When I interviewed for my first corporate job, I was mistaken about something very important. I thought my objective was supposed to be to get the job. I confidently presented my qualifications, and I got the job.
But it wasn’t the right objective.
I soon found out that my drive to innovate didn’t align with the corporate culture. I had expected an outstanding performance review for making my work products better than the corporate standard. Instead, I was reprimanded for not conforming.
Being so misaligned made me realize what mattered most to me professionally.
My next job did just that, but several of my co-workers were floundering. I felt drawn to be a manager so I could shape the environment for them to focus on being their best, too.
My promotion to manager began a career-long path. I became a serial team builder within organizations in disarray where people were out of alignment with the surrounding culture, as I had once been.
My approach was founded on listening.
I believe that when people feel heard, they discover their own strengths and aspirations. They sense where and how they can be their best.
In listening, I learned to see the distinctive essence of individuals and empower them to shine.
One of my most difficult moments was when I was tasked with laying off half of my staff during a massive company downsizing. I couldn’t simply identify who was “dispensable.”
Instead, I identified who my organization couldn’t function without. Looking at that list of names made me feel proud. I knew we had formed a strong team with complementary skills.
But I was still one short of the number I had to cut. Whose skillset was no longer essential? Mine.
I realized my dream team could carry on without me. I added my name to the list and moved on.
I stepped out of management to work as an independent technical communicator. How humbling it was to work with subject matter experts in fields as varied as IT, aviation, economy, and medicine.
Once again, I relied on listening.
I utilized my skills in interviewing and writing to distill from their expert knowledge what the intended audience needed to know.
Throughout my experiences, I’ve seen that when people are aligned with their work, they’re capable of amazing things.
We can all look around and see problems everywhere, large or small. Yet we have experts with solutions.
Implementing the solutions requires listening to each other. It requires communicating clearly what we have to offer. It requires tapping into what matters most to us so we can do our best work.
I created The Expert of Choice to facilitate that process.
Look at one of my clients, for example. Sonia used to introduce herself at networking events simply as a commercial interior designer and say "let me know if you're interested in my services." People typically weren't. As she went through my program, we uncovered her passion for developing relationships with her clients and her distinctive skill in creative artistry. She gained a deeper self-appreciation for the value of how, in her words, “I get into my clients' heads so I can design for them.” Now she introduces herself as "I design spaces especially for your business to make your customers feel happy to be there." Now, that’s a message that gets people interested.
If you would like to apply your expertise to solving problems that matter to you, I invite you to book your free Discovery Call with me. We’ll discuss your challenges and how I might support you in realizing your dreams.
Marylyn is great to work with, and I can always rely on her to uphold high standards. I find her characteristic inclination toward innovation to be refreshing and inspiring. – Gabriel Rojas, Sr. Manager of Software Engineering at T Rowe Price
“It has been a challenge for me to describe my spiritual service offers. In Marylyn I found a deep listener who asks clarifying questions. She distilled my expertise into a clear message that a general audience can understand. It allows me to expand my marketing activities more easily..” – Dr. Dzung Price, Holistic Healer
“Marylyn has a gift for making it easy for me to speak about my natural strengths, and for fine tuning my professional self-awareness.” – Gabrielle Czaja, Physical Therapist and Alexander Technique Teacher
Let's find out. Take this self-assessment to see how well your messaging communicates 5 key aspects of your distinctive essence.