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Name: Leslie Hughes
Business: PUNCH!media

Leslie Hughes is a LinkedIn Specialist, a LinkedIn Profile Writer and the Principal of PUNCH!media.

Leslie has been in the digital landscape for over 20 years and founded her digital agency PUNCH!media in 2009.

In addition to teaching Digital Marketing at The University of Ontario Institute of Technology and ACCES Employment, she has worked with companies such as Investment Planning Counsel, The Children’s Wish Foundation and Guardian Life Insurance Company of America to help them optimize their professional presence and convert clients.

Leslie has been called a “Social Media Guru” by CBC Radio, and has also been a guest on CTV’s “The Social” talking about “How to Manage your Digital Identity.”

She is the author of “CREATE. CONNECT. CONVERT,” which is designed to help you own your value and build a powerful professional presence (without feeling like you’re bragging).

Leslie’s lessons from 2020

What I learned in 2020:
One thing I’ve learned (that isn’t necessarily specific to 2020), is that most people are nervous about standing in their value and letting other people know how competent they are. 

I thought it was a Canadian thing, then I thought it was just a female thing. Turns out, almost every client I’ve ever written a LinkedIn profile for, in any country, at any level, will state that they don’t want to share their accomplishments for fear that people will judge them as arrogant.

There are three ways you can tackle your impostor syndrome as it pertains to LinkedIn:

  1. You’re supposed to include your accomplishments on LinkedIn. The psychology of LinkedIn is quite different than other channels. It’s your professional presence.
  2. You are a brand. If you don’t toot your own horn, no one else is going to do it for you. You bring a lot of value and people want to work with the best. So, if your prospects, colleagues, or audience don’t know you’re great at what they do, you’re doing a disservice to them.
  3. If you write your Summary/About section for the reader, and highlight that you are there to provide value and help them, then your accomplishments won’t come across as if you’re bragging, you’ll appear as if you’re coming from a place of service. 

A quote often say to my clients is: “When you’re inside the jar, you cannot see the label”.

You probably don’t see how much value you bring to your network. Most of us struggle with this. Things that may come easy to us, can be very challenging to someone else. Even the most successful celebrities in the world struggle with doubt, so you’re not alone.

I promise that if you take baby steps to step outside your comfort zone, you’ll find that telling your story gets easier over time.

The second thing I learned specifically for 2020 is to cut myself some slack.

The pandemic has forced many of us to reprioritize what’s important. I’m more likely to focus on friends, family and health instead of running on the hamster wheel of “busy”. 

In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

What I’m planning for 2021:
I’m gonna keep on, keepin’ on, in 2021.

I remind myself frequently that I have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, and to try new things.

Like other animals, our lizard brain (the amygdala) is hard-wired to avoid putting ourselves in harm’s way. In the 21stcentury, we humans aren’t likely to be running away from predators, but our brain has been conditioned to avoid anything that will “hurt” us – including rejection.

Whether I’m pitching myself as a source to the media, I’m reaching out to make a new connection with a senior executive, or simply doing something I’ve never done before, I remind myself that we all have to start somewhere. With each baby step forward, I’ll often look back at my journey and realize how far I’ve come.

I challenge you to think of at least one thing you’ve accomplished – and see how far you’ve come too!

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