Last week, I conducted a full day LinkedIn workshop. The company that hired me was in the process of laying off a couple of dozen people. The workshop was for this group about to be laid off, to teach them how to optimize their LinkedIn profile. As is always the case, people think the only deliverable is an optimized LinkedIn profile but going through the process of strategically writing a LinkedIn profile unveils so much more.
I had the organizer of the event bring in a photographer to provide headshots for the workshop attendees. As I walked everyone through uploading their photo, I noticed one of the attendees was using a picture that was not the headshot from the photographer. I walked over to her to see the photo she was using more clearly. It was grainy and shot from a low angle. She looked unprofessional but pretty.
“Why are you not using the headshot from the photographer?”
“I don’t like it, I just, uhhhh, I’m not comfortable with it.”
“Can I see it?”
“Yeah, but I really don’t like it.”
She pulled up the professionally taken headshot, and I was shocked. She looked confident and high-level. There was a mark of professionalism throughout the image– from the quality of the image to her as the subject.
“You look amazing in this picture– what don’t you like about it?”
“Well, uh, my hair — I don’t like my hair, I feel weird about it.”
“Your hair looks fine… what’s the real issue?”
“I just feel weird about this picture.”
“That feeling you have, that awkward discomfort — it’s not what you think it is. That odd feeling is because you are now seeing yourself with more potential than ever before, and it’s scary. You are embarking on a change of company, job, and life. You can jump ahead, or you can just stay in the same waters. That awesome headshot is going to help you move forward to something better. It’s okay to feel weird when you go outside your comfort zone. Before you know it, you’ll get used to it because that new place will be your new comfort zone… and that’s growth. So are you ready?”
She looked at me and smiled. She selected the professionally taken headshot image and uploaded it to her LinkedIn profile. The beautiful, professional headshot popped up on her profile, she looked at it, and then she looked at me and said, “I am ready.”
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