Theme 9: Reputation & Platforms
Show (and tell) the world what you can do.
“The opportunity of a lifetime is to pick yourself. Quit waiting to get picked; quit waiting for someone to give you permission; quit waiting for someone to say you are officially qualified and pick yourself. It doesn’t mean you have to be an entrepreneur or a freelancer, but it does mean you stand up and say, ‘I have something to say. I know how to do something. I’m doing it. If you want me to do it with you, raise your hand.”
Why is this theme important?
You cannot control your reputation but you can help influence it. When you communicate to the world who you are, what you believe in, and what you’re working on, you give the right people and opportunities a chance to enter your life.
Take control of your online reputation.
When you’re preparing to meet with a new client or customer.
When you’re about to interview someone for a new position.
When you’re about to go on a date with someone you hardly know…
What’s the first thing you’re likely to do? If you’re like most of us, you’ll probably Google them. Or look them up on LinkedIn. Or find them on Facebook. Or search for them on Twitter.
In today’s world, our reputation precedes us, and that reputation is already sitting on the Internet. First impressions are still as important as ever, but today they’re happening online, without you being physically there, and without you being aware.
This might sound scary. Or it could sound like an opportunity. Whether you want to exist online or not, you will exist. While there’s not much you can do to control your reputation, you can still help influence it.
It’s been said that “a blog is the new business card.” This isn’t too far from the truth, but we’d revise it to say that your entire online presence is the new business card, including a blog, your social profiles and everything in between.
Whether it’s creating a personal blog, maintaining a social media presence that highlights who you are and what you stand for, spearheading projects that give you visibility online, or just having a solid profile on your company’s “about us” page – you’d be smart to influence how your story is crafted online.
If you don’t, you leave it up to us to craft our own story about you based on what we find online.
Think beyond your CV.
Accreditations. Titles. Degrees. Gold stars on your CV. This is the stuff that carried us far along the road to success in the 20th century.
In the 21st century, these no longer carry the same weight. Sure, they’ll still open some doors. But instead what people are looking for is applied skills and displayed experiences. In other words, don’t just tell us what you can do; show us.
Have you started something out of nothing? Have you spearheaded a project you cared about just for the sake of it? What’s something you can point to that says “I was interested in something and serious enough that I actually did something about it”?
Even if it’s just a simple website, a community project, an art exhibit, teaching a course, a handful of guest blog posts, or starting a meetup on Meetup.com. Don’t just tell us what you can do with your labels and titles – show us with the things you create. Document it, share it freely – and ideally evidence of it lives somewhere on the Internet. We want to easily find these things about you when we Google you.
Choose yourself & get to work.
We get many requests at Escape from people who want to write an article for our blog. Most people want us to give them permission to write for us. They want us to say “Yes, we’d love for you to write a blog post!” without us knowing who they are or the quality of the article they’ll likely produce. They want us to give them the green light before they get to work.
Most people are afraid to give before they get, hesitant to do free work, delay giving away value before they get something in return (revisit Theme #5 Option Generation). This isn’t to blame them; it’s been ingrained in us since our first day of school. Our default mode is to wait to be “chosen” or “picked” before we start working on something.
If someone really wants to write, they would write an excellent blog post curated precisely for the Escape audience, give to us, and then ask if we’d post it on our blog. This isn’t a promise that we’ll publish it, but there’s a much better chance we will.
This is one example, but it can be applied to almost anything else. As you progress through the Tribe, try applying this simple jujitsu-like maneuver. Don’t wait for someone’s permission to begin building a platform for yourself. It may turn an automatic No into a possible Yes.
Surprisingly few people act on the things they want to do. The distance between saying you want to start something and actually starting something is not far; but few are serious enough about it to actually choose themselves and move forward with it. By acting on something, even if it doesn’t turn out how you hoped, you’ll quickly set yourself apart. Don’t wait for someone else to pick you. Choose yourself and get to work.
Master the art of the hustle.
The word Hustle may evoke a different emotion for you depending on where you’re from and what your relationship with the word is.
But when we say Hustle, the diagram below demonstrates essentially what we mean:
Image: Joey Roth, http://joeyroth.com/
To us, Hustle means doing the work (without waiting for permission), with all of the sweat, time, toil and grit that requires. Work your butt off and do the work necessary to chisel away at your escape. Wake up early. Stay up late. Sit inside on a sunny weekend to toil away at your craft, your side business, or test out new ideas with potential customers.
But doing the work is just one half of the Hustle equation. The second half involves gathering the courage to share what you’re doing. You must have the courage to talk about it and let the world engage with what you’re working on.
When you create something that you can point to (a blog, a business, a meetup, an event) and proudly share it with the world, you give the world a chance to connect with you. Not everyone in the world — but the people that matter.
Hustle is not sleazy and it’s never manipulative. Hustle is about doing, showing, and telling the world what you can do.
- Understand the key components of your professional reputation and how to build trust.
- Explore different ways to build an authentic platform for yourself (online or offline).
- Experiment with different tools and techniques to avoid simply being defined by your CV.
- Identify ways to stand out that will work for you and your chosen areas.
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