Friday, March 28, 2008

Fierce Friday!

by Karen D. SwimFierce Kitty photo courtesy of Johnny Huh, Flickr

This week an issue surfaced which so resonated with me that it has reignited a passion that was in danger of flickering. It began with a fiery post by Connie Reece, whom I have since designated the "Queen of Fierce." Please read her original post, 5 White Men Talk About Social Media and the follow-up 4 White Men Exploit Social Media.

A common thread from Connie's readers was the issue of self-promotion. We may have come a long way baby, but women still struggle with the issue of tooting their own horn.

My first post-college job was in human resources and I had a female boss, Liz. I will never forget her wise words: "Women promote themselves in baby steps. We will not move to the next level until we are confident that we can do everything outlined in that level's description. Men on the other hand promote themselves to the level of incompetency. They take big risks and if they don't know something, they call a friend and ask for help."

Liz's words still hold true for many women today. I learned to take risks in my corporate career but I find myself learning the lessons all over again in my own business, and I am not alone. Many women lived through the era were you had to "act like a man" to be heard. Emotion and femininity had no place in the workplace. Over the years, we learned that "leading like a woman" actually had advantages. A healthy balance of warmth and warrior have skyrocketed women and men to success.

Women are great at supporting others but we still fall short when it comes to waving our own flag. It is time for that to change. Self-promotion does not have to be aggressive or obnoxious but it is vital to the health of your career or business. Do you have knowledge, skills and abilities that have value?
Do you have expertise that can help someone else? Do you have a solution to someone else's problem or need? If so, you should be passionately spreading the word so that you can help as many people as possible. Welcome to self-promotion.

Far too often, I have missed opportunities because I failed to wave my own banner. I shortchanged myself and thought somehow that I was not "good enough" or "well known enough" to blow my own horn. While I will not promote myself to the level of incompetency, I do plan to shout a little louder about what I have to offer. While I'm shouting, I'll also be spreading the word about other fierce women and men. So today marks the beginning of Fierce Friday. Each week, I'll share with you the remarkable talents of those fierce enough to wear the crown.

So to kick off Fierce Fridays it's only fitting to spotlight the Queen and her fierce team of men and women. Every Dot Connects is taking social media to a new level by creating connections through conversation. I invite you to visit their site, share your comments digg or stumble a post or two, and please share the good news with others.

Until next Friday, remain FIERCE!


Joanna Young said...

I'm not sure about shouting Karen, but tooting your own horn - definitely.

Or maybe writing like a fire-breathing dragon :-)

My inspiration to toot sweetly came from my blogging mentor Rosa Say.

You might enjoy it


Alina Popescu said...

Karen, you are quite right about women failing to promote themselves properly. They sometimes are too modest for their own good, especially in today's world where people almost never take the time to discover the true value in others.

Brad Shorr said...

Karen, I suppose it can be tricky for women to promote themselves, but don't you think the virtual marketplace levels the playing field? It seems that many women have done amazing work building businesses through smart Web marketing, blogs, etc. (BTW, thanks for your feta cheese comment on my blog. Weirdly, it disappeared, maybe lost in the shuffle as I transfered my site to a new hosting service.)

Words For Hire said...

@ Joanna I love your toot sweet approach and thank you for sharing Rosa's link, she is definitely fierce too!

@Alina together I hope that we can all change that!

@ Brad, judging by what I'm hearing and personally experiencing the virtual marketplace has not made it easier. It has helped us enter the market but many of us are still not comfortable marketing ourselves. I am so glad that you stopped by because I believe the true value is in men and women supporting one another and sharing the different perspectives. My fierce Fridays will not be limited to women as I want to also support people like you who give so much to others.

You all have made my day! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Soon I'll move to word press and this process will be much easier!

liveslessordinary said...

Speaking as someone from the UK, I find self promotion difficult. Speaking as a Scottish woman, it is damn near impossible for me blow my own horn and not feel horrendously squeemish about it afterwards. You see, self deprecation is the only sport we Scots truly excel in...well, that and elephant polo (don't ask!).
As my blog grows and my social network widens, however, I find that I am being forced to face the fear of self promotion and do it anyway. As I told Joanna recently, my key word for 2008 is AUDACITY and I use it as my touchstone every time I seek the limelight.
Anyway, I absolutely throw my full force behind your Fierce Friday initiative. Would that we all were a little more fierce in our day to day dealings.

Brenda Thompson said...

hi Karen, thanks for this thoughtful post. Love the concept of Fierce Fridays and look forward to checking back for more inspiration!

Connie Reece said...

Karen, finding your post the first thing this morning was a wonderful way to start my day. I'm honored by your tribute and crazy-happy over being the first one to be spotlighted on Fierce Friday. -- HRF Connie (Her Royal Fierceness :)

Ellen Wilson said...

"A healthy balance of warmth and warrior have skyrocketed women and men to success." Excellent words!

I will be here on Fierce Fridays, Karen. This is a great idea.

I think also, as women, we have been conditioned to take tiny, baby steps. We aren't afforded the wide space that men are. So I have to disagree with Brett above. People automatically judge you according to your sex. And it doesn't matter where you are, vitual or non-virtual worlds.

I have this fantasy to go undercover and be a man in the virtual world. That would be a great assignment. Then I could report back to everyone.

Ellen Wilson said...

"We aren't afforded the wide space that men are" I suppose that can be read two ways: men are wide, men inhabitat wide space. Anyway, to the editor in me, it sounds weird. "As women, we aren't afforded the wide, communicative spaces that men are afforded." Sounds better.

Valerie Gonyea said...

Hi Karen,

I LOVE this idea. Awesome! I see this every day when I look at resumes. Women tend to undersell their capabilities and men (usually) go the other way.

I am often met with very surprised looks when I tell a woman that she needs to add her various accomplishments to her resume. They say "really?" I say, "yes, darn it!" There have been a number of times when I have felt on, a spiritual level, that my conversation with them has given them much more confidence when they walk out the door from our meeting. That is truly the best part of what I do everyday as a recruiter, and what I hope to achieve with my blog....changing people's lives.

Thanks for highlighting "fierceness"!

Words For Hire said...

Hey Everyone, I have been so sick that I'm completely behind but all of your comments were an instant pick-me-up!

@Amy, we Americans love that Scottish self deprecating wit! Amy, we'll support each other as we learn to self-promote and not run and hide afterwards. Elephant polo? LOL!

@Brenda, I'm so glad you stopped by and know that we can all inspire and support one another.

@Ellen, in addition to your talents, your wicked wit always inspires me! Count me in for a virtual undercover op, I have a long running Harriet the Spy fantasy!

@Valerie, honey you're already changing lives! You are such a bright shining fireball of inspiration.

@HRF I honest to goodness adore you!

Thanks everyone!

Charlane said...

Bravo for Fierce Fridays! Love your article and love encouraging women to promote are admirable and your writing is superb. Keep it up. I am thoroughly enjoying your blog.



Words For Hire said...

@ Charlane, thank you so much for your encouraging words, they mean everything to me! I am so happy to welcome you into the circle of fierceness as we link arms and make sure our voices are heard, and talents recognized.



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