You likely have many roles in your life aside from being an employee or employer. Your roles as a parent, a child, a sibling, an animal lover, etc., influence the work you do and the kind of person you aim to be.
Your roles are something you can reflect upon to explain your working style and traits, and they are also something that may connect you with others. For example, working single parents are known to have many professional struggles in common, such as orchestrating childcare, navigating multiple schedules, and striking a work-life balance.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Of course it’s important to know your strengths in order to sell yourself. But it’s equally, if not more, important to know your weaknesses. What traits do you find often put you in difficult situations? Are there ways you can improve on these, or find ways to mitigate these potential weaknesses?
For example, you may be an excellent worker under others’ deadlines, but procrastinate when you do not set your own goals or timelines. Being self-aware may allow you to act with intention with coworkers and clients.
Creating your own “I am” is a good first step to really understanding yourself and being able to share parts of yourself with others. Only when you know who you are and how to really articulate it to others can you get out of yourself and reach out to build allied relationships
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