Start Your Legacy to Stay on Top of People’s Minds
As I sit in my living room on this Saturday before Labor Day 2020, I am scrapping for a topic to write about for this article.
Not only are 7.8 billion people dealing with the pandemic, but millions are also fed up with the political unrest that has mucked up a crucial message.
With that, a lot of us are forced to pivot away from careers we have known, perhaps even all our lives.
On the plus side, companies are hiring. Multiple clients of mine have proven that fact, so we at least have that to motivate us.
Nonetheless, family and friends solidify their position at the very top of our priorities overnight if they were not before.
Some of us can start a new job in the next hour, but companies have slowed down. Some want to start but can’t because schools have not figured out how to relieve working parents of the burden of childcare during work hours. Some are simply scared of returning to work for health reason.
Whatever the case may be, the job search process has just got a lot longer.
What a year 2020 has turned out to be.
What does it mean?
It means we need to be prepared for the long haul.
I am not recommending that we drag it on and on. I am saying that we need to stay consistently active, productive, and generous despite our hardships.
It means staying memorable.
Starts with Self
Every morning after breakfast, I scroll through my LinkedIn news feed for five minutes to see what is happening with my connections.
And every morning for the past two months, I am bound to encounter one post of someone begging for a job.
Believe me. I know what it feels like to experience long-term unemployment. Check my LinkedIn profile if you wish.
When we need an income, we quickly become desperate. How can we not?
But it is counterproductive to project a public image of desperation, especially now, because it negatively affects our mental health and trustworthiness.
So the first thing we need to do is get rid of our desperation. If not, at least reduce it.
Similar to Suzy Orman’s famous 8-month emergency fund, we need to salvage our energy and emotions.
Be grateful for what we have.
Be proud of our past accomplishments.
Be compassionate to ourselves for all our misfortunes.
And most importantly, be generous.
Sadly, this is easier said than done for many, so if we ever feel like we cannot handle it, we must throw our ego out the window and seek professional help. Even simply talking to other people like members of my Job Hunters’ Support Group eases the pain twofold.
Work on Personal Branding
Once we are mentally at a better place, it is time to turn our attention to personal branding.
How do we want others to perceive us?
Most of us have worked on this once in the past and never again.
What we do not realize is that our personal brand evolves throughout our lifetime.
So while we are not preoccupied with work, this is the best moment to do a makeover.
In fact, if we replace work with caring for others, we have the opportunity to involve those people in this creative process by asking for their input, whether they are family, kids, or friends.
Now, if we google personal branding these days, websites often emphasize social media. They will talk about how to take advantage of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
By all means, if we want to be an online influencer, then we must optimize all those platforms. Otherwise, we at least have to use LinkedIn and make sure the others are not smearing our name.
What we want to do is build the foundation for our personal brand so that we can eventually create our personal branding statement, which we can use as our resume summary.
By foundation, I am talking about explicitly writing down your core values, passions, and strengths. For me, this is the most difficult part of the process, but, like I said, our family and friends are there to help us with this.
One big reason desperation is so distasteful is because it is regarded as thoughtlessly selfish. Being desperate is a sign that we only cares about our own unfortunate situations even when our family depends on us.
Desperation usually prompts us to ask and wait for something good to happen.
However, we have heard of countless cases when desperation catapulted someone from rags to riches. Matt LeBlanc had only $11 to his name when he got the news that he would become Joey on Friends. Chris Gardner went from living in a homeless shelter as a single father to selling his multi-million dollar brokerage firm. Sara Blakely turned her last $5000 savings into a billion-dollar hosiery company.
What’s the difference?
These three top dogs have faith and used their desperation as fuel to hustle on their own.
To hustle does not include begging others. It involves being proactive without it.
Observe and learn what our situation needs.
Pull the trigger on a well-thought out business idea.
Market and create buy-in.
This translates to having an entrepreneur mindset, and we do not have to be an entrepreneur to have one.
Last week, while I was searching for more insights on David Epstein’s book, Range, I came across Dorie Clark.
A marketing and strategy consultant, Clark wrote Reinvent You and Entrepreneurial You as well as speaking at numerous universities and companies.
I watched her TED Talk and she pointed out something that is so obvious and somehow no one else has dared to put it in words.
It has been common advice that when we network — whether it is on LinkedIn or otherwise — the “best” way to learn about someone or about his/her company is to ask for an information interview, perhaps over coffee or over the phone.
That may seem like a good idea at first, but if we have ever been on the receiving end of this request, we know at the end of the day that this conversation is about the requester needing a job. And to many people, this is, again, a turn-off.
Clark suggests that rather than asking for a short interview, a better approach would be to offer the person something of value to him or her.
She provides examples such as asking the person to be on our podcast (which is how The Art of Charm podcast has developed its audience) or requesting an interview to put in a newsletter.
Oh, and how about conducting a conversation with this person so that you can post it as a LinkedIn post?
That way, you can ask for advice from the expert, and the expert can gain visibility and publicity.
Of course, this is not the only method to attract attention. If we listen and understand the challenges that people and industries are going through, then we can conjure up and offer solutions to them. No one would ever ignore possible solutions to a problem.
To be memorable to other people, we must know what we want them to remember us for.
Do we want to be remembered for our values and passions?
Do we want to be remembered for being a go-getter?
Do we want to be remembered for helping them out?
And the more those with the power to hiring us remember us, the higher the chances are that they will follow-through later.
In the meantime, be compassionate to ourselves and to others. Strengthen our resilience. And proactively work in our own terms.