How creating an alter-ego helped my career

The birth of my alter-ego: Clara. The story of Clara begun one Thursday morning, as an ambitious, but shy, corporate girl was preparing to go in a business meeting. All dressed up and with her slides polished and nice, she couldn’t help but feel … horror.

She was terrified of presenting to 20 unknown, very experienced, male directors and engineers.  She could just imagine them staring blankly through her slides, with the most senior of them politely ending her presentation after a few embarrassing minutes.

As she walked through the campus, she started envying her confident female colleagues who would naturally walk in the meeting rooms like they owned the place and spoke boldly.

So she started imagining the type of girl who would step in her meeting room that day and captivate her audience. That girl would be a rising star, smart and witty. She would feel at ease even with hundreds of eyes on her and always talk naturally. Aggressive in going after what she wants and asking for what she wants, never taking NO for an answer. She would be impulsive, candid, but wise. She would be the type that breaks the glass ceiling at 35 and reinvent herself immediately after that.

As she climbed the last 2 floors up, she made a decision: she would be that girl today!

So as she took a place at the table, she opened her notebook, scribbled a name in the corner, and then stared at it for one, long minute: Clara…. Clara!

Then she looked up, and she let newly born Clara take over.

45 minutes later, she stepped down for lunch with the no-longer-unknown senior male directors and couldn’t believe how great everything went. She had started her presentation boldly, smiling and looking every one of those gentlemen in the eye. She scrapped her rehearsed speech and improvised, switching focus as the first pair of eyes started looking away, expressed what she wanted to portray using experiences of her audience as examples and involved everybody in the conversation. Her 15 minutes turned into 35, because everybody participated actively (and if YOU’ve been in a corporate meeting, you know how often those transform in the silence-of-doom) and a couple of them even wanted a follow-up conversation.

In the corporate world, that right there, my darlings, is a home run!

Clara was born and here to stay.

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