Recently, talking with my friend Cathy about an upcoming job decision she needed to make, I was stunned when she said she wasn’t sure she deserved such a large jump in pay. Where was her swagger? Two organizations were fighting over her – each one kept upping the salary, perks and benefits, creating very attractive packages. She was completely torn about the choice.
Cathy is sought after because she brings a lot to the table. She has won state-wide and national awards in her industry TWICE. Even during a pandemic, she brings in new clients because she has a reputation for excellence that’s public knowledge. She has two master’s degrees and is certified in multiple fields. And she still didn’t think she deserved the money they want to offer her!
In a totally separate scenario, I have another friend John who dresses like the CEO even though he’s in entry-level sales. And he’s been working from home the last few months! He asks for new projects; he actively pursues training and learning opportunities; he practices his sales skills and doesn’t settle for less.
So, what is the difference between my two friends?
It’s something I call six-figure swagger! And yes, you can swagger even while working from home and communicating remotely. In fact, without outside distractions at the office, there’s no better time to work on creating a confident, personal brand.
One is at the top of her game acting like she isn’t; and the other is starting out but acting like he is already at the top. Which one are you?
Here are some ways to work on your six-figure swagger:
- Realize your worth. In an effort to be humble or if you suffer from imposter syndrome, most people tend to play down their accomplishments. Cathy just considered it part of her job to be excellent – and it is! But it’s very uncommon to have the experience, degrees and awards that she does. Don’t brush it aside and think it’s common. Instead, like John, embrace your worth and know what you bring to the table.
- Look for opportunities to shine. Most would say Cathy just naturally shines. But she works incredibly hard for the achievements and accolades she has received. John does too. The difference? John doesn’t sweep them under the rug. When he hears about a new project on one of his Zoom calls, he asks to be involved in a new project. He justifies the request by adding what he brings to the conversation, like, “I’ve noticed your team is working on this new project. I recently took some remote training on something similar and think I can help.” Or when he asks his boss to take more online training, he makes sure to make the connection between his current training and future work and how it will be good for the company.
- Say it with confidence. Who inspires you? Someone who is excited and sounds like they have experience? Or someone who sounds insecure and unsure? Even if you don’t have the experience, but you want it, you can still sound confident in what skills and talents you would bring to the project (and take some virtual training; there are even tons of free learning tools and webinars online – see #2!).
- Take chances. When it came right down to it, my friend Cathy was scared. She was afraid she wouldn’t live up to a newer, bigger salary (as if!); she was afraid of the commitment; she was afraid of change. She was afraid of leaving a pond where she was a big fish to swim in the ocean with bigger fish! You need to make that decision for you – but the one thing you won’t want to do is wonder “what if?”
The old saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” is true for more than just looking nice on your next Zoom call (although I’ve blogged about that too!) – it’s true for all aspects of your life and career. Your personal and professional development doesn’t stop just because the world is mainly virtual right now. It’s about taking chances, knowing what you want, actively pursuing it with confidence and not letting someone else tell you what you’re worth!