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How Do You Want to Be Known?

IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum Virtual speaker Catlin O’Shaughnessy Coffrin examines the questions that can help you determine where you want to take your career, so that you can figure out how to get there.

By Catlin O’Shaughnessy Coffrin, Founder & CEO, Captivating Consulting

Originally posted at CaptivatingCo.com

This is the question that is on everyone’s minds these days. It keeps coming up in all of my conversations.

I know that I’m grappling with it myself and anytime that life throws a wrench your way – maybe with an unexpected layoff or fear of a layoff, or you might be the person left behind picking up the pieces after a massive change in your organization, or preparing for a pivot in your career and trying to figure out where you even want to go – it’s so important to spend the time with this question to begin to figure out your own answer to how you want to be known.

Because we can’t expect anybody to be able to help us get there if we aren’t clear and intentional in what we’re projecting about that.

It’s a tricky question that I find personally if I try to grapple with it head-on it can be really intimidating and difficult. But there’s a few ways around it where you can approach the question by thinking about things that are similar or related and see if it might help unlock something for you. I want to offer three of those here.

Question 1: What is my unspoken reputation?

This is a really good one to ask for help from people that you work with or have worked with in the past because I find that most organizations have something almost embedded to the point that we don’t even articulate it, that we tend to know and think about a lot of our colleagues. There’s people that everyone knows that you call when you’re stuck on a project or everyone knows that you call when a client’s really mad and you need to get out of a really sticky situation.

Do you know what yours is? What do people tend to come to you for so intuitively that no one’s ever stopped to even give voice to it? That is worth digging for. Let people help you with that.

Question 2: What is my footprint?

If you look back at your entire career, especially if you find seemingly unrelated roles, positions or companies – things that you have done that you’re proud of, and look back and say: after I did that thing, or after I was part of that team and I moved on, what did I leave in my wake? What changed for them six months or 12 months later?

If you can start to find patterns there, you’re going to start to really be onto something that you can work with.

Question 3: How do I want to help?

What do you want to be known for doing that helps other people? If you can connect the work that you do or the benefits that it offers to the value that it creates, then you’re going to be edging into a space that you can really connect to any industry or job role that you’re looking for.

So for example, in my work I do branding work but the reason I do this work is that I’ve seen what can happen when I give somebody else the recognition and the language that feels really true to them to describe who they are and what they stand for. That’s why I do branding work, that is so powerful.

I want to be known for helping others believe in themselves and believe in the power of their story so that they can amplify their voice.

If you can bring those pieces together and start to connect authentically what you’re known for – that unspoken truth, that impact and footprint you leave behind – to the facts that you’ve probably already been thinking about which are industries, areas of expertise, maybe the place that you want to pivot from and to, types of roles that you’re looking for, levels of seniority – pairing the two together are going to make it that much easier for people to understand who you are what you’re looking for very quickly.

And when you can tell that to people, you can start to convert everyone into a champion who’s beginning to look out for what you want and able to help guide you and possibly even lead you to your next big opportunity. So give it a try. Start testing it out. There’s a million ways to apply this and let me know how it goes. I’ll be so curious to hear what this does and what it unlocks for each of you.

关于作者

Catlin (Cat) O’Shaughnessy Coffrin is Founder & CEO of CaptivatingCo, which specializes in helping companies and leaders unearth the spark at the heart of their brand so they can amplify their impact in the world.

Drawing on decades of consulting clients across everything from the Fortune 50 to FinTech, from non-profits to the public sector, Cat draws on her background in purpose-driven marketing and strategy to help clients reconnect with what drives them and bring this forward in everything they say and do.

Prior to CaptivatingCo, Cat led the Washington, D.C. office and global insights division of a global marketing firm and conducted market research for the global green building movement. She began her career working on behalf of USAID in Sub-Saharan Africa. A Seattle native, she now lives in a small ski town in Vermont with her family and their two dogs.

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