In today’s episode of Breaking the Bias, Consciously Unbiased co-founder Bindu Lokre sat down in a studio in New York with special guest Aliza Licht, author of the amazing book On Brand: Shape Your Narrative. Share Your Vision. Shift Their Perception. They dive deep into the world of personal branding and overcoming fears. They also cover how to keep your job title from becoming your identity, why a career change starts with changing the way you think about yourself, and how identifying and understanding our fears is the first step to breaking through them to help grow your confidence at work.
Listen to the full episode here, and read below for some key takeaways.
Rebrand Your Fear
Aliza emphasized the importance of identifying and understanding our fears and taking action to face them, ultimately gaining confidence in the process. She shared her personal experience of overcoming her fear of public speaking.
“In third grade, I struggled to read,” says Aliza. “Words got stuck, and I became the disruptive kid in class. Little did I know, this was just the beginning of my journey.” Her mother recognized her stuttering problem and got her into therapy. From middle school to college, she worked hard to improve her speech.
“I didn’t let my speech difficulties define me,” says Aliza. “Fast forward to today, and I now speak in front of large audiences without a hitch! How did I do it? By rebranding my fear. In my book, I share my personal experience of rebranding my fear of public speaking. It all starts with identifying and understanding our fears. Once we do that, we can take action and face them head-on.”
Communicate Your Personal Narrative To Make a Career Change
“So many people are held back by their fears, and it doesn’t have to be that way,” says Aliza. “I left a long career at a prestigious fashion house, Donna Karan, and had to reintroduce myself. But I did it, and you can too.”
Aliza highlighted the significance of changing the way we view ourselves before rebranding or making a career pivot. She shared how leaving a long career at Donna Karan led to a moment of self-reflection, prompting her to redefine her identity. She shares her insights on how our identity can become tied to our professional accomplishments and challenges us to redefine ourselves when faced with pivotal moments of change.
“So many people are held back by their fears, and it doesn’t have to be that way.”
“For years I was Aliza from DKNY; that was my name. I don’t even think I ever said my last name,” says Aliza. “ But what happens when you leave a company? Who are you then? It’s the idea of not suffering from last name syndrome. This is a never-ending process, but I think as we go through life, we can reassess what we want to be known for now, and then do the work to shape that narrative.”
She also says communication is key when changing careers. “I think a lot of people, especially when they leave big roles, shy away from the communication of announcing their next moment or what they’re seeking,” says Aliza. “That’s a mistake, and it can feel uncomfortable. But if you don’t tell people, if you don’t arm them with that information, they can’t help you.”
Networking Online: Build Social Capital
Aliza emphasized the vital role social capital plays in career advancement, and the importance of actively participating on LinkedIn, sharing achievements, supporting others, and consistently aligning our messaging across platforms.
“LinkedIn is non negotiable in my book, and not just a profile, but actually being on LinkedIn and contributing,” says Aliza. “You can contribute in the comments. You can contribute via posting. I am not paid by LinkedIn. I feel very passionate about this.”
Aliza also provided valuable insights on leveraging the virtual world, including Zoom meetings, to shape our professional presence. “When you log on to that Zoom meeting or you enter a room, are you making it better? Are you making it worse? Are you leaving no impression at all?” says Aliza. “People need to understand how they’re showing up, no matter the medium, because this hybrid/virtual world we work in is making a lot of people invisible.”
Aliza says that remote workers who are not proactively shaping their narrative can become invisible, and that is a real detriment to your career. “Don’t assume people know what you’re doing,” says Aliza. “And waiting around for someone to notice that you’re really good at your job is not a strategy. You need to be able to share your wins strategically and elegantly.”
“LinkedIn is non negotiable in my book, and not just a profile, but actually being on LinkedIn and contributing.”
It’s important to remember that our personal narratives are an ongoing process. Aliza encourages us to reassess how we want to be seen and ensure alignment between our self-perception and public perception.
Inclusive Personal Branding: Equity in Career Advancement
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