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MASTERING THE ART OF REINVENTING YOURSELF

 

Have you ever had an experience where you meet someone and instantly see the potential they have within just those few, short minutes? It’s one of my superpowers – and in the CliftonStrengths it’s called being a Maximizer. The ability to focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence.

My husband and I visited the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, SC this past weekend for a little R&R. When we arrived, we went out on the patio to enjoy the beautiful sunset and sit in front of the fire. At the same time another couple joined the warmer chairs close to the fireplace and we introduced ourselves.

The wife, Christina, is a 5th grade school teacher in Columbia, SC. As a former 7th grade school teacher myself, I shared in the sentiment that teaching is still – by far – the hardest job I’ve ever had. Christina proceeded to share that this year would be her final year and she had began thinking about what she would do next. She was at the Grove Park celebrating her 50th birthday. In my mind I thought, “50 used to sound so old.” Now that I will be turning 50 this year, I have to say… 50 feels like the new 30! 💃💃💃

I asked Christina what she was thinking about doing next. “I told Dave I thought I would be excellent at answering phones and making coffee,” she said. Of course, like the good husband he clearly is, he encouraged her that she had so much more to offer. And after 30 minutes, I could also tell that Christina had a LOT more to offer too…

-a huge heart dedicated to helping others
-the ability to win others over and establish rapport quickly
-strong organization and planning skills
-and so much more.

This exchange was so profound for me. It had me wondering why it’s so hard to see ourselves as others see us. How when we are in the middle of the journey, we can’t seem to see our own strengths or articulate our value to others who may consider us for something outside of our current role and/or title. If you find yourself in this “new chapter” of life, whether you are changing industries, jobs, careers, or returning to work after raising your kids or helping sick parents, let me encourage and assure you… You CAN land a new job you love and thrive!

I’m living proof of this. I transitioned from a school teacher making $24,600 per year into a salesperson making six-figures in just 3 short years.

Here are my keys to successfully reinventing yourself:

TIP #1: UNDERSTAND YOUR IDEAL CLIENT

Your ideal client is that one person who finds what you have to offer absolutely irresistible. They know you understand their pain and they see the solution you have to offer in order to alleviate them. Impress your ideal client by avoiding questions about hours, vacation/PTO, and other mundane questions that only matter once you’ve landed the job and focus on the strategic questions, such as:

What are your goals?
What do you want/need most from this role?
What are your biggest frustrations and pain points?
What outcomes do you dream and desire the most from hiring this role?
For a complete list of the best questions, download our Ideal Client Interview Guide today.

TIP #2: KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS

In The Next Level we utilize the CliftonStrengths 34 Assessment to drill down into our strengths. I find this report particularly helpful as it also provides insight into what your strengths are. Strengths are defined as your innate talents that you can do with near perfect performance – I call them your “superpowers.” When I started my job search as a school teacher, I knew I wanted to do sales. Pre-CliftonStrengths, I had to think about how to position my strengths in a meaningful way for the sales manager who hired me. I knew two things about myself: I was a winner and a great teammate. I used my stories about playing basketball in high school and college, or being named the Rookie Teacher of the Year to reinforce that I had a solid background competing and winning and that I did it leading other teammates to higher levels as well.

Think about the meaningful stats, impactful stories and memorable sound bytes you can share about yourself. Really think about how to elevate your brand so it stands out – how can you previous experiences be a competitive advantage? How does it improve your perspective around challenges the company may face?

TIP #3: BE RESILIENT

Now for the bad news…rejection is imminent. Don’t take it personal and know that rejection increases your chance that the next person will say yes. Use rejection to fuel your resolve and commitment to overcome objections. Not everyone will see all that you have to offer. At first they won’t see it because you have not practiced your pitch or refined your stories. Others may never be able to understand how you can transition from a teacher to a top salesperson or from a lawyer to a CEO of a nonprofit or from running risk management for an insurance company to becoming an IT Director. Allocate at least one hour every day to doing your homework, honing your craft and looking for ways to connect through your network to key decision makers. And this leads me to my final tip…

TIP #4: GET THE PERSONAL INTRODUCTIONS

Nothing speeds things along faster than a personal introduction and endorsement from a trusted advocate. Mention to everyone you know, like and trust that you are looking to change jobs. Become a part of the community you want to join – attend conferences, networking groups, and meet ups. Become part of the online conversation. Share your target client list and how you think you can help XYZ company given your strengths. And then ask – very specifically – for a personal introduction. Best practice is to have them send an email and CC: you asking for the client to make some time to meet you. Here is a great example to share with your advocate:

Dave,

I’d like in introduce you to Shannon. Shannon and I have known each other for over 10 years (establishes long history of relationship) and she is pursuing a change in her career. Home Depot is at the top of her list of prospects (establishes high level of interest) and I know you all are always looking for great talent. Shannon is a very quick learner, establishes very strong relationships inside and outside of her organization and is already pursuing her certification in project management (shows initiative). At a minimum, I know you would enjoy meeting Shannon and after meeting her will thank me for this introduction (establishes confidence) as she is simply outstanding!

I will let you two take it from here to find a good time on the calendar to visit (presumptive sell to set an appointment).

Tricia

Note: it takes approximately 4 touches to schedule an appointment made through a personal introduction from my experience. Refer back to tip #3: Be resilient! Knowing where your hurdles come from can help you face them with persistence and resiliency. Don’t take it personal.

Envision yourself 90 days from now, sitting in your new office, with your new business card, working with your new team in your new company. The more vivid the detail, the more real it will seem and the more you will focus on turning your thoughts into actions. Reinventing yourself takes persistence, diligence and commitment.

 

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