A recent blog post at Harvard Business Review by Gil Corkingdale explores the idea of the “beauty premium”, namely shouldn’t should trade on their good looks more to get ahead in the workplace? At the crux of this newly revisited debate is a new book by Dr. Catherine Hakim at the London School of Economics that posits, why not? Indeed. Why shouldn’t women use all of their external assets (good looks, charm, outstanding social intelligence) to advance their professional careers? Hakim states that while men unabashedly use every bit of advantage that they have, women have been less willing to do so. And for obvious reasons. Who wants to deal with the subtle muttering of unfounded gossip as she walks the halls of business?
Using your best assets to get ahead is still good advice though. When a client first comes to me interested in starting her own business, we always look at her assets first. In my business, that doesn’t mean beauty or grace. It means her passions, her skills and the appeal of her business idea to her larger target market. It’s sex appeal of a different sort. I want to help her determine where her deep desire to make a difference intersects with the world’s need for her product or service. And it is about making a difference. That potential new solopreneur is seldom motivated by a desire for financial security (she can stay at her day job for that) but to do good.
Clearly, as Corkingdale sums up, the bottom line is invest in yourself. Regardless or not if you feel comfortable trading on your good looks, it helps your self-confidence and your credibility to know yourself. Knowing your personal values, your greater purpose in the world and what those real life assets are is essential. So when that time comes to start exploring that new side business, you have some answers to these big questions all ready to go. And even if that time never arrives, a better understanding of who you are and what you want is like spare change, always good to have in a pinch.
So, take care to cast yourself in a positive light. Toot your own horn periodically by taking credit when it is due you. And always, always leave the house feeling like a million bucks. When you do, they’ll Swoon!