I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting at a dinner party with a group of friends when my name came up: “You need to meet Jennifer Ransaw Smith; she is an amazing motivational speaker.”
Hmm. Motivational speaker?
I looked over at my friend (who had hired me on numerous occasions) with my eyebrow slightly lifted and said “motivational speaker?” And he said, “what’s wrong with that?”
That was a pivotal moment for me because I found myself staring a stark reality in the eye. Why is it that those closest to me don’t really know what I do?
The thing is, I’ve never been shy about talking about what I do, especially since I became an entrepreneur almost seven years ago. And the truth is, I speak a lot, and am known to really motivate, but that isn’t all that I do. In fact, the “motivation” is a by-product of my true talent, which is helping people leverage their skills and talents to position themselves as industry experts and/or thought leaders.
What I learned more than anything is that we must be crystal clear in how we want to be positioned or thought of in the marketplace, or else others will fill in the blanks for us. Don’t leave it to chance. People look at you from the outside and automatically begin to make their own interpretation of who you are and what you do. They can’t help it; it’s human nature.
I realized that I had spent the previous year talking a lot about my public speaking and so, naturally, the assumption could be made looking in from the outside that I was out there motivating – when in fact, I was speaking to hundreds of people about personal brand elevation.
So let me ask you, do others see you the way that you see yourself? What would they say to a friend when introducing you? Is there a gap in how you want to be perceived and how you are actually perceived? It’s time to find out now.