Whether it’s finding and impressing prospects, keeping current customers, or moving ahead in a career, volunteering has long been the platform for gaining visibility. For some, it’s serving on company committees and taking on extra assignments, or having a reputation as the “get it done” person.
In the community, self-promotion ranges from sponsoring or coaching youth sports teams, working charity fundraisers, belonging to a service club or fraternal organization, serving on non profit boards, chairing special events or helping with alumni and civic projects.
Awards and commendations help, too, along with photos in local, business, alumni and online publications. For added visibility, pursuing elected local office and moving up from there raises the bar even higher, while Facebook, LinkedIn and other the social media can ratchet up the getting well known possibilities.
It boils down to getting as much consistent “exposure” as possible, and hoping there will be a worthwhile payoff. But, that takes work — lots of it. And there’s no guarantee that the payback, if any, will justify the investment of energy and time.
While this may seem like a bleak picture, fraught with too many hurdles and not enough assurances, there’s another way to look at it, a different perspective that acknowledges being known is an essential component in achieving success.
At the same time, trying to get there can be like driving at night without headlights. Because of this, many who attempt to become “well known” make a fatal mistake. They assume that getting as much visibility as possible is what will get them there. Unfortunately, others find such behavior off-putting and negative.
Yet, “being known” can have immense value by letting the spotlight shine on what you do, not who you are, and that means always asking one question: “How can I help?”
In other words, with the proper focus, marketing or selling yourself can lead to success without going on an endless ego trip that alienates others.
And here’s how to do it. Pushing aside the absurd “self-made man” myth and currently popular “bootstrapping”, the unavoidable fact is that we all need help in reaching our goals. Think about it. Whether it’s getting a latte on the way to work, choosing what to wear for a special event, deciding on a dream home, doing a better job managing money, having career mentors, or simply figuring out a home improvement project, we need help.
What we don’t want is hype. In fact, we reject it. The immense success of online peer recommendations makes it clear that we trust our friends, associates and neighbors far more than we do “sponsored” endorsements or the slick and senseless words of clever copywriters.
It goes even further — much further. We reject anyone who tries to “sell” us, including those who try to “sell” themselves. We refuse to be told how to think, what to buy or how to live.