Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Who Are You? Part Two.

In the last post, I promised to tell you the secret that helps you move from self-doubt to self-confidence as a new counselor. Well, here it is, no drumroll needed.

That secret is marketing.

Marketing? I'm seriously telling you to take out a directory listing or a Facebook ad as the solution to self-confidence?

No, if I told you to do that I would be telling you to advertise. I'm telling you to market yourself, which is a completely different beast from advertising yourself.


Well, let's look at the word marketing.

When we talk about marketing, we're not talking about selling. We're talking about making people aware of your services and their availability.

But before you can do that, you have to know - confidently - what your offerings are.

Remember when the self-esteem fad was saying affirmations in the mirror?  Now, no denigration to the idea in general, it seemed to help some people and there is research that validates the power of positive speaking, posture and thinking. But for me and the clients I seem to attract, we don't tend to respond to that.

If I simply say, "I am a great counselor" in the mirror, it will be said with a smirk and a hint of sarcasm.

Like many people, I require "proof" before I give myself that kind of credit.

This could easily sound like I'm advocating perfectionism or worth through works, so let me clarify my statement. I don't believe in giving yourself "proof" through what you do, but instead providing proof of your worth and value because of who you are.

I believe these qualities make me a good counselor:
·      I listen well.
·      I am empathetic.
·      I am good at helping people shift perspective.
·      I have a fluid grasp of language as a tool.
·      I can confront in a way that people don't feel harassed.

Several years ago I could NOT have written these qualities in a public forum. I would have felt that it was bragging and that people would think I was stuck on myself. I wouldn't have allowed myself to believe some of these things, because my belief about being a counselor was that a person had to take on a mantle of subservience. In order to effectively serve one had to lower yourself.

My definition of counseling as a profession in some ways reflecting my unhealthy view of myself - that my needs were never as valuable as someone else's.

This is getting really, uncomfortably personal for me now, but the one thing that changed that perspective professionally was learning how to market myself, so I feel it's necessary background information.

Why is marketing the key? Why am I advocating it so strongly for you today?

It's simple.

Marketing forces you to do three things necessary to develop authentic self-confidence:

Identify your specific strengths.

Perfect the art of talking about your strengths.

Regularly share your strengths.

These three things create and perpetuate counselor self-confidence.

However, knowing WHAT to do is not the same as knowing HOW to do it. Tune in next week to find out how to market yourself to new counselor confidence!