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If The Solution To Your Biggest Problem Were Behind This Door, Would You Open It?

I’ll bet you probably said “yes.” Or, “of course, I would.” When in fact, it may be the furthest thing from the truth.

Think for a moment about what is standing in the way of you elevating your personal brand, increasing your visibility and playing a much bigger game, right now? Why haven’t you done anything about it—even though you know exactly what needs to be done?

Why haven’t you “opened” the door?

What is the reason that you feel the need to watch another video, take another course, read another book, connect with another industry expert…only to gather all of that information, and do nothing?

Elevating your game is a scary proposition for a lot of people. You feel vulnerable. What I want to do is challenge you to walk toward that scary door. The reality is, there IS a great big door standing in front of you and it is called Personal Elevation. All of your growth, successes, and triumphs are on the other side of it. Until you get the courage to walk up to it, put your hand on the handle and twist it open, you will never be able to escape the curiosity of not knowing “what if?”

Go ahead…walk through it.  

Jennifer Ransaw Smith is the Founder of The Personal Elevation Lab, a division of Brand id | Strategic Partners, a full-service Personal Branding + Elevation Agency. The Personal Elevation Lab™ focuses exclusively on elevating the visibility, credibility, influence and impact of women executives and entrepreneurs:http://www.personalelevation.com. If you are ready to Boost Your Status, sign up for our 30-Day Game Changing Program Here.

Aren’t You Tired Of Being A Spectator? Maybe It’s Time To Jump In The Game

I remember when I used to be a “professional bystander.” You know, the person who is too afraid to jump in, blaming it on their desire for perfection, poor timing, or lack of experience. The one who looks for any excuse not to engage fully so as not to make a fool of themselves or have to ever hear, “I told you so.”

What I didn’t know at the time was my desire to have everything figured out before I pressed go was actually a tremendous hindrance to my success. I didn’t realize that growth almost never happens when everything works as planned. In fact, it isn’t until things begin to fall apart or break down, do you really start getting good at what you do. I know, it doesn’t sound too logical, but it is true.

The irony is, if we move forward and do that one thing that scares us most about getting our hands dirty, chances are, even if it doesn’t turn out 100%, it will be ok. You will truly be better off for it.

This week alone, at least two major projects didn’t go as planned for my team and me. In fact, one was quite painful. However, within seconds, I was able to identify why it would never happen again and what processes we will need to put in place.  I walked away knowing that because of that experience, I would run an even tighter ship.

Technology has truly put the world at our finger tips. Everyone has a story. A brand. However, most of them strategically only put out the “good, polished stuff.” You don’t get to see the flubs. Or disasters. So you don’t believe that they are there. But they are. As a result, you sit back waiting to get all of your ducks in a row, instead of getting in the game.

The only perfect time is now. Do it now. Stop waiting for perfection.   So my challenge to you is to think about the one thing that you know has been holding you back from stepping into your highest self. Take the first step—now. It’s time to abandon the nose bleed seats and get on the floor with all of the action.  

If You Aren’t Excited About Your Brand, How Could I Possibly Be?

A few days ago, I had the privilege of judging a contest in Baltimore City. The competition provided an opportunity for one winner to become the CEO for a day with a top company in the city. The competitors were all aspiring women entrepreneurs, most of whom were in other careers but aspiring to build a company and leave their current 9 to 5 position

The experience was extremely fun and yet, very eye opening. I walked away with two new philosophies I want to share.

1.     Treat every opportunity as if it is “the” opportunity: Too often, we bypass great opportunities because we are waiting for something better. Or, because we don’t feel ready. Guess what? You will never be 100% ready…and if you feel you are, that only means you waited too late. You need to train yourself to pull the trigger before you think it is time.

Example: Several women from the program decided at the last minute not to present because they didn’t feel ready. However, by not doing so, they passed up an incredible opportunity to get expert feedback that could have been game-changing to their organization. Furthermore, they missed out on an opportunity to win money because one of the judges brought his checkbook and was prepared to invest in his next opportunity that very day.

Moral: Get off the sideline and into the game…now!

2.  Act like you like what you do, or don’t do it: If you aren’t excited about what it is you do, how do you suppose others are going to be able to muster that excitement? When it comes to your product or service, your energy should be palpable. I should look to whomever I am with and say, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Example: One of the participants was extremely knowledgeable about her service. She knew every detail and as much as I wanted to give her a high score, I couldn’t because she had absolutely no enthusiasm during her delivery. At All. She didn’t smile once. It was so bad that we were all stunned into asking, do you even like your own product?

Moral: You must make people want to jump on your bandwagon and the easiest way to do that is to act as if you are happy to be on the bandwagon yourself.

The bottom line is if you expect others to believe in your brand or product then you must be prepared to be your own brand cheerleader first.

Recast Yourself: Stop Playing the Victim

It is absolutely impossible to elevate yourself personally and take your personal and professional life to the next level without taking 100% responsibility for every aspect of your life.

100%.  Yeah, I know. That is an incredibly tough pill to swallow. I speak from experience.

In my past, if an organization could have given an award for “best actress for playing the victim,” there is a time in my life when I could have easily won the Gold. Why? Because I went through life making excuses about what I couldn’t do, or go, or have because….

 “So and so didn’t do his/her part.”

“My husband.”

“My children.”

“Lack of funds.”

“No time.”

“I’m a mom.”

You get the picture. When I spotted a roadblock, my immediate defense mechanism wasn’t to ask what I did to cause that particular problem, instead, it was to spot other reasons I was experiencing it. I’m going to be quite honest. Even though it did feel good in the short term to shirk the blame, the results in the long-term were extremely detrimental. Why? Because you set yourself up to be a victim.

Victims never win—because they are always at the mercy of other people.

I can remember when I thought it would be impossible to be an international public speaker with three children at every age bracket (6, 13, 16) until I met someone who was doing it, and was equally engaged with even more children.

My natural default was I will wait until…

The thing about being a victim is often you are the last person to realize that you are suffering from it. However, chances are, those around you (if they are on an upward trajectory) can spot it a mile a minute.

You can never ascend to the level of your dreams and actualize your fullest potential until you take 100% responsibility for where you are and the decisions you made to get you there.

Recast yourself today by choosing a new role. Make the decision today who you want to be. If you had to pick one word to describe this new role what would it be?

Creative

Adventurer

Confident

Go buy a journal and write everything that you can about the person who would be cast in this new role. What is she like? How does she dress? Talk? How does she handle conflict? How does she spend her free time?

Now, vow to yourself that you will start living into this role until you truly embody it. Quite simply, that is how you move from victim to victor.  

Internal Branding: How To Program Your Mind For Success

When you look in the mirror, what do you SEE?

Be honest. An industry game changer? A successful entrepreneur? A smart or savvy woman? Or someone others are lucky to have on their team?

When you walk in a networking event or a conference room for a meeting, how do you FEEL? Do you feel confident and assured in your ability? Do you recognize what you bring to the table and feel others would be lucky to have you?

When you talk to yourself, what do you SAY? Are you smart, creative and always come up with the best solutions? Boy are you lucky, the world is always conspiring in your favor!

What about when you fail at a project, miss a deadline or come up short, do you feel that that particular circumstance sums up all of you, or are you able to isolate it and see it for what it really is…a project.

The way you speak to yourself is pretty much how the world will talk to you as well. So you want to make sure that if anybody has your back and is going to be affirming and supportive of you—it is you.

When I launched Brand id | Strategic Partners 8 years ago, I had no idea how much of an integral role that “internal branding™,” would play in our agency. In fact, at the launch of our agency, I hadn’t even come up with the concept of internal branding™ yet.

But over the years, I can’t stress the amount of times someone hired me for traditional personal branding and it was quickly determined that until they actually elevated how they viewed themselves, the world would never accept their Personal Brand. 

Here’s what I have come to recognize, “the world can’t see you any higher than you see yourself.” If you are struggling to truly recognize your value, your worth, what you bring to the table and what makes you so great, you had better believe that others are going to struggle with it as well. Here are a few ideas to help you break free of a disempowering internal dialogue. 

1.      Identify your Internal Dialogue: Get really clear about how you talk to yourself when others aren’t looking. Spend 36 hours finding out. Record the thoughts that float through your mind on your Smart Phone, jot your findings on a notebook that you carry around. Pay attention. Don’t judge, just pay attention. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.

2.     Personal Assessment: Next, ask yourself what you want to be known for? Are you known for that now? How do you want others to see you? Where are the gaps between how you would like to be known or seen and how you are currently seen? What can you do right now to begin closing it? 

3.     WOW File: What do you do to remember how great you are? It’s time to start an on-going file to remind you of all of the great things you have accomplished. Put everything from the latest congratulatory email to articles and awards. Visit it often. Let it serve as a foundational tool for your Internal Dialogue.

The amount of time you spend on elevating your mindset and making sure you see yourself at the highest level, simply can’t be overstated. It needs to be a priority. From this day forward, do what is necessary to be able to look in the mirror and see a WINNER.