I hate stereotypes, I sincerely do, but after working with hundreds of women around the country, I can’t help but say, women are generally not very good at putting themselves out there.
Studies unfortunately support the stereotype and confirm there is a substantial gender gap in self promotion. While there are lots of theories as to why this is the case, including a lack of confidence on the part of the individual and extrinsic factors such as societal expectations; the reality is if we don’t put ourselves out there the world misses out on what we have to offer.
This was confirmed to me strangely enough after reading Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s remarkable book ‘My Own Words’, where in her words she admitted “I am not very good at promotion but Marty was and he was tireless to see that I would be the nominee.” To think this world would have missed out on all Bader Ginsberg had to offer as a judge had her husband not helped her to ‘put herself out there’, is terrifying to me.
Visibility is at the heart of developing influence and perhaps reframing the idea of ‘self-promotion’ with simply making oneself visible is a start. Here are 3 additional habits women must avoid on the path to putting themselves out there and developing influence:
Downplaying your achievements
This one deserves to be mentioned again and again and again. One of the fastest ways to build self-doubt and insecurity is to downplay your achievements. Not only does it create a negative story within, it also sends a message to those you encounter that perhaps you really don’t deserve the praise or recognition. If developing influence is all about positioning yourself in a way that resonates with the success you are aiming for; then downplaying your achievements is one fast way to keep you exactly where you are.
Not asking for help or looking for ways to leverage relationships
I see it on the faces of my clients when I ask them who in their network might be able to help them achieve what they are setting out to do. I remember one instance in particular where a client mentioned she had a contact who regularly appeared on Skynews. When I asked if she could help open any doors to the network, her level of discomfort was palpable.
In an interview with Forbes, Sally Helgesen, co-author of How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job, was quoted saying- “Women don’t always benefit from the strong relationships they cultivate and nurture in the workplace because they are reluctant to leverage their relationships, by which we mean engaging others to help them meet either specific or long-term career goals”. Developing influence ironically is not something you can do alone, having a strong network of people recommending you and singing your praise, is all part of building your profile and becoming a recognised authority.
Waiting for perfection prior to putting yourself out there
As young girls, many of us were raised to believe we had to be pretty, poised, perfect and preferably quiet in order to be successful and gain recognition. Though we may consciously realise how outdated and destructive those ideas may be, it has not stopped many of us living them out in our present lives. In fact, just the other day I had a phone call with a potential new client. She wanted to work with me on her personal brand and I literally turned her away. I made it clear she didn’t need me. She was ready to go. It was simply time to get out there and allow the market to have its say. No amount of perfecting was going to take away the fear of disapproval and rejection. If anything, procrastinating makes it worse. You are, and always will be, perfectly imperfect, it is time to celebrate that and put yourself out there regardless.
Yes, gender biases may raise their ugly heads, glass ceilings may still exist and women may be subjected to more criticism online than their male counterparts; but a firm challenge has never stopped us before and will not stop us now. In order to change the narrative and develop the influence required to make an impact, more of us need to be out there and visible for the world to see.
Want more tips on how to develop influence? Join Carlii’s personal branding masterclass on 22nd July 2021 – we’re offering a very special price so book now as seats will sell out quickly!
For the past 15 years, Carlii Lyon has been shaping the personal brands of remarkable individuals from across the globe. Her past clients include a world-leading supermodel (Miranda Kerr), New York Times bestselling authors, inventors, musicians, and even a British celebrity foot reader!
Today, Carlii is the Founder of #thebrandinyou, a growing movement dedicated to helping everyday individuals, executives and entrepreneurs be their own brand and master the art of putting themselves out there.