On Sunday nights at 8 pm, my co-host and I have a live show where we invite our audience to join us in having real-life conversations. There is usually one topic that is announced on the day of the show, and people tune-in to hear not only our opinions, but the opinions of anyone bold enough to share. We always ask the person joining us to introduce themselves to us and our live audience, and we noticed that many people do not take advantage of the moment to “sell” themselves. Often, they will just say their name or what city they are from and proceed to answer the question of the day. The term “shameless plug” refers to someone using any opportunity they have to promote their own self-interest. Although the connotation of the word may be a bit negative, I must admit that I respect the effort. Even if I do not agree with someone’s approach, I always try to learn or understand why they do things the way that they do. My hope is that by the end of this post, you also gain respect for the shameless plug and learn a thing or two about taking advantage of any situation.
Unfortunately, when you are not aware of what you have to offer people or the marketplace, you are not able to capitalize in networking situations. I do believe that there is a time and a place for everything, and nobody is saying that you should turn into a 24/7 salesperson but learn to always shine. Being self-aware and expectant can turn a regular meeting or conversation into your next breakthrough moment. Some of us have programmed our minds to be so pessimistic that we miss out on these instances. It is sad to know that you may have already had an entire conversation with your destiny helper (the person who has the keys to the door you need open), but you were too shy or unaware to share about yourself. The shameless plug may be seen as annoying, but there is a reason why we call them shameless. Sometimes, you have to be okay with taking the risk of putting yourself out there.
It is a fallacy to believe that God puts every solution directly into your lap. You can be the most talented person in the world, but if you never post that video or get on that stage, you will die with that untapped talent. Some people are waiting to be \”discovered” and are expecting this magical fairytale of an opportunity, but end up aging right before their eyes with nothing to show for it. I hope this is not you, but even if it is (because I have been there before), you should be able to learn a few helpful tips on breaking out.
- Self-awareness is key.
- If I ask you who you are, it is not enough to share your name and your birthplace. This is common information that I could have found out about you in public records. Being self-aware is tough because it is something you have to work for. It is not given to you like your name. It takes digging and truly becoming conscious of your purpose. In order to display and share your gifts boldly, you need to know what they are and how to use them. “Me” days go beyond pampering yourself occasionally. Take time and have “purpose” days as well. These are days where you assess and challenge your gifts. There may be talents lying dormant on the inside of you that are seeking expression, and it is up to you to wake them up. Self-awareness is difficult for people because it is something that does not involve others; it is completely personal. What I love about self-awareness is that it forces you to stop relying so much on people’s opinion on you and begin to build your own beliefs on yourself. [This entire point deserves its own blog post, so stay tuned for that in the future.]
- Imagine the conversation.
- I remember seeing a debate on whether you should take $500,000 or a dinner date with Jay Z. I always knew that I would take the money, but of course I thought about the pros to accepting dinner instead. People are so invested in meeting celebrities or influential people, but they do not actually know what they would want to accomplish or even ask for from that encounter. Think about a highly influential person you would like to meet and start imagining what a conversation with them would be like. After you get through the initial introductions, are you just going to stand around and be a fan the entire time? I hope not because they will probably walk away from you. You can have dreams to be in certain rooms or in the company of greatness, but the road to those rooms starts with your imagination. The reason why you have not met some of these influential people on your bucket list is because you have nothing to say. The moment you identify the goal of that conversation, it will give you fuel and ambition to establish that connection. In the meantime, unearth the things about yourself that make you interesting or valuable, so that you do not just receive a quick photo and a hug, but a meaningful dialogue.
- Learn to identify windows.
- This point takes patience and emotional intelligence, but if you desire to get it right, you will. To avoid being labeled as a shameless plug (even though we respect their hustle), you must learn to identify windows in any conversation. Sometimes, the windows are obvious. In our live show every Sunday, we ask our guests to introduce themselves so they should have no fear or issue in sharing a quick pitch on what they do. This also goes for networking events or conferences; everyone is there to meet someone, so people use every window to brag about themselves a bit. However, I am speaking more to the moments that are not so obvious. You need to start to see windows in almost every conversation you have. The better you get at seeing these opportunities, the better you will get at promoting yourself effectively. Let’s say you are a hairstylist and at a doctor’s office where someone compliments you on your hair that you did yourself. It takes a few seconds to thank them, but only a few more seconds to tell them that you did it and share some contact information. If you have been imagining these conversations, you would hopefully already have a business card, landing page, social media, or something to leave behind that would create that connection. Even if this person never reaches out to you, it is great practice for you to get comfortable in talking about yourself. I cannot stress enough the importance of identifying small windows in a conversation where you can tell someone about yourself and what you have going on. It is okay if they do nothing with that information because this is about you promoting yourself and becoming more confident in your abilities.
For this week’s challenge, please schedule some “purpose” days/time. Use those days to think about what you have to offer the world, imagine the conversations you could have regarding these offerings, and start learning and practicing how to identify windows. Not everyone is full of confidence all the time, but one day you have to decide to be shameless in pursuing your purpose, and shine for the world to see.
Remember that you can always schedule a complimentary consultation with me here if you want to discuss this or any blog post further. One of my service offerings is life coaching because I believe in personal development truly affecting your growth in business and other areas of your life. I look forward to meeting you!