I often hear women complain about how invisible they feel. They will not be heard in a meeting, not seen during a networking event, not noticed by their colleagues, their boss, worse, not acknowledged for their contributions, not given any credit, nor promotion. On why that happens, read my previous post on why educated and talented executive women still fall into the Sleeping Beauty Princess Syndrome.
Three steps to become more visible.
- Reveal Your True Colors. Lead from within. Develop your confidence. Build on your strengths. Ask for feedback and get it! Take off your nice girl hat and be feisty, raw, wild and crazy! Communicate clearly on what you do, where you want to go, who you are. Get yourself a personal career coach and several mentors. invest in yourself so that you are very clear on what value you can add to the company, to your clients.
Only then, when you have a clear sense of who you are and what you want, can you get it!
Tip 1 Ask yourself, « What makes me unique? What value do I bring? What problem do I solve?
Tip 2 You don’t have to wear red stilettos… (no, Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light…)
Story Just like in The Red Shoes, an ancient fairy tale revisited by Clarissa Pinkola Estès. She shows us that there is a way to construct a life that is uniquely our own; a life made by hand. « In our culture, we may travel life’s path in one of two ways: 1) in handmade shoes, crafted with love and care according to the unique needs of the individual soul; or 2) in Red Shoes, which promise instant fulfillment, but ultimately lead to a painful, hollow-split existence. » Wow…powerful…just think about it for a minute…
- Don’t Think Twice, Be Bold and Show Up! If it seems pretty obvious to you, just think of the numbers of opportunities you missed because you just were not there! Strategic meetings, networking events, conferences where attending is strategic for your business and your job expertise. Maybe you were there physically, but not really 100% present.
Tip 1 You are not on that « special short list » of « 50 most talented »…, « top 10 experts » …, best CEOs/managers/consultant/blogger in the world? Create your own tribe, become the VIP member of your very special club!
Tip 2 Show up, develop a real presence, here and now. Raise your hands in a meeting as Sheryl Sandberg, COO of FaceBook reminds us, speak up and keep this hand up!
Tip 3 Push the door open and step in!
Stop waiting to be invited to come inside. Stop staring with envy and angst at the shop windows, the corporate glass walls, the places where decision are made, projects are created, ideas are given life, blood and flesh to. Make a list of the top influencers in your company or top players in your field. Get in touch with them and play with them! But remember, before, you need to have prepared what you have to offer that makes you unique.
- Find a sponsor, better, be noticed by one and become remarkable! In How Sponsorship Can Help Senior Women Break the Marzipan Ceiling (I love this image, just picture yourself caught in a thick pink marzipan office space, just like Hansel and Gretel…), a great new article from The Glass Hammer, you will find out how to get your own sponsor.
“Sponsors get you the key stretch assignments that allow you to shine.”
Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Founding President and Chairman of the Center for Worklife Policy
Tip 1 Be strategic. Be intentional about sponsorship early in your career. It really does enhance the climb.
Tip 2 Mentors can be a pathway to sponsorship.
Tip 3 Connect. Building strong relationships with individuals above you, as well as your peers, can help make potential sponsors aware of you and provide an entryway into networks of power.
Melissa J. Anderson in The Glass Hammer, quoting Kerrie Peraino, Chief Diversity Officer of Amex.
(Note to myself: you cannot buy yourself a sponsor in a shoe shop.)
A Song: « And I’ll see your true colors
I see your true colors
and that’s why I love you
so don’t be afraid to let them show
your true colors
true colors are beautiful
like a rainbow ».
It’s a Small Change To Your Job (developing a strong confidence), That Makes A Big Change To Your Life!
Be A Leadership Braver, Now