Feels like trying to solve an extremely difficult puzzle doesn’t it?
Connecting everything you’ve heard about being a success at work.
Advice about time management, reducing email, running succesful meetings, networking, promotion – the list never ends.
You’ve read some books, attended some talks, subscribed to some cool blogs (ahem), but you just don’t know where to start.
You know your job, understand how to get stuff done, but your career seems to be standing still, while colleagues around you get praise and plaudits just for turning up.
Sound familiar? Flipping annoying – right?
The problem is that people don’t remember you, they don’t talk about you, and trying to figure out why is slowing driving you crazy.
So here’s the good news – there could just be one missing piece that will propel you from forgotten to unforgettable.
You need to find something, anything, that will make you stand out from the crowd.
Think about it, you are unique, and have a bunch of family and friends who appreciate your individual traits and personality, but at the office you go into work mode and just become another worker bee.
The simple fact is that unless you deliberately make an effort to get noticed, you won’t be. Unless you decide to be different, to take steps to raise your profile and to get people talking about you, it ain’t gonna happen.
The missing piece of the puzzle is simply being different.
Having something out of the ordinary that shows confidence, attracts attention and most important of all, finally gets people talking about you.
Below is a bunch of examples. A pick and mix of strategies that you can adopt to go from ‘What guy/girl?’ to ‘That guy/girl’.
If you want to take the next step in your career, you’d be an idiot not to pick one and start working on it today.
Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you have to become an arsehole. But it does mean you need to man up and decide that it’s time to stop pissing in the wind make shit happen.
- Create a strong image. You need to form an impression in peoples mind so that when they think of you they associate you with this image and of being different and standing out in some way. Is it that you are the person who uses a standing desk? Is it that you are the only one wearing braces to the office each day? Is it that whilst others wear jeans, t-shirts and converse trainers, you stroll around in £500 louboutins?
- Take a pot shot at someone / something (especially if they’re popular). This is a quick way to get people’s attention and be different from the masses. Will you upset someone? Probably. Will everyone agree with you? No. Will it expose a common enemy and get some people to agree with and maybe even defend your opinion? It could. Will it spark a debate and get people talking? You bet. After all, sometimes everyone else is wrong. They become corporate sheep without even knowing it and need someone to open their eyes and put them back on the right track.
- Show weakness (and be totally transparent about it). We all love a flawed hero. No-one is perfect so don’t pretend to be. Tell people what you’re no good at, and share your experience widely with people when you screw up. It makes you trustworthy. It makes you human. It will make you different. People normally try to sweep mistakes under the carpet, so do the opposite and use it to your advantage.
- Create your superhero name. How do you want to be known? The sales guru? The data geek? The CMS queen? The ultimate optimist? Start using this strap-line to sign off your emails instead of your job title. Tell people who you want them to see you as (and re-inforce this over and over again), and soon enough that’s what’ll happen, but you need to give them a nudge in the right direction first. Create a name or strap-line and start using it as soon as possible.
- Become opinionated. This doesn’t mean you have to change your opinion, it just means you have to change the way you express it. For example changing ‘have you noticed this isn’t going well’ to ‘you’d have to be an idiot not to notice this screw up’ is a much more opinionated and powerful statement. Changing ‘I like your shoes‘ to ‘Those are the best shoes I’ve seen in months’ has more punch and provocation behind it. Changing from ‘I don’t agree with that process’ to ‘No self respecting project manager would think for a split second of following that process’, is more engaging and outspoken. Opinionated people are more passionate, more interesting and more noticeable.
- Be the captain of your ship. Think it would be a fun idea to have a team of colleagues do Movember – just set up the team and invite others to join. Enjoy reading others blogs, but think you can do a better job – start your own. Think your team is missing some information sharing opportunities? Even if this is not part of your remit, suggest a way to fill the gap. Take ownership. Take control.
- Strut into the ring. In order to have any chance of winning a fight (and yes you have to fight for your career success), have the balls to step into the ring, with your gloves strapped firmly on, and be willing to start slugging it out. If people are looking for a volunteer to help present something to senior mgmt – raise your hand and get involved. If there’s a suggestion that organising a team lunch would be a good idea – do it. You will never claim victory from the side lines. People don’t talk about bystanders. They talk about the fighters.
Putting your head above the parapet can be scary and might be a step too far for some. There’s an element of risk here of course. But those who stick with the crowd will not progress as quickly as those who are prepared to stand out and be different. Simple.
Those that create a strong image, have strong opinions, who captain their own ship and are prepared to fight for what they want – they are the ones who will be remembered. The ones who get noticed. The ones who will be talked about. The ones we admire.
So take your pick from this list, choose your killer move(s), put at least one into action, show strength of character, be different and watch your career go from strength to strength.