Global Tech Women webinar "Take Charge of Your Career Trajectory" (see also my previous post). Jo was discussing a common problem for ambitious successful women - do this, do that, say yes indiscriminately to all projects and tasks that come your way. On the one hand it can be exciting to take on all these different opportunities. Never a dull moment. On the other hand, everyone has a brand and what does it say about your brand if you appear to others to be always willing and available to do anything that needs doing? You need to be strategic about what you take on.
Everyone has a brand. It is good to be reminded of this every once in a while. Often your brand is placed upon you rather than created by your own design. Stop and think - what is my brand? Whether you realize it or not, other people view you as ___________. Perhaps the least helpful situation is when you don't consciously position yourself as owning some area - this was Jo's message.
Once you start to think about your brand, you need to actively work on building it. This is how you will evolve your career and move upwards. You can define "upwards" however you like - traditionally or unconventionally. But if you just leave your self-brand to chance or are kind of wishy-washy about it, you miss out on the really awesome opportunities to go where you want to go professionally.
Perhaps the worst thing is to try to be something you are not. I know I have done this in the past and I'm sure many of you have as well. There are pressures from all quarters to make decisions that may mean squishing your multi-faceted self into a square box. Imagine taking a grapefruit (one of my favorite fruits) and shoving it whole into a small glass jar. You may get it in there and the lid may go on (screw it down tight) but it is going to be bruised and pulpy. Do you really want to be that grapefruit?
Jo wasn't talking about beating up on innocent grapefruit; that is what I thought of as I listened to her discuss the importance of Building a Scalable Brand based upon what is authentic about yourself. What is really you?
It was also enlightening to hear Jo talk about what works and what you need to do depending upon whether you are early career, mid-level, or senior level. It occurred to me that "early" "mid" and "senior" are not always obvious. It certainly isn't job title or size of paycheck that definitively decides. You can have a spiffy job title and a fat paycheck and be viewed as rather so-so in the hierarchy and dead-ending.
Do you know how others view where you are in your career trajectory?
SO much terrific information about being an emerging leader. I'm so glad I have my notes. You can make your own notes. If you haven't already done so you can view the video of Jo's presentation here.
While you do that I am going to go be nice to some citrus.