A professional dilemma?
Let me invite you into an experiment.
Find a calm space where you will not be disturbed.
Take two to three deep breaths. Each breath is an invitation into the present.
Focus on the question you need answering. Be specific.
Consciously ask yourself:
“What does my heart say?”
Then simply be curious about anything that comes up.
Notice any sensations, images, feelings, whispers.
Anything at all. Stay with this for a few moments.
Take two or three deep breaths. And invite yourself to
feel a sense of gratitude.
Pay attention to anything else that comes up for you
during the day.
What came up for you?
Did asking your heart make a difference?
“I just asked,” she told me. This got me thinking about the power of asking. In my experience the vast majority of people are delighted to help if you ask them. And yet we’re just not that good at it…
The struggle with just asking
Why is it that when it comes to getting help we’re simply too afraid to ask? Are we scared of rejection? Looking weak or foolish? Exposing our own lack of resource or knowledge? Or are we just too proud? (or all of the above!)
Brené Brown speaking on the subject of asking for help says “When you cannot accept and ask for help without self-judgment then when you offer other people help you are always doing so with judgment… When you don’t extract worthiness and you think I’m just helping you because one day I’m gonna need help that’s connection. That’s vulnerability.”
With asking comes vulnerability and with vulnerability comes the opportunity to truly connect with others.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get
In an interview in 1994, Steve Jobs said “I’ve never found anyone who’s said no or hung up the phone when I called. I just asked… And that’s what separates, sometimes, the people that do things from the people that just dream about them.”
If you can’t then someone else can or they know someone else who can. By asking, you are giving other people the opportunity to share their knowledge, talent and who they are. You are giving them the opportunity to be generous by lending a helping hand.
Asking is taking action
Want to make something happen that is bigger than just you? Just ask. The simple act of asking is an invitation to bring something to life. When you ask for help you are setting in motion an outcome that will be far better than you could have ever imagined. By creating a community around an idea, cause, or need you infuse it with greater energy, intelligence and movement.
Asking is a strength, not a weakness
Either you can stay stuck where you are and or you can take a big leap and just ask. That can take courage and emotional bravery. Opening yourself up to help is opening a door to growth, creativity, and connection for everyone.
Do you have an experience that you can share of when you “just asked”?
If you thought using video as part of your personal communications strategy sounded like a horror movie then think again! If you want to stand out from the crowd, grow a trusted personal brand and connect with others online then video is your friend. And with video on the rise as one of the most consumed mediums online, it’s time to get in front of the camera and ready for your close up.
1. A-List Your Personal Brand
In Social world, we’re dealing in the currency of trust. Video offers you the opportunity to build a trusted personal brand, create an emotional connection with your audience, and be memorable. With video you’re appealing to both eyes and ears. Show your face, speak your voice and people will remember you for all the right reasons. The key is to establish a human connection by being human. In my last blog I talked about vulnerability. You may feel vulnerable presenting on video. It is exactly this vulnerability and showing who you really are that will have an emotional impact on others and help you build a lasting connection.
2. Video – The Rising Star
Video is the rapidly rising star of content consumed online. According to Cisco, video will account for a whopping 80-90% of consumer internet traffic online by 2019. You may be surprised to know that one minute of video is consumed as much as 1.8 million words online (Source: Forrester Research). Moreover, video is highly memorable - people retain 95% of a video message compared to a mere 10% when it is text (Source: Insivia - No 44). Video is a medium that is memorable and helps make you more memorable.
3. Your Film Crew
Nowadays, you don’t have to be Cecil B. DeMille nor do you need a Hollywood blockbuster budget to produce your own videos. You can be your own director, producer and wardrobe rolled into one. A smartphone or tablet is sufficient for filming (you can film yourself or get someone else to film you) and there are many simple editing tools available. I personally use Microsoft moviemaker, which is easy to use and free to download.
4. You’re the Main Character, What’s Your Story?
So you’re going to be the star of your video but what on earth are you going to talk about? We are all unique, with our own unique voice and our own story to tell.
The first question to ask yourself is what am I passionate about?
It’s important to deeply link your narrative with your personal brand: your values, who you are and what you represent (not what you do). The second question to ask yourself is how can I demonstrate value to my network? You want your network to interact with and ideally share your content (and further extend your reach). Think like a journalist. What is newsworthy? What is interesting? Tell a story that reflects your personal brand and keep your message simple.
Reading: Why Visual Storytelling is Taking Over the World by Bryan Kramer
5. Lights, Camera, Action!
Video is very versatile when it comes to producing immediate, easy to consume and shareable content. Here are some suggestions:
- Share Top Tips or expertise
- Share your views on a topic you are passionate about
- Review an event, article or news story
- Promote an event or series
- Share an experience
Reading: 10 Ways to Use Video for Vibrant Personal Branding by William Arruda
It doesn’t have to be an Oscar winning performance but you do have star quality just by being yourself! The real authentic you.
Do you have experience of presenting or producing your own videos? Would be great to hear your experiences and any tips or ideas that you have.
There are several factors in play in the world of work, including:
globalisation, technology (digital, social, mobility), multiple generations in the workplace and the fact that most of us will be
working for longer.
So what does this mean for us as employees?
1. New Leadership
Companies are moving away from hierarchical structures to more organic, interconnected organisations. The power base is moving way from classic top management and more towards employees. The type of leader that is most adapted to this context is one that is collaborative, inclusive, connected, and trusted. We’ll see less of the authoritarian, commanding leader and leaders that are more human, accessible, actively engaging with and listening to the voice of the employee.
2. The Importance of Your Personal Brand
The voice of employees is one that is heard. The employee is on the rise as an influencer, as a trusted and credible source of information. This is where the importance of your personal brand comes in. Your personal brand is not about what you do but what you represent – your passions, your values, the real authentic you. Your personal brand reputation is the experience that others have of you and your brand reach is those in your networks and communities that have this experience of you.
3. The Power of Social Channels and Communities
Social channels are also transforming the way in which we work. As the frontiers between companies and the outside world become more fluid, we can operate in a virtual crowd that is open and interconnected. We can collaborate, exchange, evolve, and influence with our peers. And it is here that is a great place to live your personal brand and express your voice in the Social spirit of trust, authenticity and being human.
Not all of us feel comfortable in Social world. Many of us feel vulnerable (like when you write your first blog on LinkedIn!). And yet it is this vulnerability that can create trusted and human connections with others.
4. New Career Paths
The notion of career has changed and also become more organic. We can no longer hope to enter a company and follow a pre-defined, hierarchical career path. You may have heard Sheryl Sandberg, amongst others, talk about a career “jungle gym” rather than a career ladder. Companies are looking to us as employees to become more entrepreneurial at work. You are in charge of the company that is brand you. We can follow several different routes within an organisation, offering the opportunity to grow in other roles, departments or other countries. We can also have several different careers within our working lives.
5. It’s Never Too Late!
An exciting discovery in neuroscience shows that our brains have the quality of plasticity. So the brain is not static as previously believed and learning something new actually rewires our brain! We are always able to learn and evolve. It is in our nature. So the myths that we’re sold and that we tell ourselves that we can no longer do something at 40 or we’re no longer capable of something else at 50 are just myths.
6. The Power is in You!
It is not just external forces that favour us with power. The power to live an empowered life at work, a fulfilling career is already within us. This means being true to ourselves and truthful with ourselves – letting go of labels, legacies, and preconceived ideas about ourselves. After all, these are the things that distance us from others and from our true selves. With all the vulnerability that may come with that, it is so important to be faithful to our passions, our inner voice, to who we are and to what we really want to do. The real authentic you. One of my favourite films is The Wizard of Oz. At the end of the film, Dorothy’s travelling companions discover that the precious things that they were searching for were already within them. The scarecrow has a brain, the tinman has a heart, and the lion has his courage. Dorothy, still stuck in Oz, wonders how on earth she will be able to return to home to Kansas. Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, says to her “You’ve always had the power, my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself.”