You’ve heard there’s no “I” in team, right? Career coaches, bosses and the people you work with have told you never to take credit. Never say: “I did this project! Came up with the strategy, implemented the tactics and for sweeping up the tickertape (or shredded financial statements) from the parade, I’m happy to take credit for the success.”
You’ve seen MVPs on camera after nearly every winning series say, “It’s the team. It’s the fans. The coach was great. And, the real credit goes to the naysayers who really motivated me! But, me? Aw shucks. No. But, thank you, Mom!”
Is this any way to build your career? Can you be your own talent manager if you won’t acknowledge the talent? Is there really no “I” in team? Can you constantly be looking out for your co-workers, administrative assistant, staff, vendors, and your boss? Can you share all your resources with abandon, including the credit you’ve earned, and still have enough juice to make your way?
Being too trusting or too generous was considered a gender issue at one point in time. For example, Sheryl Sandberg wants women to lean in. My experience is that the gender issue is a bit dated when you look at the behavior of young managers today. After all, the Millennials made sure everyone in class got a valentine, there were enough cupcakes even for the losing team and no one needed a date for prom.
This fear of competition or perhaps appearing to be your own best spokesperson, have led the myth that the “I” word is a bad one. It’s not.
There is a “me” in team, if you work the letters a bit. As a career coach, I recommend you learn to take credit as much as you learn to share it. And, be careful what you give away, because your false sincerity much less your resentment about the lack of regard or that bonus you thought you deserved will drive opportunities and people away from you.
A more balanced approach is the only way to keep your career on track, according to Adam Grant, author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success. It’s great to be a “giver,” just make sure the recipients of your generosity are giving back in equal measure. They might not give back to you directly but make sure they are passing on your acts of kindness, generosity and encouragement.
Grant isn’t promoting a me-first, only me, and more about me philosophy. He notes that some of the great givers including philanthropists like Jon Huntsman, Senior and Richard Branson manage their generosity.
So, make a plan to dole out your credit, appreciation and other bounty appropriately. And, make sure your career strategy is like a good financial one: pay yourself first.
At the Personal Branding Bootcamp I ran at UCLA this last weekend, we focused more on crafting an authentic and compelling brand promise than we did on the tactics of social media and other ways you relentlessly go about letting the world know who you are.
Having given the inaugural personal branding bootcamp years ago, it occurred to me that we keep on you to blog, post, update your FB status, tweet, retweet and direct message, write a book, write an ebook, get subscribers, produce a slideshare presentation, get a blogtalkradio show going, get your video channel on YouTube and your photos on Flckr, take a head shot, and create a profile on 400 social media sites, plus make 4 million connections by the third degree of separation on LinkedIn. But we rarely talk about formulating your brand.
We presuppose you have a personal brand like we presume you have a belly button.
But that’s simply not the case for the great majority of people who are being thrust into social media. I know there’s a school of thought that says to throw the baby in the pool and it will learn to swim by necessity, but we know that’s not true. Why are we immersing you in dangerous territory that writes your reputation with indelible ink on servers around the world that forever hold your worst moments?
We should be helping you reveal who you are: values wise, skills wise and otherwise. We should help you identify your tribes and their unmet needs, and see your competition.
Instead you’re encouraged – actually threatened – that if you don’t get on tumblr.com now (or any one of the 4,000 new networking sites that will rear their content sucking monster heads soon), you’ll never be Chris Brogan who leapt onto Twitter really early on and now has 156,433 followers! Of course, he is forced to see the tweets of the 139,811 people he follows. And, he’s had to come up with 75,125 tweets.
I don’t know if I’ve had 75,000 thoughts since Twitter debuted! And, I’m getting married soon, so how would I come up with enough appetizers for 140,000 people, even if I did the tacky thing of making it a cash bar? If you do a wedding tweet-up, undoubtedly people will expect refreshments!
All by way of saying: stop being afraid that all the good personal brands are taken, you’ll never have a dot com and be stuck with a dot biz, or no one will ever hire you if you don’t have a video resume streaming from a drupal site you designed and manage yourself.
Just slow down and start with the first big question you must answer before you can create your brand. This question stumped most of my bootcampers, so you don’t have hit the buzzer and shout out an answer. It may take time.
When I say to you:
“I have the perfect opportunity for you!”
What is it?
Who has it?
Who competes for it?
What makes you the ideal thought-leader and lucky person who gets to do exactly what you want because it suits you so perfectly?
What additional steps, skills and qualities do you need to embody so you are ready?
Or in a nutshell: You are getting a lifetime achievement award. What it’s for? That’s your personal brand.
Images are an integral part of any marketing piece. I like to use the word “image” vs “photo” because many time the images we use are not photos! They may be charts, graphs, info-graphics or other types of illustrations.
Never before has there been such a vast quantity of accessible images available. And they have never been less expensive!
Although you can view many images with a quick Google search, you will NOT want to use these images in your marketing piece, unless you can obtain the rights to use them. When you just “download” images without regard for ownership, you are literally stealing them. Fortunately, there are many websites where you can get high quality legal images for next to nothing. The general term for these image banks is “Stock Photography.” It’s important to know your stock photography rights!
For those not familiar with purchasing stock images, let’s go over the two basic types:
The majority of stock photo images available today are in this category. You buy the image and you can use it over and over again without ever paying any royalties, hence the name.
Royalty-Free photos are usually inexpensive, especially if you are using the “small’ size image. There is a huge amount available for $5 or even less. The pricing can be a bit tricky as many site use a credit system. You first have to buy a block of credit and then apply those credits to the images you are purchasing. Pricing does vary, so you will want to check pricing as you go along. Although the images are inexpensive it is still not a nice surprise when one costs $50 when you are expecting to pay $5.
Note: Generally there are some restrictions to usage above and beyond what most people would do with the images. Such as offer them for resale, use than for the primary image of a print-on-demand item or use them more than 250,000 times!
Upside: Inexpensive, although prices do range it is always a good idea to check the pricing of an image.
Downside: Others people may be using the same images, as there are no restrictions.
Some images are right-managed, which means you pay for a specific usage and only that usage. Before the site will give you pricing they will ask you several questions about how the image is being used such as size, placement, media and distribution.
For example: A half page image used inside a text book will be a lower cost than a full page image used on a cover with a national distribution. Generally speaking these images are more expensive, in the hundreds of dollar range.
Upside: Generally higher-quality images, less dilution
Downside: More expensive and limited one-time usage
Stock photography is good for any general images. For example: Lifestyle images like a happy family, a group of businessman, the skyline of New York City or an ice cream cone.
Stock images are generally brand-free, meaning you will not be able to find image of specific items. For example: You won’t find pictures of Wheaties, Starbucks coffee, or Target Stores. It is hard to find any type of images featuring cars as their brands are so recognizable.
To find stock photo sites simply search for “Stock Photography.”
Note: There are many other kinds of stock sites, such as stock video and stock music!