Ever come upon a person who uses the word “I” more than the any other word in the English language?
It’s all about me. I’ve got a better story than that…and it will always end up being about me. Or…..when I did that, “I” yada yada, and they told “Me” yada yada but I told them “My” yada yada.
I, Me, My….that’s all there is.
Hard to take isn’t it? Do you find yourself counting the number of times they say the word “I” instead of listening to what they have to say? Or how about listening to their story curious about when the whole monologue is going to turn around ending around them? You know eventually it will happen, that’s for sure all the while missing the entire message that they were trying to convey. Ever done that?
Being so aware of the “I’s” in other peoples conversation makes me do the complete opposite. Loathing center stage, I rarely speak of my accomplishments, experiences unless asked. I don’t sell myself well even though I know I am capable, experienced and (depending on whom you ask) learned.
Humility? I don’t think so even though I do have humility. It’s more of a quiet self awareness. It’s standing in a state of self-confidence. Being aware that no matter what, I have the ability either alone or in collaboration to rise to any challenge set before me and succeed. I know this so why do I have to tell others?
Because this type of “being” could come across as arrogant and cocky or it could come across shallow and inexperienced leaving the listener unfamiliar with your real abilities, skills, accomplishments, gifts and talents. Sometimes, being too humble can hurt your chances for that second interview.
But to succeed professionally where do we find the balance? One would have to “brand” themselves in a positive manner to be known, to be respected and to be trusted. But the need to be the center of attention looses the power of professionalism because it demonstrates the possibility of not “playing well with others”. It takes center stage instead of sharing it. When one is seen as self serving, a potential employer may feel their needs might not be heard let along met.
But on the other hand, by not touting one’s talents and accomplishments by effectively sharing your own abilities the employer would think you unable. Not really knowing your strengths they may assume you couldn’t provide them with what they need – which in this case is you!
Finding the middle ground between narcissism and whatever the polar opposite may happen to be then is a necessity especially during your interview.
But I believe the key to successful branding begins with listening and reflecting. Deep listening. You have already done your research on the company. You understand what they “do”. But do you understand what they “need”? Ask. Ask the interviewer, panel, Director, whomever. Ask what they are looking for, what exactly is their need? Once you listen deeply and discover what they need you’ll be able to tell your stories.
Story telling is by far a better approach to your talents than bullet points of “I did’s”. I did this and I did that and then they asked me to do this and my greatest yada yada yada.
By telling your stories of when you were in a similar situation you show more of yourself than you can imagine. You show your passion, your drive, your compassion, your empathy….all the good qualities found in humility while “branding” you in an open and receptive manner. Relax, be aware of your worth, embrace your confidence and tell your stories! They’ll recognize you!
And by the way, what word do you think is the polar opposite of narcissim if used as a verb?