Professional Identity

Have you ever noticed that when you compare yourself with others then you come off worst? Comparing your professional identity with that belonging to another person will never serve you. I received an email on the first day of 2017 saying:

“Crisis confidence on Day One. A woman posts photos on the local site and hers are better than mine. She gets more comments,
How to deal with this without retreating.
Any ideas???!!!!!”

Having known this photographer for some 15 years I was a little taken aback as I know her wealth of talent and I know her unique photographic style. I know her professional development to be strong.

But when I thought about it I recognised I can do just the same. Am I as good as that coach? How come that entrepreneur got accepted on that scheme when I didn’t? Does that supervisor have more work than I do. Does that coach have a better reputation than I me? Ok I admit it, I am a tad competitive …. but in the competition where I compare my ‘inside perspective’ with the ‘outside perspective’ of others, I ALWAYS lose.

When I ‘lose’ the inevitable happens. I begin to mistrust my own skill. When I mistrust my own skill I begin to think I should do ‘it’ as other people are doing it. If I do it as others seem to be doing it I entirely abandon my own unique way of coaching and connecting.

When I abandon my way of proceeding professionally I may as well quit. To surrender my way and assume the ways belonging to other person is to dilute my professionalism. This is a different thing from adopting a technique I have learned from a fellow colleague. This is me abandoning myself and trying to be someone else. That is never going to work.

When I water down my unique way not only do I do myself a disservice but I also cease to be able to connect with and encourage the uniqueness of others. As encouraging the uniqueness of others is core to my work then I would cease to be the excellent coach that I am and lose touch with my professional identity. So instead of trying to be more like others, what I need to do is to be more like myself. If I show up and I do things more my way then I will strengthen them. When I strengthen my own way then I am equipped to enable others to strengthen their way too.

Never try to be someone else. This merely dilutes who you are and what you do. Show up and be more yourself. The other photographer is not better than my client, she is merely different. By being true to herself and her own professional style then she gains her own professional following. By being the career coach I truly am, I have proven that I gain my own professional followers too. It is exactly the same for each of you. All you need to go is keep showing up and being authentically you. This way lies consistent and sustainable career development.  You, and Only You, can strengthen your professional identity. Take a risk and ‘Be More You’ this year and see how strong you and your career become.

Explore here to learn more of career coaching with Rebecca and here to subscribe to her weekly blog digest.

Marvellous Photography by Robyn Dylan