The Importance of Swagger
At one of my first jobs I messed up. Not a huge mistake but looking back I did everything wrong, making it seem much worse than it was.
I can't remember exactly what happened but I'm sure I made an error with some paperwork and my boss (who I'm still convinced didn't really like me to begin with) was not happy. I was really upset, I cared about my work and impressing my peers and boss.
I apologized, took the blame, and wore the stress on my face for about a week. My naive thinking was that people would see how much I cared. They would know how invested I was.
I look back and think, 'Oh sweetie.'
Since then I've learned over and over again the importance of confidence and to a certain extent, swagger. My coworkers wanted to be assured that whatever was in my hands was handled and I'm sure seeing me fall apart over one mistake was not reassuring. If I had apologized and then put on a face of confidence, I'm positive that mistake would have been forgotten.
The reason I bring this up is because I believe that women (and people early in their careers) could do with more confidence and swagger. Note: that means still being open to new ideas, being humble, and working hard to back up that swagger.
No surprise, women lag professionally
Sadly women face so many challenges and disadvantages in the workplace and we need to take advantage of anything that will help. Scientific studies back up what we've been thinking for a while now too, that confidence will help you get ahead and reach your professional goals.
Any woman (and probably minorities too) can tell you personal antidotes about being passed up for promotions, being treated unequally, and facing microaggressions regularly.
We even recently heard of another marketing agency that is run by two women who have a fake marketing manager, 'Michael' in which they send out emails because they have a better success rate of response when the recipients think they are speaking with a male.
From personal experience, I can say that most of the people in these situations aren't doing it consciously and would probably swear they don't see gender or race.
One small step, know your worth and show it
This is not intended to be an in-depth look at workplace inequality (we'll save that for the experts!), but as entrepreneurs, the importance of confidence and even a bit of swagger has become crystal clear.
For us it's simple, anyone who is thinking of working with us needs to be assured that they're in good hands. That we'll take care of them and look after their needs. Nobody wants to hire us, give someone a promotion, or partner with someone when they think they might be taking a risk.
I can remember the first time I asked for a big pay increase when I was looking for a new job and not only did I get it but I felt I was taken much more seriously when I started. It set the tone that I was serious, capable, and an expert.
It can be difficult, especially in marketing because there are no clear-cut answers. It's too tempting to be cautious and warn our clients that certain strategies might not work or even fail.
Here's the other thing we discovered way too late in our careers; confidence doesn't just come to you one morning. You have to work and practice at it. All. The. Time. You can find endless advice and strategies to help you boost your confidence online. We love the idea of practicing speaking in front of the mirror in your Wonder Woman pose or practicing important discussions with your friends outside of work.
One of my personal favourites is blasting some Beyonce before a big meeting. What's yours?