The art of believing in yourself.

By Carrie Bain, Senior Copywriter

The Advertising Federation of Minnesota Annual Women’s Leadership Panel is my favorite time of the year. It’s a night when women in the industry come together to share their stories, passion and energy. There’s something electrifying about a room full of strong women who want to grow and inspire others to be better. And this year’s panel did not disappoint. What particularly made this year different was the opportunity to choose between three breakout panels. The one I attended was something that I find myself constantly struggling with: The Art of Self Promotion.

I have a hard time sharing my thoughts with other people because I always think, “Well, who cares what I have to say?” Or, “Man alive, people are going to get so sick of me always sharing.” Led by Julie Vessel, Chief Talent Officer at Mono, this breakout session reminded me that self-promotion isn’t bragging about how amazing you are or what you do better than others. The intention of self-promotion isn’t self-glorification—it’s sharing who you are and what you believe in. Below were my key takeaways from the session.

Bring Your Passions Forward
Every single interaction is a promotion of who you are. How do you normally present yourself to someone you meet for the first time? I usually say, “Hello, I’m Carrie Bain a Senior Copywriter at Friends & Neighbors.” But, we’re more than a title or the company we work for. So next time I’m at an industry event and someone asks me who I am I’ll say, “Hello, I’m Carrie Bain and I’m a Senior Copywriter who believes in the power of a relatable insight, I’m also an advocate for senior dogs, and someday I will sell an entire concept that has centaurs in it.” Your passions are memorable. Titles are forgettable.

Make Your Desires Known
As someone who is naturally loud, you’d think I’d have no problem letting people know what I want and what I believe in. And for someone who has SO many ideas, this really resonated with me. Say what you want to achieve or experience and tell the right person who can make it happen. Telling my mom that I want to speak at a TEDx event about body positivity and feminism someday isn’t really going to help. (But does it help if I write about it in a blog post and put it on the internet?) You need to tell the right person. And when you find them, you must not only hold them accountable but also yourself.

Be Your Own Brand Manager
Obviously…right? Our job is to make brands memorable, but what do we do to build our own brand? Your brand equals “what you say” + “what you do”. So, do you still have a bunch of college pictures tagged on Facebook? Or is your MySpace still up because you don’t remember your login info? Or what about those old LiveJournal entries from when you were in your emo phase? Take the time to search your own name and see the results. Does it reflect how you want to be perceived? This is your moment and your opportunity to build your own brand. Focus on what matters and what experiences are most relevant to you.

Add Quality Connections
It’s all about quality vs. quantity. Do you really know or need all of your 1,562 LinkedIn connections? Or maybe you’ve been at the same job for the past five years and don’t venture outside your social circle? Trust me, I’m guilty of this as well. It’s so easy to get comfortable in your routine. Plus, if you’re an introvert like me, it’s hard to work up the courage to ask someone to coffee. Networking is such an important part of our industry. Ask someone whose work you admire or someone who you wish you knew more about, so you can meet and pick their brain.

At the end of the day, you truly are your own best advocate—and it’s time that you put yourself first. It’s time to stop waiting to be discovered. It’s time to share your beliefs and who you are with others. Chances are, you’re going to find a community that’s been waiting for someone exactly like you.