Here it is, your big chance. You know your stuff. When you’re facing a big situation at work, whether finally getting an interview with the hiring manager of your dream job, making an important presentation to an executive team, or calling on a new client, couldn’t you use a jolt of confidence?
You go over your stuff again and again, trying to think of how you would handle every question or objection and praying that you’ll actually remember all this when you get to the key moment. Where is your inner superhero when you need them?
Who knew that mild-mannered business suit clad Clark Kent was wearing another suit underneath. And who could forget that famous scene in the movie Superman when Clark tore open his dress shirt to reveal his Superman suit with that big-ass bright red ‘S.’
When you’re under the gun and need to bring your best game, you, too, can be like Clark Kent and wear a shirt under your shirt. This is one of my favorite tips on personal branding. There’s a lot written about personal branding. My version is a little more light-hearted.
If you could walk into any situation imagining that you’re wearing a magic t-shirt under your clothes that bolsters your confidence, what would your t-shirt have on it? It could be anything. That’s what makes it fun, but too many choices make it difficult. Here’s how to come up with yours.
Step 1: Make a list of 10 words that describe who you are when you’re at your best. Here are some words to get your creative juices flowing:
- Good listener
Step 2: What do you do well; what are your strengths? A great assessment I use with all of my private clients is Gallup’s StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tim Rath. Buy the book with the online access code, and after taking the online survey you’ll get a detailed report of your top 5 talent themes along with lots of coaching ideas for how to build on those strengths.
Come up with 5 concrete examples of your strengths at work – accomplishments that show a pattern of how you contribute no matter what job you’re in. For example, do you make order out of chaos, rally people around a common vision, identify efficiencies by analyzing existing processes?
Step 3: Once you’ve got these 2 lists, let your intuition take over. What speaks to you? Is it a character from fiction or the movies, a quote, a personal hero? You may have to noodle on this for a couple of days. I’ve done this exercise with clients for years, and it’s always fun to see what people come up with.
Josh is young, upbeat, and when to going gets tough he gets focused. So his imaginary t-shirt has a photo of Luke Skywalker flying down into the death star at the end of Star Wars.
When you need to make sure something gets done, put Michelle in charge. Her t-shirt would have the quote by Harry S. Truman, “The buck stops here.”
I’m results-oriented, pragmatic, not afraid to do things differently with a touch of humor. My t-shirt has a picture of the scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indiana Jones, facing the fearsome sword wielder, takes out his gun and shoots him.
Have fun with this. Don’t be shy – you don’t have the share your t-shirt with anyone. Just keep it in mind when you walk into that big situation.