This article first appeared on shevonnejoyce.com
Reaching the top of your game and becoming ‘highly influential’ in your field is what many aspire to. Like with many things in life, we paint a picture of what it would be like to hold true influence and power in our field – the things we could do, the money we could make, the way we could change the world.
It’s an incredible honour to be trusted by your market in such a role. Deciding to work your way to the top echelon of success in your field is not a decision to make lightly or flippantly. Unfortunately, many find themselves thrust into a leadership capacity they are not prepared for.
Regardless of whether you are an aspiring expert beginning your journey to the top, a seasoned woman of influence who is deep in the thick of the game or have found yourself suddenly in the spotlight, there’s one sound piece of advice we cannot possibly ignore before moving on to talk about what can happen behind the camera and accolade:
Trying to ‘wing’ your success as the go-to brand is likely the quickest way to falter.
Winging it means you’re at the mercy of your brand, as opposed to being empowered to drive it. Think: constantly defending yourself, being torn apart in the media, relentlessly moulding yourself to subdue and please the masses. Once the horse has bolted, it’s gone. It’s the worst possible position any credible leader can find themselves in.
We cannot emphasis enough that when it comes to your personal reputation prevention is better than cure.
Please keep this in mind as you delve into the following three unspoken sacrifices of high profile women:
1. Your market ALWAYS wants more
There are two elements to consider: the quantity and quality of demand.
The more ‘in-demand’ you become, the higher the demand becomes – regardless of how full or empty your cup is at any given time. It can often be relentless and how you manage your presence on a consistent basis can make or break your credibility. Once credibility is lost, it’s extremely hard to gain back.
Being a true ‘market leader’ means having such deep and rich expertise that you have the ability to predict what’s coming up next and position yourself to pioneer it – while the rest of the world is still deciding what to focus on. Your market will come to expect this standard from you – and will want more of it. This means learning that your movement isn’t about you – it’s about digging deeper to serve and add value to your market.
2. The higher the profile, the higher the stakes
Becoming the go-to brand goes far beyond the number of followers you accumulate, but the bigger and more credible the platform, the further the reach, the higher the stakes.
Many women make the critical mistake of assuming that their public personal brand is simply their personal life on a public platform. This leads to them sharing far more than their market needs to know and far less of value, lessening the impact of their movement. There is and needs to be a space created between your personal and professional lives at this level.
It doesn’t mean you can’t bring your true self to your work (highly recommended) but understanding how to build deep and meaningful connections with your market whilst holding the appropriate space and authority between you is vital.
It’s also important to critically and strategically assess the kinds of collaborations, affiliations, connections and relationships you nurture. It’s common that the more well-known and influential a woman becomes, the more commodified her brand is and the more personally lonely she can feel. She can also experience a certain level of judgement while carving the necessary boundaries.
The way you go about creating and executing your work can have significant impacts for those invested in it; your fans, clients and industry as a whole. As they say, it takes a life time to build a brand and a mere second to destroy it.
The ideal formula for successfully managing your connections depends on your context in the market.
3. The criticism of your work becomes personal
Consistently getting better results than anyone else in your industry is a non-negotiable standard for go-to brands. Achieving it requires incredible investment and unwavering commitment in the face of increasingly intense levels of public scrutiny.
For women, criticisms can quite often be deeply personal and rooted in gender stereotypical bias which left unmanaged after a prolonged period of time can be exhausting and dispiriting.
In the modern world it’s incredibly easy for your message to be needlessly distracted by unnecessary ‘noise.’ Developing the kind of rock solid certainty and disposition to operate with and effectively respond to such personal criticism can mean the difference between you guiding and building a credible movement and being eaten alive by your market.