I was moderating a panel of absolutely exceptional women earlier this week, all of whom are incredibly accomplished in the corporate arena. The conversation was fun and funny – the gals were really open about sharing their experiences in a way that didn’t buffer the truth, which was refreshing and inspiring for the audience.
That said, I couldn’t help but notice that when it came time to talk about what these women perceived to be their ‘remarkable’ qualities, the things that got their name brought up when they weren’t there, their personal brand, what they were known for being…they all dodged. One by one as they approached the question, they said something to the effect of “I don’t think I’m remarkable…” Huh?
I couldn’t stop thinking about this.
And I think the reason I had such a hard time with this is that as an entrepreneur and a business owner, it is my #1 job to build my brand. The brand being, the conversation that people have about me and my company when I’m not in the room. If I don’t take responsibility for this – the market will decide what space I own, and us entrepreneurs know, we cannot afford to let that happen.
It’s interesting, since I could sense the uncomfortableness the panelists all felt, I even saw their body language change – as they all leaned away from me as I posed the question, sort of like they didn’t want to have to ‘experience’ their discomfort. I can’t help but wonder, if that was 4 Entrepreneurial women, would their response have been the same? I doubt it, since every entrepreneur I know, LEAPS, at the chance to talk about their unique, and therefore remarkable qualities. (We never pass up an opportunity to market!)
I also wondered about the gender thing. As a general rule, I do find that women often minimize their accomplishments – talking about ‘luck’ and ‘right place right time’. Guys don’t typically apologize for this kind of thing, nor do they describe it as ‘luck’. They’d tell the story of how they hustled to get in that room, nailed their elevator pitch and therefore landed that meeting….or whatever it may have been. They describe luck as their preparation meeting the opportunity – rarely have I ever heard a guy not take responsibility for his success.
Nothing against any of the women – I absolutely LOVED them all and I think they had great nuggets of wisdom and advice for the audience – I look forward to getting to know them better over time and I’m sure before long I will be able identify those remarkable qualities they all have.
In the meantime – I ask you…what makes you remarkable? Are you comfortable answering this question?
To be continued….