Imagine a world without competition. A world where it felt less like a game of “whack a mole” and more a collective team of individuals focused on healthy growth, self-care, self-love, and a want to thrive and feed that inner passion or purpose so that you could help those around you do the same. A world where there is a genuine desire for fellow women to connect with themselves, feed their passions, and translate those into the working world. We would have more people to learn from, more positivity and creativity, more innate feminine leadership that has so much to bring to the table today.
As women change the way we talk to each other and ourselves, the way we treat each other and ourselves, more female leaders step into the light. A world where you wake up to countless emails and phone calls from potential clients who are eager to meet with YOU and to work with YOU. A world where you feel valued and well paid for your work. A world where you have a distinct voice that is HEARD, a distinct style that is SEEN, and a business that is well respected and impactful. Sounds good? Yes of course, but perhaps not quite realistic! Let’s start 2017 thinking it is, especially because we are here to help.
When you build your business around your individual (distinctive) skills you have no competition and you are valued because of unique iconic woman that you are. Let me explain. When I talk about unique skills I don’t mean just what you are good at – say public speaking or mentoring. What I actually mean is what do you add to that skill that makes you distinctive. What makes you stand apart? This is usually a combination of characteristics and life experiences that have shaped you into the person you are today. They affect your attitude to the way you use your talent. So if you are a public speaker, people will remember you not just for the stories you tell, but for the way you tell your stories, the voice you use, the compassion, the performance you add.
I’ll give you another example. Let’s look at some of the leading Vogue women: the three chief editors of the magazine worldwide.
Anna Wintour is the English editor-in-chief of American Vogue for more than 28 years. With her trademark pageboy bob haircut and dark sunglasses, Wintour has become a symbol of the fashion world and an important figure widely praised for her eye for fashion trends and her support for young designers. Her personality reportedly is aloof, demanding, and restrained. Her leadership style commands respect and she seems decisive and a woman who takes risks but is also very responsible and hands on.
Alexandra Schulman, the editor in Chief of the British Vogue looks a lot more approachable than Anna Wintour, she seems nice and easy going, kind and good with people. She looks human and compassionate. As I read about her it was interesting to find that some didn’t think she was experienced or even “VOGUE-enough” for the role, yet she embodies who she is and people have gravitated towards it. She is now the longest serving editor of the British Vogue and one of the country’s most often quoted voices on fashion trends. If she had let the criticism of those who were asking if she even combed her hair stop her from pursuing her dreams, she wouldn’t be where she is today.
Anna Dello Russo, the editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia speaks volumes through her style and knack for experimenting (just look at her hats). What her style says about her personality, even without knowing her, is that she a risk taker, she lives life to the fullest, she likes to play, experiment and have fun. She is explicit. She manages to communicate through her style a sense of rock-and-roll enthusiasm the way the Guardian puts it. She likes metaphors and irony. She is wild and loud.
There are a lot more things we don’t know about these women of course but the first impression, even without meeting them, says already enough and we would know who we would prefer to work with. Kind of like when the contestants on the voice chose a coach. Blake Shelton brings humor and his country boy style, Adam Levine brings his sex appeal, charm, and wit, Gwen Stefani brings her beauty, strength, punk-ness and crazy style. What resonates with you?
This is what I usually call a brand personality. It is not only about one unique skill, but how do you express and own it. Every talent and capability we own is affected by a mix/blend of values and characteristics.
Looking at the editors in chief. It’s quite easy to feel the effect they have on the culture and style of each of the magazines they manage.
Find your distinctive value and build your business around your personality.
I know it’s easier said than done but in today’s world people want to see authenticity and transparency and not a scripted response from brands. The process of discovering the true magnificence and unique talents we all have is golden. Don’t be afraid to get risky, creative, and accept the “strange” in you. It could just become what makes you sparkle more and what people want, need, and remember. Push the boundaries and think outside the box. There’s no need to play it safe anymore. Let go of the fear of being who you are, and instead get to know it, expose it, love it and embody it.
Do more. Question less. Finding your talents, who you are, and creating value out of it is almost an existential question, but what I have found, while building and developing my brand is that the more you ask yourself these questions on daily basis and the more honest you are to yourself and who you are, the more genuine answers you will get. “To succeed in a competitive environment, don’t change who you are. Become more of who you are.” ~ Sally Hogshead
We’re all different. We all have our unique abilities.
And when you communicate your own unique value, you have no competition. Because there’s only one YOU. And in my opinion, YOU ROCK!
Next topic: How to communicate your personality and brand value to your ideal client.
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