Being a woman in Public Relations may not be mandatory, but from what I’ve experienced it’s certainly the majority. Because I’m in the engineering and architectural industry I’m habitually surrounded by men but luckily, I attend events every so often where I get to pick the brains of other women marketers and business developers. There is a noticeable difference in the confidence that the men exude as opposed to the certainty that women carry.
Women in business naturally struggle with balance. Balancing between speaking up but not saying too much, between being friendly but not flirtatious, between confidence and modesty. I often hear women say things like “well I have experience doing x, y, z but I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m an expert” or “I’ve been doing proposals for 10 years but I know I still have so much to learn”. My first thought is always, I’m so glad you can be honest with yourself about where you feel your strengths and weaknesses are but more importantly, why are you selling yourself short to a stranger? If you’ve been doing anything for 10 years I’d bet money that you’re pretty damn good at it. Playing it safe does you no good. Don’t shy away from what you’ve worked your ass off for because you feel someone may challenge you to prove it.
A friend of mine who’s a personal trainer and also who I believe will be the first self-made millionaire that I’ll personally know told me in casual conversation how he got started building his own brand. He said before he even had a gym to train anyone at, he advertised himself as the best at what he was doing. He knew exactly the outcome he wanted for himself. He believed he could be the best and knew he was willing to do whatever it took to get others to believe that as well. Claiming his expertise jump started his business and it didn’t hurt that he had a vision of the great things he already knew that he would do.
Contrary to what you believe, you’re an expert in your own story. You have experience in what you know works, and what doesn’t. You may not know it all, but none of us do. The difference is the confidence we have in what we do know and the eagerness we have to conquer what we don’t. You’re doing yourself an injustice by doubting yourself. Not only will your perception of yourself determine how far you’ll go, but it always determines how others view you. What you believe to be true about yourself is the most important factor.
If you tell yourself you can’t do anything, you won’t do anything. Whatever you’re doing right now, hold yourself at the highest standard. It’s not lying, bragging or boasting, it’s aiming. You have to know who you will be before you can become it. What do you honestly believe you can achieve? Aim beyond what you’re capable of and begin with claiming your expertise.