Updated: Apr 11, 2019
When you're inspired and clear, you get more opportunities.
I have a client who is so jazzed about her field, she is irresistible. When she talks about her space and its growth, I can't get enough of her. Personally, I have zero interest in the technical work she leads. I would never seek out information about her field on my own. Nonetheless, when I hear her speak about it, I see how important and exciting her work is.
I coached this person last week while on a road trip in the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado. As I was driving past the mountains in the photo above, they were so inspiring that I had to be closer to them. It was as though my car pulled itself over to the side of the road. The magnetism of the mountains reminded me of my inspired client. When you are inspired, people want to be around you and it's as though they are compelled to go out of their way for you.
I see this in my inspired clients all the time. They ask for a LinkedIn connection and get a coffee meeting. They ask for advice and end up with a personal ally or mentor. Inspired people are the ones for whom jobs are created. The more inspired you are, the more traction you will get in your career. The challenge is that usually, career transitions are stressful. Sometimes, they can feel exhausting and demoralizing. It's hard to maintain your inspiration. Still, I want you to figure it out. If you're not inspired, you're not getting the access and opportunities you could.
Inspiration is an indicator of knowing what you're really about. That's reassuring to companies, for whom hiring is risky. That clarity of knowing who you are, what you most enjoy, and what you do best is also what helps filter in opportunities. I saw the sign below on my road trip last week and thought, "Wow. A perfect, dramatic example for career development."
I love a dramatic example. Here it is:
As a reader of this sign, you immediately know whether or not this is for you. Most job seekers though, if they were to have a roadside sign, would have one that reads something more like, "Roadside Attraction."
If this is you, your LinkedIn profile is impersonal and lacks detail. Your networking is no fun or not happening. Your resume is generic. Your cover letters are boring...even for you.
That's playing it safe. And it's so understandable. If you have a vague sign that just says, "Roadside Attraction," nobody driving by will be able to say, "UFO Tower? Weird. No thanks!" I believe this is why we have the tendency to not get clear about what we really want. It helps us protect ourselves.
The downside is that if you're not clear...if you're trying to stay broad or neutral to keep your options open and to not turn anyone off...you're also not being effective.
That said, I don't want you to be outrageous on LinkedIn or to share inappropriate tidbits about yourself in a professional context. I do, however, want you to take the risk of being clearer when it comes to branding yourself. To have an opinion, too.
It's not about self-promotion.
It's about helping others quickly understand who you are and how you serve. When you're clear about what you offer, the people and companies who need you are able to recognize you when they see you.
There are people who drove by that sign and thought, "Finally! A UFO viewing tower!"
The same thing happens for my clients who do things like write opinion pieces, speak in their field, or start targeted consultancies.
There are plenty of people and companies who don't want what you have to offer. You're comfortable with that. I want you to prove that you're comfortable with that through clearer branding.
The payoff is that when you're clear, those who do need what you have to offer are both relieved and excited when they cross your path. They pull the car over, so to speak. They seek you out.
So, my encouragement is to take the reminders provided by the mountains and the UFO Tower:
1. Maintain your inspiration because it makes people want to go out of their way for you.
2. Brand yourself clearly, so that the people who need you can recognize you right away.
In your corner,
P.S. I'm hosting a Free Mini-Webinar on Friday, 4/12 at 10:30am Mountain. It's for you if you tend to resist networking and want it to be more fun and to feel more authentic. (And get more opportunities, too.) Space is limited. You can register here.