Have you ever been jealous of someone who got a little bit of an edge earlier in life? If not, good for you: you are some kind of pure.
Because I definitely have.
Starting out right out of college, even before college, I remember looking at classmates and being in envy of their personal situations. I wish MY mom was an executive VP who could coach me on my first interview, or I wish MY dad led the finance department of a start up, and could advise me on how to negotiate my first offer, or could explain equity and 401k to me.
But my mom sells furniture, and my dad is a handyman.
Don't get me wrong, I am super proud and I learned so much from both of them. In fact, if you are just starting out and find yourself in a similar situation, here are some thoughts for you:
1) Examine your relationship with success, and money.
This first step requires some reflection. Based on where you came from, how do you define "success"? What about your attitude towards money? How do you manage your finances? Will the career you are in support you financially? Understand what motivates you, and how your definition of success can best set you up in your life. Spoiler: you need to make that money, don't be afraid of it and get your credit card / student loan act together ;)
2) Look at what triggers your jealousy and make a plan.
I once heard that we are most jealous of the things we see that we want most in this world. Are you jealous of your friends' parents coaching them on their job hunt? Or if your friend received a promotion? Great, this tells you what you want, which is step 1.
Now let's start by creating a plan to get you there. If it's moving up in your career, check this 7-step post outlining how to make your case for a promotion. If it's a new job at a new company / industry all together, start the job hunt with this interview guide. And if it's a lack of monitorship, get creative about your network: ask your friends' parents for advice! Reach out to that old professor of yours! Ask an executive at your company if you can buy them a coffee, to pick their brain on how they achieved their success (and maybe inspire them to be invested in yours.)
Start today by stop making excuses, and be proactive about the resources that you need.
3) Reflect and identify your strengths.
I doubt that you have made it this far by sheer luck. Not having people in your corner by default caused you to get your own people. If you needed to teach yourself a skill in order to advance yourself, that's an amazing thing to call out on your resume or in a job interview. If you don't have experience in a particular field, show how you started a blog and started researching the topic to become versed in it. All of these ways demonstrate resourcefulness and showcase how you are willing to take the initiative; both incredible qualities to look for in an employee, in my opinion.
The Bottom Line: Flip the Script
It's easy to make excuses. What's not easy, is taking control of your narrative and doing whatever you can in your power to change what you do not like in your life. Consider these experiences opportunities to learn, and turn them into advantages.
We've all been there. And we've been on the receiving end. Not just with websites, but with emails, heavily-worded presentations, elevator pitches, the works. Copy like:
"Dynamic integrated solutions provider emphasizing client success and software integrity to optimize and drive business results."
I could jam a few more buzzwords in there, but after reading that bad boy a few times, do you even know what I'm selling?
It's a crime that many companies, across industries, commit. More often then not, positioning is reacting to competitor's statements, or how simple language or being more straightforward may appear to potential customers - especially at the exec level.
But here's the deal. If you want me to do business with you, and I'm clicking around your website to figure out what exactly you do and how you do it, I'm not going to expend mental energy translating corporate speak into human language. At the end of the day, will you help me do my job better? Do you understand my issues? How can you help?
It's an epidemic that I'm hoping is on it's way out, but it's not looking super promising so far - as long as older marketing mentalities continue to sign off on final web copy, email marketing, and other initiatives surrounding outward-facing company content. B2B businesses, and other "boring" industries are especially susceptible to copy-bloat. But they don't have to be - if they are willing to take that chance.
This reminds me of a favorite Seth Godin mentality of mine around putting yourself out there and being vulnerable, believe it was from his book "The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?" It always struck me how scared people are to take something they created and present it up for the world to see, and say "I made this". This is often due to the fact that we are our own worst critic, and imagining the world of possibilities where reactions to what we say could go horribly wrong instead of allowing the "what if they like it?" possibility.
I get it - your brand is on the line. Your reputation. Your employees, your customers. Throwing out the perfectionist guidebook and "how it's always been done" is scary. But what if you took baby steps to shake up your messaging a little bit. What if you B2B folks tried some B2C tactics - because you are after all, marketing to humans?
Some stuff might not work, some stuff might. It's about making your company vulnerable, like actual humans are, and be open to making mistakes and learning from them - because I can tell you that corporate speak websites are NOT resonating with any form of your customer. Are you up to the challenge of figuring out what will?
I'm a motivated, self-starting marketer and working mom looking to make a difference in the world - one story at a time.
Let's get you set up for success!
Have a podcast? Let's talk.