Working Moms Inspiration from Oprah's O You!
“ Your attitude will determine your altitude.”
—Samantha Ettus
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  • Personal Branding After Hours: Applying 10 Rules to Dating

    The Dating Game by Samantha Ettus

    Let’s take a break from talking about your brand at work and discuss how the key themes of personal branding impact your personal life. Here we take your brand on a date by applying your corporate skills to dating.

    1. Smile A Lot
    We would all prefer to do business with the one smiling rather than the one pouting. Same goes here. The woman who gets approached most isn’t the knockout with the sexy outfit, she’s the approachable one wearing the smile.

    2. Put Your Best Face Forward
    Invest in a professional headshot for your social media presence regardless of whether you are dating online. Have makeup and hair done in preparation for the shoot and bring three outfits to get a variety of looks. No cleavage and no suits. Use this photo for all of your social media presence or online dating. Unless you are in college, you are too old to use a photo that includes your more on Forbes…


    25 More Quick Personal Branding Tricks

    Image by Alan O'Rourke via Flickr

    by Samantha Ettus

    In a previous post I shared 25 tricks to boost your personal brand. Here are 25 more. This is the second in a four part series.

    1. Relax enough to laugh at yourself.

    2. Build up currency before asking for a favor.

    3. Don’t obsess over one interaction. You are judged by the sum.

    4. Always dress as formally as your boss.

    5. It isn’t a bad “day” “year” or “week.” Don’t attach longer stretches to moments.

    6. Take a public speaking class even if it isn’t necessary to your profession.

    7. When someone recommends you, thank her. Even if it doesn’t pan out. More on Forbes…


    It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who You Follow: Twitter in 4 Steps

    Image via CrunchBaseby Samantha Ettus

    So many people avoid Twitter because they don’t want to tweet. And that’s okay because you don’t need to be tweeting to benefit from Twitter. There are three types of Twitter users – those that solely output content, those that solely consume content, and those that do both.

    This week Twitter was where I first heard that Elizabeth Taylor had passed away and that my baby should be in a rear facing car seat for an extra year. But that is not why you should be there. Expanding your knowledge base adds value to your personal brand. To be playing your top game professionally you need to be up-to-date on your industry, on the important players and the breaking trade news. For this, you need to be on Twitter.

    Lately I’ve had a lot of friends ask me to give them “Twitter tutorials” and once they are up to speed, the next question is: “Who should I follow?” (For total Twitter novices, “follow” is the Facebook equivalent of “friend” – you follow people whose tweets you will read). Most Twitter veterans I know are always more on Forbes…


    You’re So Terrific: Three Steps to Telling Us Why

    by Samantha Ettus

    If we had an hour to chat, I could take your best qualities, wrap them up with a bow, and sell you to someone else. By the end of this exercise you will be able to do this for yourself.

    Step 1: Identify Your Crowning (and Differentiated!) Achievements
    Don’t let this bring on a cold sweat. It doesn’t matter if you lack a royal title or haven’t won an award since your fifth grade science project.  The object is to rethink your accomplishments, because I’ll bet you have plenty.

    Have you been promoted twice in one year? Are you the only business owner in your graduating class? Did you beat last year’s revenue projections? Were you a college athlete? Do you raise money for your alma mater? These are all tangible achievements that you can start mentioning in conversation – without the stain of bragging!

    Step 2: Enlist Friends for a Gloating Dinner
    Seriously. Even if you can identify your own achievements with ease, host a dinner with the express purpose of having some close friends (only the glass half full ones) teach you more about yourself. While you wine and dine them, ask each more on Forbes…


    Personal Brands on Stage: Oscar Winners and Losers

    Camila Alves & Matthew McConaughey  Image via Wikipediaby Samantha Ettus

    The Oscars provide one of the biggest personal brand stages of the year. Between the clothes, the pre-show interviews, and the speeches, there are multiple points for a celebrity to shine or wane. The Academy Awards can revive a flailing personal brand or damage a strong one. So let’s look at how 10 boldface names fared last night:

    Brand Winners

    Justin Timberlake
    The Social Network put Timberlake on the map as an actor.  To capture the moment, he made a brilliant move in taking his mom to the Oscars.  When you’re proud of something new, you show your mom and by doing it he showed us all that acting is his new focus and passion.  It was reminiscent of the debut of two members of Hollywood royalty, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who brought their moms as their dates when they were first nominated in 1998. More on Forbes…


    Stop Apologizing: For Your Personal Brand

    Image by Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickrby Samantha Ettus

    Do you find yourself saying “Sorry” a lot?

    A recent Canadian study showed that women apologize almost twice as much as men. Why? Contrary to what you might expect, it isn’t because we are conditioned to say “sorry” more. It is that we think we have committed offenses far more often than men think they have.

    I recently received an email that began, “I apologize for intruding on your email…” While this person was trying to be polite, it had the opposite effect, making me at once question whether there was indeed an intrusion.

    Here are some apologies I’ve received via email or Facebook recently:

    “I’m sorry to be so negative but…”

    “I apologize if I offend you when I say…”

    “Sorry to be cheesy but…”

    Often people resort to an apology to prove self-awareness, as if saying, “I’m self-aware enough to know that this email could seem cheesy…” but the intent and the result more on Forbes…


    Personal Brand, Wear Are You? Identifying Your Style

    Image by Two for Fashion - Das OTTO-Fashion-Blog via Flickrby Samantha Ettus

    It is New York Fashion Week and the city is buzzing with designer style – most of it too impractical to land a place in your closet. But even if you aren’t part of the quest for uber-chic, defining your own look is important.

    After posting on the undeniable impact of the first impression, a number of readers asked me how to identify a signature look. Here are the steps to finding yours:

    Let go of the past
    Enlist your most stylish (and brutally honest!) friend for a closet cleaning, figure out what works best for your body type and personality, ditch the duds, and organize what remains. A good rule of thumb according to fashion stylist Melissa Foss is, “If you didn’t wear it in the last season it probably won’t get worn this winter either.”

    Define your style
    Everything is easier with a goal and your wardrobe is no different. Choose a look and pursue it. Most likely it is simply a refined and more thoughtful version of what you’ve already been wearing. Are you conservative, edgy, crunchy? Be practical and master a look that works for your industry and lifestyle. Now that your closet is clutter free, look in magazines for clothes that appeal to you and aren’t too far a reach for your budget and body type. And now the shopping spree. Foss encourages her clients to think about having one more on Forbes…


    Living in the Sunshine State: Four Steps to Positivity

    Image via Wikipediaby Samantha Ettus

    I had a friend who, when asked at a party what she did for a living, would consistently respond, “You don’t want to know. It’s really boring.” The polite person would invariably feel obligated to press on, prompting my friend to answer, “I work in accounting. And I hate it.” In less than 30 seconds, my friend had killed any chance of this person being part of her professional network, and, even socially, her negativity left her on thin ice.

    My friend’s inaccessibility contributed to a self-fulfilling cycle, one that prevented positive, ambitious people from wanting to connect with her. And where do you think this person is today? 14 years later she remains in the same job at the same company. Her negative attitude had repelled any potential opportunities that might come her way.

    Regardless of how closely you identify with this example, like the rest of us, you could shine more by climbing up the positivity ladder. Here are some basic rules to increase your rank on the sunny scale:

    1. Smile as often as possible
    It is proven that smiling is contagious and, in the workplace, optimism even increases sales. So you too will benefit from the associated boost that a smile offers.

    2. Say yes
    When you are inclined to say yes, you open yourself up to new opportunities. Meeting new people, expanding your network, exposing yourself to new ideas – the rewards come in spades. More on Forbes…


    Superficially You: Finessing the First Impression

    Image by blmurch via Flickrby Samantha Ettus

    Even at Davos, women are wrestling with the heels versus boots dilemma. And it matters. Because to the chagrin of second grade teachers around the world, everybody judges books by their covers.

    Of course we’ve all been conditioned to look our best for special occasions: job interviews, prom, graduations, weddings, important business meetings. But what would happen if you looked that great for lesser moments? You would immediately stand out, that’s what.

    It is harder to shine at a black tie event when you are surrounded by a decked out crowd but it is easy to emerge from the pack on a typical morning when those around you rolled out of bed and clamored to get it together. I am not advocating wearing a boa to get your morning coffee or showing extra cleavage at work. These are cheap shots. Rather, I am recommending that you put a bit of extra care into your look with the following mantras in mind.

    1. Help others envision you in the role you aim to seize. Like the actress who wins the part after arriving at her audition in full costume, if you work in finance and aspire to sit in the CFO’s chair, start wearing the suit to work now. More on Forbes…


    You Earned It, Now Own It: Self-Promotion for Women

    Image via Wikipediaby Samantha Ettus

    As women we are taught not to brag and to downplay our successes, while men are encouraged in the opposite direction. Yet every day we are thrown onto a playing field with men – in negotiations, in the office, and in our own living rooms – and the huge disparity in perceived value created by our cultural norms places women at a significant disadvantage. Put simply, we need to start bragging.

    Still, for women, bragging must be approached with caution. In fact, better to think of it as projecting and sharing your accomplishments than the boastful bravado more typical of men. The goal is to subtly reveal your strengths in a way that draws people to you.

    In a previous post, I talked about the first ingredient – confidence. Now that you are standing tall, let’s talk about how you can “brag” effectively.

    Scenario 1: On your way to dinner with friends, you receive a call informing you that you won an award at work for your annual sales volume. Though you’re bubbling with pride, when your friends ask you what’s new you say, “nothing much.”

    Wrong move. More on Forbes…