Confidence is one of the sexiest things a person can have and while you wouldn’t usually equate “sexy” to “work” - or at least, you probably shouldn't - confidence is going to take you far.
Confidence shines through when you have a good handle on your day-to-day responsibilities and the tasks you’re expected to complete.
When you know what you’re doing, you stand a little taller, smile a little brighter, and (if you’re me) you may even do some finger guns while winking at coworkers or clients. Put simply, you feel good -- But that’s only one part of being a confident, kickass employee.
When you feel like you know your job the back of your hand and you’ve got it all down to a science, you may feel confident for a while,but eventually, you realize that you’re doing what’s expected of you in your role and then you going home at night, just to wake up in the morning and do it all over again - rinse and repeat.
That’s when, if you’re not careful, feelings of settling and plateauing can sink in. When you start to feel the confidence shift to complacency, you have to act and that’s when you have two options:
1. Settle for a mediocre and just get through the days OR 2. Like Salt-N-Pepa once said, you push it.
And my gosh, I hope you push it.
How Pushing Your Confidence Will Grow Your Career
More than anything, I hope you keep your passion alive and you don’t settle. I hope you sharpen your career skills, learn more about the industry you’re in, and perhaps even take additional classes or attend conferences.
And I get it. It sounds like a lot of work, right? Yeah, I know, but believe me -- it can pay off big time.
For this ever-changing, wild digital marketing industry, there’s always, and I mean always, something new going on; a new app that the kids are getting into, a new social network, a new way to connect consumers to a client’s product/solution.
If I don’t read blogs, listen to podcasts, or go to events to hear speakers give their insights, I’m behind.
This wasn’t something I had really thought about until I was in a meeting and my boss said “The worst thing that can happen is that a client knows more than we do. We’re the experts.”
And he’s not wrong. Wouldn’t that be just awful?
I would hate it if my client came to me and said, “Hey, I heard that XYZ just launched and it’s the best way to reach our audience. Why haven’t you suggested this?”
You know what my response would be in this situation?
A big fat, “Uhhhhh…”
And guess what? If that happened, my sense of confidence would’ve been shaken. Those words stuck with me and really made me stop and reconsider my role at IMPACT.
Not only do I need to focus on my day-to-day tasks and ensure I’m keeping everything rocking for my clients but I also need to think bigger.
I need to focus on what’s happening in the industry, what my peers are doing, and how my learnings can positively impact (pun intended) what I recommend to my clients to help them reach their goals. After all, I’m the expert.
Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “Yeah that sounds great and all but I’m in B2B - I don’t really need to find manufacturing podcasts to listen to.”
I totally get it, but stick with me because regardless of industry, you can take the mentality of “going beyond,” apply it to your professional career, and see that when you make the decision to rock your job’s socks off, some pretty cool things happen…
You'll Be Seen as a Leader at Your Company
Let’s stick with the manufacturing environment I brought up earlier.
Imagine you’re the marketing lead at your company and while many of your other team members are concerned with sales presentations, you’ve been online and you’ve heard rumblings of another approach. You’ve done your research and realized that inbound marketing has helped other companies, just like yours, identify and deliver qualified leads to the sales team.
You think, “Dang, our sales have flatlined these past few months but, I like my job, I like my company, and I want us to succeed. Maybe inbound is something that would help us kick things into gear.” Then it’s go time: Do you settle for mediocre and help create the next sales powerpoint presentation?
OR Are you confident enough in your ability to try something new and dedicate some of your spare time to learn more gather insights, and begin creating a strategy that includes this new approach?
I hope you don’t settle for average and instead, you let your passion and hope for success drive you to go above and beyond. I hope you create that new marketing strategy.
By taking a risk and doing more than what’s expected of you, you’re showing that not only are you capable in your current position but you can also think outside of the box.You care about the company’s success and you want to play a role in directly contributing to that. When you push yourself, your boss will be more confident that you should be a part of the company core.
Proving your worth and your confidence in moving in a different direction (backed with research and insights, of course) will ensure that you’re helping the company make a strategic move. This desire to do more and be better is what separates the rockstars from the rest.
2. You Never Know Where it Will Lead
So, let’s say you created that new marketing strategy and pitched it to your boss/upper management. They say, “Wow. We’re really impressed that you saw this opportunity, you’ve taken the time to see how it can help us work smarter in 2018, and we’re on board. We’d like you to take the lead.” (Realistically, this process may take a little longer but you get the idea.) Management now sees you as a leader in your department. This act helps position you into this unique spot which can help you look better short-term but I want you to think long-term here. You’ve now taken an opportunity to generate new business, put together a pitch, presented it and you’re now leading the department on a new initiative.
Sure, it may not work out but your confidence in not only trying something new but having the nerve to go to management with something they’ve likely never heard of is impressive!
Again, many people just go with the flow - but not you.
You’re no longer ‘the guy we hired six months ago’ but instead, you’re the guy who is willing to take smart chances. You’ve now started to gain the trust of the decision makers in your company. Your opinions and recommendations hold a bit more weight because you’re not just doing what everyone else is doing, you’re willing to think above and beyond what’s expected. As a leader in your department, you can shape initiatives, create campaigns, and identify the best way for you to reach and convert your target audiences.
You can take this opportunity and run with it while also having more leeway to pitch other new ideas and plans.
Your voice has been heard and by consistently showing your passion and dedication to the success of the company, you may be recognized accordingly - perhaps a new position (hello, CMO), given the ability to hire a marketing team to execute, etc.
3. You'll Meet a lot of Really Cool People
Okay, so aside from positioning yourself as leader within your company, you’ll also engage with a lot of incredibly passionate peers.
When beginning down a new, unknown marketing path, you’ll begin doing a lot of research. You’ll turn to blogs, follow influencers on LinkedIn or other social networks, and you’ll likely engage with content shared by people who have the same career goals and interests as you do. This is an easy way to connect with others if you find yourself unable to attend popular conferences and/or trade shows where you’d typically network.
The internet makes it so incredibly easy to find others who are talking about the same things you’re interested in. A good place start to finding these people and these groups is LinkedIn or Facebook (i.e. our very own IMPACT Elite). If you go into either platform and type in “Manufacturing Industry” or “Direct Marketing” or whatever into the search bar, you’ll see a whole list of things to explore.
My recommendation would be to start with LinkedIn Groups. You want to make sure that you’re learning from others in these groups but it’s also a huge bonus if you can post, answer questions, or even ask questions. By engaging in conversation (or starting one), you’ll start to be seen as leader and someone who knows what they’re talking about The connections you make in these groups can be invaluable.
Believe it or not, a friend was seriously just telling me how her husband did this exact thing and then 2-3 years after he initially connected with someone else in the industry, (again, never met in real life) the husband was offered a job by that other guy.
Because he husband continually contribute to conversations, he proved was passionate about the industry and that he had unique insights into trending topics.
Come on, now - that’s pretty awesome.
Take a Risk
If you just ‘do your job and go home,’ you’re, quite simply, holding yourself back.
There is a whole world out there that’s filled to the brim with opportunity and paths for you to wander down if you allow yourself to go beyond your limit, get outside of your comfort zone, and immerse yourself in your industry.
Doors you didn’t even know existed may just begin to open up and what you may see as just a way to get a paycheck right now can transform into a dream job or opportunity for you down the road. Just start putting in a little bit of extra effort right now.