Every month the Nazareth - Bath Chamber of Commerce hosts a networking lunch specifically designed to empower women but men are more than welcome. I attend from time to time. My company reserves two seats at the lunch each month and sometimes I am fortunate enough to attend.
Today's speaker was Michael Owen of the Heyman Talent Agency he discussed the importance of first impressions, self branding and how to present yourself. It was pretty interesting and gave attendees something to think about the next time we have 30 seconds to sell ourselves and or our product / service.
He ended with this amazingly poignant ad from Dove.
The ad asks women to describe themselves to a sketch artist and then it asks other women to describe the women to the same sketch artist. The differences are stunning. The women's self image were often very negative and the when they saw the sketch of the way others described them they were often surprised to see how beautiful others saw them. The room got very quiet.
A poor self image is not limited to women.
When I worked for a different company we were given pretty extensive self evaluations to write at the same time our supervisors were writing their evaluations of us. They were not allowed to read our self evaluations until we were officially given our evals, a follow up session was always scheduled to discuss the differences. For me these sessions always ended being a catharsis and encouraged me to believe in myself a little more. I was grateful that my raises and promotions were based on my bosses evaluations and not my own.
When I could afford a shrink (a platinum HC plan helps) we discovered pretty quickly that a lot of my humor was directed at myself and we set about figuring out why but we didn't dwell on the negative we worked on fighting that impulse. I have come a long way but I still have to fight to urge to make myself the punch line of all my stories or my Bitstrips. (I miss my shrink)
One of the things people notice once they get to know me is the ego and cockiness is pretty much a cover for a steaming cauldron of doubt and insecurities. I never expected to still be a work in progress at this advanced age but here I am.
But, at least I am still working at it.
Not continuing the fight is not an option.
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for those of you out there ready, willing and able to assist in that fight.