By Henry Ukazu
I will like to begin this article with a question. How do you view yourself? If you ask a thousand and one persons this question, you will definitely get several answers. This is because they have different perspective to life. During my book launch ceremony, one of my mentors said, “If you don’t talk about yourself, nobody will talk about you”. For the purpose of this article, we shall be discussing how we can position ourselves in order to make a difference.
What actually is positioning oneself? Positioning is presenting yourself to the right person, at the right time and place, in the right way, with the right message. In one of my articles this year, Appreciate Your Location, I wrote about how location can play a critical role to achieving success. I also wrote about the pros and cons of location and how it can make or mar one’s success if you fail to play by the rules of the game. Our focus today is how we can position ourselves for the right opportunity.
Your location and position is critical in life. In as much as I have often stated that being at the right place at the right time for the right reason is critical to success, I also know that you can still achieve success anywhere if you have the grace of God around you. Well, we shall visit that topic for a latter day. Let’s focus on how we can leverage the various resources available to us to achieve success.
In our contemporary society today, there seems to be so much competition and advertisement to get either our products or ourselves out there. But it’s quite unfortunate that many people don’t know how to market themselves. It should be noted that, being academically smart is not enough to get a job, you must be street smart. In fact, in some quarters, being academically smart is in less demand compared to being street smart. Among this schools of thought, they believe that anyone who is street smart can learn on the job if given the right training and resources. They also believe one who has the right attitude to life is much better at workplace to be a team player than one who has theoretical knowledge on paper (resume).
During the course of this article, we shall be sharing and providing resourceful information on how we can launch ourselves to the global world for the right opportunity. I don’t know your industry neither do I know what you want out of life, but I have one take home nugget for you. Nor matter your line of thought, one thing is certain, you’ll like to get patronage and opportunities that will take you to the next level in life.
The global world is in dire need of problem solvers. Employers like employees who have the skills they need for any position. The big question now is, who is the right candidate and how can you position yourself to be the right person for the opportunity? In the business world, clients always look for certain things before they make their decision on a product or person; and the ability to decipher what clients needs can set you apart from your competitors. According to Aristotle Onassis, “the secret of business is to know something that nobody knows. Below are some the ways to position yourself for the right opportunity:
You position yourself first in your own mind. Your thought and imagination is the first way you see yourself. That’s why I began this article by asking some sort of rhetorical question, how do you see yourself? The way you see yourself will shape the way others see you. The way you think about yourself determines how you do everything. It affects the way you prospect, the way you interview, the way you present, the way you close, the way you manage your time – it shapes everything you do. As a result, people will see you the way you perceive yourself.
You position yourself with your attitude. Clients are very receptive to whoever gives them the best deals with great product. They know if we are self-centered or client-centered; whether we are ego-driven or value-driven. Our attitudes toward our clients and prospects will always show up in the way we treat people. The way we treat others will determine the way they respond to us.
You position yourself with your appearance. Appearance is the first thing people notice about us. That’s why many say appearance and perception is everything. First impressions sets the tone very quickly. And, like it or not, the way you look is the most important factor in shaping those first and lasting impressions. Don’t you pay more attention to people who look important than you do to people who look sloppy?
You position yourself with your actions and words. Action they say speaks louder than voice. Talk is really cheap. You must have the guts to go out there and show the world what you have. Never you allow your gift to die inside of you. Every word you say positions you either as a person to be considered important or as someone to be dismissed as quickly as possible.
You position yourself with your focus. The most pressing question on your prospect’s mind is always, “What’s in for me?” Focus on your client and not on yourself. When you focus on your client you are setting yourself for success. For example, the way you go about setting up and making your presentation says a lot to prospects about how important it is to listen to you.
You position yourself by the way you handle objections. Amateurs see objections as excuses for not buying their product. But real professionals recognize that objections show a prospect’s legitimate concerns – issues which must be cleared up before the prospect will make a decision to buy.
You position yourself by the way you begin and end a presentation. The way you pitch your ideas to investors speaks volumes about who you are. Just imagine you are seeking for a job which you have dreamt and wished for many years and you are called for an interview, if you are serious about the opportunity you’ll dress in your best clothes and present yourself in the best possible manner. Let me share a personal experience with you, I was humbled to be invited by one the College University of New York yesterday to address an interesting and informed group of students (Urban Make Leadership Academy) yesterday, the way I began the presentation and ended was likened to how President Obama gave a speech in 2014 during the Democratic National Convention.
You position yourself with the way you follow-up. Another way of positioning yourself is by following up with mentors, employers, potential investors and friends. This trait makes you look serious and interested to your targeted audience. Professionalism involves developing a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with every client. It’s turning one-time customers into clients who view you as a valuable resource in your area of expertise.
I strongly believe everyone has an opportunity in life. Some of us get ours earlier in life, some miss out due to inadequate preparations, while some create the opportunities for themselves. The interesting question I have for you is, how are you preparing yourself for the next big opportunity? I will share with you some of my little secrets. Personally, I believe in networking, in fact I’m a strategic networker who create opportunities where people don’t see it. I’m a product of grace. Don’t get me wrong, I have been through so much experience which ordinarily would have weighed me down to give up on life, but with the support of family, friends and mentors in addition to my positive lifestyle about life, I saw all challenges as experience. I have also been able to overcome because of my ability to read and research. Also, I have learned to appreciate any situation and location I find myself knowing fully, I can’t rush God and I can’t be faster than my shadows. But more importantly, I have listened to people both constructive and direct who in one way or the other empowered with resourceful information.
In conclusion, be informed, that nothing good comes easy, you must go out there and do what you have to do positively to get what you want. It’s definitely not going to be easy, but always know that your failures and rejections are what will make your story more compelling. So, you must make it a habit to plan and position yourself because failing to plan is preparing to fail.
Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with New York City Department of Correction as the legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success.