Gisele L. Kennedy, PYT
So, how did the week go MITs? Did you have an opportunity to try and be more vocal about your services? Did you practice presenting yourself as if you were THE service provider like we talked about? Did you attempt to self-market (I think I may need to copyright that word, anyone using that already)? Where you effective? It’s ok to be nervous about doing something differently, these things will become second nature as long as you stay the course. How about being more…gasp…aggressive? To those of you thinking, “Yes! I did ALL that!”, while pumping your fists in the air and desperately looking for someone to chest bump, I have two words. Whoooaaaaaa Nellies!
That’s right MITs no feral dogs here! I mean confidence, and yes, sometimes even a little cockiness will be helpful in this process. However, I DO NOT mean arrogance and excessive aggression. There is a difference and understanding how to navigate that precarious balance is a learned skill and a whole other blog post for another day. I do mean, however, true confidence and at times that includes a little bit of humility in addition to throwing your pride to the wind.
Back in September, I was laid off from my position at [insert name of large financial institution which may not be around much longer if they keep laying off fantastic employees]. Not too long after that I found myself at a get together where I knew the host was a teacher. A couple that everyone else already new walks in and a male friend of mine introduces me just like this… “Hi so and so, this is my friend Gisele. She used to teach, was laid-off and is looking for a job. Do you know of anything?” I must say that I was stunned, horrified even! I honestly thought to myself, “These people don’t really know me, they don’t care that I’m not working! I don’t want these people to know my business! Was he nuts? Who does he think he is? What would they think?” Double gasp! Apparently all of my thoughts were displayed across my face because he looked at me like I had lost my mind and said matter-of-factly, “G, what’s wrong? Girl you need a job!” Aha! I then turned to them and said “Yes. Yes I am looking for a job. Do you guys work in Education?” BINGO silly girl! Just like that, I found myself standing in front of a department head of my specialty and an adjunct professor at a community college. I even took the time to speak about my amazing strengths as an educator. No lie, I am a fantastic teacher, and if I hadn’t taken a step forward out of my comfort zone, they would have never known.
No, I didn’t get hired on the spot and I didn’t end up going back into teaching, but two things did happen that night; 1. I was introduced to two people who might have been able to help me; and 2. I had my first lesson in what it really meant to effectively network (and kind of think like a man…triple gasp!). I had heard that when you are looking for a job, everyone, Im talking EVERYONE, you meet is a possible lead, but I really didn’t know if I was up to putting it into action. You see, I am one of those women who used to rely a little too heavily on herself. I had a habit of allowing pride to stop me from reaching out to others who were in a position to help me. That my lovely MITs, is true confidence. Being comfortable enough to admit and display vulnerabilities at the right time and self-assuredness at all others.
This experience is analogous to networking to build your brand. Just like when looking for employment, when you are out there trying to build and sell your business, everyone you meet has the potential to help you. I mean it’s basically the same thing right? You want people to employ you and your services.
“BUILDING A NETWORK YOU FACE YOUR FEARS EVERYDAY.” – Oprah. Ok, so yhea sure she was talking about her television network, but it applies here too as well. That’s her business.