Seriously, do they even worry about it? If you are a thought leader – which means you have put some serious work into building your personal brand equity and professional credibility within the marketplace – do you get to run around in sweats and still be a thought leader?
I’m publishing a book later this year and have been looking at my avatar (social media-speak for photo used in conjunction with my personal brand). There’s a hair or two out of place, so I’ve been told. Time for a glamour photo? You know, I really didn’t notice there was a hair or two out of place. And, quite frankly, my hair doesn’t look perfect every day, or even through a string of days. Especially in humid weather. But my brain still works pretty well, no matter what my hair looks like, even if my makeup isn’t perfect, or my clothing isn’t the “latest.”
I was looking at the artistic license often applied to blog avatars and comparing them to the photos posted on LinkedIn profiles (we won’t even get into Twitter). Take Seth Godin (OK, he doesn’t have to worry about having a bad hair day), Dan Waldschmidt, Jill Konrath, and compare their avatars with the business photos posted on LinkedIn. No glamour shots there. Just real folks. The point is, what you see should equate with what you get. When you meet all of us in person, whether digital celebrities or LI professionals. When we open our mouths, when we blog, when we work directly with your team.
I guess it’s a matter of getting yourself beyond worrying about what it looks like to other people, you know, the “them” in your life, and focusing on what you deliver, consistently and passionately, to the marketplace day in and day out. If you are always marketing yourself to public opinion of what you feel your market expects you to look like, talk like, dress like, tweet like, well, I hope it’s consistent with the fundamental “you”. Otherwise it’s like having a split personality or two or three.
It’s difficult in the sales arena, with shifting quotas and different managers wanting different deliverables from you. Do you feel there is no consistency to the business spiel and techo jargon you are dishing out, one thing to one person, another thing to another person, hoping it “catches” and that you close a sale, win a contract. After all, the close of the third quarter is upon us all and the pressure will be mounting to bring in revenue. Even if we close a sale prematurely or win a smaller contract because we didn’t have the time or patience or self-confidence or corporate support to go after the longer close.
Give yourself permission to have a bad hair day. Because it’s more important for you to focus on the fundamentals of what you bring to your profession, daily, because you enjoy what you are doing and you want to become better at it. And becoming better at your profession may not be the same thing as jumping through other people’s hoops or making their goals and deliverables into yours. There may be a disconnect.
If you focus on becoming more proficient at your profession, and honing your craft, you will focus more on how you apply your skills for the benefit of your customers. You become the artist, the true professional. It isn’t so much about what “they” think anymore as much as it is about how you perceive yourself, professionally and personally.
When you are able to talk the talk and walk the walk, it really doesn’t matter if you have a bad hair day or two or three. Because that stuff doesn’t matter as much as being the “real deal” to yourself first and foremost. Your customers and company will “get it” because they’ll be on the receiving end of “you”, not “them.”
Give yourself permission to have that bad hair day. And spend the time it takes to become that thought leader your customers and prospects are really looking for.
Think about it.