“Who am I and what do I want to do with my life?”
This is a question so many of us ask ourselves, sometimes when we’re trying to find our life’s purpose, settle on a career path, or sometimes, when we’re stuck in a rut.
We are told how important it is to know who we are, what we offer, and how to express that, ideally in 30 seconds or less – people have a very short attention span, after all.
This little jingle is better known as your elevator pitch.
Learn it, memorize it, and practice it, because you will never know who you could meet and need to impress on a whim. This idea has become that much more necessary with the rise of personal branding popping up on every social and professional network.
In considering all of that, remember that you hold a lot of power – you can really define yourself as anything that you want to be, if you’re willing to work at creating yourself as such.
So, ask yourself these questions:
Who am I right now?
Who do I want to be and why?
What do I want to accomplish (and when)?
How will I accomplish my goals?
Usually, these questions are used exclusively on a professional level, but I am a big believer in self-reflection.
I decided to start broad.
I am a woman, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I am kind, compassionate, and loving. I am silly, funny, and somewhat weird (which I like to affectionately think lends to all the previous qualities). I try to always be fair and open-minded.
I am a dreamer. I see words and thoughts transform into bursts of color in my mind, to create stories and pictures that I try to translate into my writing. I am a creator, a volunteer, an activist, a student. I am someone who hopes to make an impact, however big (or small). I am realistic, but I am also romantic in (and about) my ideas. I hope to share my thoughts with others so that I can help them, and they know they are not alone – I love to help people.
I sometimes doubt myself because I did not finish my degree (though I will), and I struggle with how that may define me to others. Simultaneously, I am my own greatest champion, and tell myself that my education – or lack thereof – is not what makes me competent or worthy. I struggle with what the word success means to me. I am not perfect, and I never will be. I don’t want perfection – I want to be myself; authenticity is important to me.
I continued this exercise, on and on, until I narrowed it down to specific personal and professional goals that I hope to accomplish. My personal branding exercise led me to define the goal I’m working towards. Here’s a sample of an elevator pitch:
I’m a project management professional with a passion for storytelling. Considering my friends and colleagues often compliment me for my thoughtful and engaging advice, posts, and articles, I’m looking for insight as to how I can best position myself for a role in marketing/creating content within a collaborative environment at a social impact start-up or nonprofit. Because I love telling stories and I’m inspired by helping others, I want to help companies express their missions in compelling and relatable ways in the age of social media, while simultaneously doing my part to make the world a better place.
I found it valuable to start broad and include personal elements and assessments of myself, as these undoubtedly trickle into who I want to be professionally, and are a good indicator of what will make me happy in the long run. The truth is, I want so much more than is even in the pitch above, but developing it has given me a great first step in my journey.
No elevator pitch can funnel your personality and your passion into a few sentences unless you really believe in what you want. What constructing it can do is provide the outline for who you want to be, look for where your passion lies, and help you to establish your blueprint for success.
What does your blueprint to success look like?