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When I work with individuals wishing to create new marketing materials for their new practice or business, I ask them to take three steps with me in the process of creating powerful messages and materials about who they are and what they offer to the world. Not coincidentally, these are the same three helpful steps I explore in my forthcoming book Breakdown, Breakthrough: The Professional Woman’s Guide to Claiming a Life of Passion, Power, and Purpose (Berrett-Koehler, September 2008). These steps help you to navigate through challenge, fear, and inertia, to breakthrough.

These steps are:
- Step Back
- Let Go
- Say Yes!


Stepping Back

The first step is to Step Back to gain a fresh new perspective of where you have been, where you are today, and where you’d like to go. So often, we think about our past and current situation from a perspective of lack — what’s not good enough — rather than accurately assess all the gifts, talents, abilities and skills we’ve honed and amassed throughout our lives.

Stepping Back gives you the opportunity to review and appreciate:
- The full range of skills and talents you’ve developed
- The experiences you’ve personally created with these skills
- The successes and triumphs you’ve achieved
- Your special personality traits that make you you
- The combination of these that makes you unique and particularly helpful to others

I remember two years ago in thinking about the book I wanted to write, a terrific consultant in NYC, Janet Goldstein, who helps authors develop their ideas and businesses, urged me to marry in a holistic way all the skills and talents I loved to use, with where I wanted to go in the future.

For me that involved pulling together my skills in market research, interviewing, marketing, writing, entertaining through voice (speaking/singing), and speaking out about the challenges professional women face. In combining all of these aspects, I found exactly where I needed to go, and how to communicate it.

Fleshing out this information in full detail for yourself will help you gain clarity on where you wish to go — with your business, and your life.

Letting Go

The second step in developing compelling marketing tools and communications is to get clear on what’s holding you back from thinking and growing as big as you’d like.

Are you struggling with identifying a specific niche that gives you passion? Are you wondering if there’s “too much competition” in your field (not probable, in my view)? Do you feel you need more education and training to come forward and be all you’d like to in your line of work?

Are you uncomfortable speaking about yourself in complimentary ways?

If so, get some outside help to research the best steps to take to resolve what holds you back. Once you understand your negative thought process about your business – and move forward to address them – your marketing communications will be more powerful, because they’re authentic – not a stretch of the truth but an accurate, potent representation.

Saying Yes!

Finally, Say Yes! to knowing that you do make a difference to others, and speak confidently about it. Know that you are an expert. Understand the difference you make in people’s lives, and communicate it. Live into it. Offer your services everywhere, give talks, write newsletters and articles. Bring yourself to the market actively. Find new organizations and companies that you would want to partner with, and approach them. Don’t keep yourself a secret.

As you get the word out more and more, you’ll refine your professional message as you refine your professional identity. It will grow and change as you do.

Say Yes! to powerfully bringing yourself forward. You do make a positive difference, and others need to know about it.

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