Putting Yourself Out There for Greater Opportunities
Are you afraid to put yourself out there?
Well, I am too. I've gotten a lot better, but it's still hard for me to “let it rip”, state my opinion, and even press send on an email.
But when you don't put yourself out there – when you play small, and play it safe – you really miss out.
Putting yourself out there is necessary if you want to achieve anything terrific in your life, whether it's getting that promotion or a great job opportunity, or even finding the love of your life.
One of the best things I’ve done is to start my blog and today’s post is my 200th!
I’ve published a post every week for almost four years. I can hardly remember a time when I didn't do them! And it's a core part of my mission to serve a million people and help them be better, do more, and make the difference they're meant to make in the world.
Many executive coaches, speakers, and authors don’t publish a blog, so it has really helped differentiate me. Looking back, it would have helped me stand out when I was in the corporate world as well.
What I Learned From Creating 200 Blog Posts
I’ve learned many lessons along the way to this 200th post. I want to share with you nine of those lessons that can help you advance in your career too.
You convey your brand when you put yourself out there, whether it's through a blog post, an article, a talk or some other way. You get on people's radars and start to get noticed. And that's good for you, because you've got talent. So when you put yourself out there and get noticed, it's going to be for something positive.
By putting myself out there, I'm getting new clients and new partners. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have people emailing me to ask if they can work with me. That can happen for you too.
When you put yourself out there, people are going to be able to find you and learn about your capabilities. They’ll want to become your clients, or do business with you, or join in on projects you're working on.
This comes from getting over your fear of putting yourself out there. And you only get over your fear by putting yourself out there more and more.
In my case, the confidence also came from learning to “get over myself”. I remember thinking when I first started blogging, “What if everybody reads this? It has to be perfect or I’ll look bad.” Then somebody said to me, “You should be so lucky that everybody’s reading this.” It's called the “Oprah complex”. So don’t let the “Oprah complex” keep you from putting yourself out there.
Once I realized I’m not in any danger of becoming Oprah, the opposite fear came into my mind, which was, “What if nobody reads this?”
Whatever it is that you fear, put it aside and just get going – do it, put yourself out there. You’re going to gain a whole lot of confidence.
A New Perspective
I’ve learned to take the other person’s perspective rather than just my own. When you put yourself out there, remember to take the perspective of your audience, and in my case, of my readers.
So this is not about writing only what I want to write about. It’s about figuring out what is going to be engaging and helpful to you, and what I’m excited to write about too.
This kind of perspective will help you in your career. When you present things in a way that starts with the other person’s perspective, you’ll be better able to influence outcomes and results.
In this day and age, you’ve got to keep current because things change so fast that it’s easy to become outdated. The key skill I’ve developed is being able to master media.
What I mean by mastering media is that you learn to write and convey your messages in a way that lands with other people. That’s different from writing memos – that kind of “cut and dried” language is not the way to win hearts and minds. So this aspect of mastering media will give you a competitive edge because not everybody takes the time to do that.
Another aspect of mastering media is doing video. I started out being a little nervous about video. I still remember getting media training in a studio using a teleprompter. Boy, was I bad! But it’s just about practising. The more you do it, the better you’ll become.
A third thing about mastering media is getting comfortable with social media platforms. This is useful because it’s how you get your message out more broadly. By the way, I hope you have at least a LinkedIn account. If you don’t, go and get one. It’s free so there is no excuse. And upload a professional looking photo of yourself. It’s how people check you out before meeting you or hiring you, so make sure you show up.
Learning About Yourself
When I started putting myself out there, I learned a ton about myself and you will too. I learned what my voice is and what my style is. I experimented with a lot of different ways and that helped me figure out what suits me best.
You’ll also learn how you come up with ideas. That’s really useful because we all need to be creative and Innovative these days. The way I like to come up with ideas is in the daily course of my life. Ideas just pop up into my mind when I see things, read things.
I carry a pen and notepad so I can jot down ideas as they occur to me. I don’t do so well if I just lock myself away for half a day and have to come up with ideas. Whatever your way is, figure out how to make it easy for you.
Open your eyes to different perspectives and new ways of seeing things. That’s what helps you to be innovative, which is important for moving ahead in your career.
A Body of Work
We all need to have a body of work out there that people can find. By putting out blog posts week after week for almost four years, I now have a body of work that helps people know who I am and what I stand for before they ever meet me or contact me. And that’s been really helpful.
Your body of work will show your intellect, your sense of humour, your personality. You’ll appreciate having your material out there – it not only helps others learn from your expertise, it makes it less necessary to “brag” because your ideas are out there to speak for you. So I strongly urge you to create your body of work.
By the way, in addition to differentiating you, it’s not that hard. You just have to have a LinkedIn account (and no, I don’t work for LinkedIn!) and then start posting articles and re-posting other people’s articles. It’s an easy way to give people a sense of who you are, what you care about, and all the while you’re adding value to others.
Systems and Habits Lead to Mastery
In the process of blogging, I’ve learned that it really does take that “10,000 hours” equivalent to master something. And along the way to mastering something, it’s important to create a system or a series of habits that will make it easier for you to keep going.
When I wrote my first blog post, it took me weeks. Then I got it down to three days. And now I could do one in three hours if I have to. The easiest way for me to do it is to outline my thoughts and then just say it in a video. Then I send it to my team who get it transcribed. Then they edit the transcript to make it more readable and I do the last edit so that it reflects the ideas I want to get across.
So, keep practicing to achieve mastery and create a system to make it easier to continue, whatever way you decide to put yourself out there.
Judge Less, Create More
I’ve learned to be less judgmental because when you’re creating things and being innovative, judging too early is a real killer of any great idea.
So, you want to start with creating and only creating. Then after you’ve gotten to a certain point where you’ve got a first draft or version, then you judge and edit. But don’t judge and edit too soon.
How to Get Started
If you decide to start writing articles or blogging to put yourself out there, then there are four things you need.
There are weeks when I don’t have inspiration. There are weeks when I’m tired and don’t feel like writing a blog post. But I do it because I’m committed to doing it and I feel great afterwards.
Sometimes, the ones that I thought were the worst efforts on my part turn out to be the ones that added the most value to people, and have the most comments and views. So you never know.
2. A place to post your articles
That could be LinkedIn. If it’s more a social thing, it could be Facebook. Or it could be your webpage – it’s super easy to set one up these days and I’m sure you’ve got a niece, nephew or somebody else who’s a teen or a 20-something who can do that for you.
3. “Bite-sized” ideas
You don’t need a huge theory or thesis, and nobody wants to read my version of War and Peace, and probably not yours either. So you want to have bite-sized ideas, which are easier for you to develop.
4. The ability to press ‘Send’
That was the hardest thing for me – pressing send. It once took me three months just to press send. What I do now is I team up with people who have no fear of pressing send. I give my stuff to them and permission to press send. So, you can team up with somebody too if that’s hard for you.
I want to thank you for reading, watching, subscribing to this blog. And I want to share how much I appreciate when you comment, and when you let me know that something I’ve shared has helped you in some way to be a better person, to be more successful, to get results that you’ve always wanted to get.
How are you going to put yourself out there so you can be seen, heard, recognized, rewarded and have all those great opportunities you want in your life?
Leave me a comment and let know.
Thank you May for this article. Have been thinking of doing this and you have showed me how.
That’s great, Shireen. Looking forward to hearing how you choose to put yourself forward! Please share any links so we can cheer you on.
Exactly what I need! Thank you May
Terrific, O.T. Please share any links with us so we can cheer you on too!
I can relate to this so much! I have been wanting to start my blog for the last six months but just too ‘afraid to put myself out there’ and press go. This has reminded me that everybody has to start somewhere and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Everything comes with practise. Thanks for the post. It has inspired me to at least post this comment!
Hi Esther – Congratulations on posting this comment! And it’s a great one. I’d love to read your blog post – please share a link.
Remember that “done” is better than “perfect”. And as Seth Godin says, you have to ship. Or in this case, press send! The world deserves to benefit from your ideas and insights.
This post is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! Totally can relate to it. Thanks May for sharing the process behind the way you are leading. This has changed my mindset and I would be more intentional with the work I am creating to share with the world. Thank you, May Bush!
You are welcome, Olutope. I appreciate your kind words, and encourage you to share what you know with the world. Keep going!
Thank you so much for this post. I loved the honesty, and the openness you brought to a topic that can be very raw. Your accomplishment encourages me to keep going – to keep putting myself out there – no matter how daunting it feels. The more I do it the more mastery I can achieve.
I WANT A NEW WORKD TO OPEN UO TO ME. I DONT WANT TO STRUGGLE ANYMORE TO MAKE MONEY AMD MOVES.