It will be tough to find yourself as the only person doing what you do. There is probably at least one person that can do what you do; the difference is how you deliver your services.
For example, there are millions of doctors, lawyers, plumbers, motivational speakers, and financial planners out there. Yet, only a few are in the upper echelon, with everyone else gravitating to these people. They are the recognized experts. When you think about companies, Apple, Google, Amazon, and Netflix are examples of companies that easily stand out in their respective industries. When you think about individuals, Dave Ramsey, Simon Sinek, Seth Godin, & J.K Rowling are some examples of people that have broken through among the multitudes of people in their respective fields.
As an employee in an organization, you probably have at least one other person that can do your job. As a business owner, other businesses can provide the same product or service as you do. In a world where countless others do exactly what you do, how can you stand out and become known as a recognized expert? Or maybe a better question is, how can you break through and get more people to know you and become a loyal fan?
Just about a week ago, one of my old friends reached out to me to ask about career planning and some financial related questions. Initially, I was surprised to have him ask these questions, but during our conversation, he explained that he knows that I have a passion for those subjects. To him, I am a recognized expert in financial and career topics. He was right; I do not only enjoy those topics, but I also like to help people find a career that they can enjoy and make money doing it. That is why I write, to inform and educate people about how to achieve these two objectives.
Becoming known for what you do is the crucial first step if you want to stand out and break through among the countless other people that do the same thing.
If people are not able to clearly articulate what you do or how you can help them, then it will be challenging to stand out or breakthrough. Differentiating and distinguishing yourself from others will help give you an edge in the competitive landscape that we have in the world today.
In this piece, I share seven powerful ways you can stand out in a crowded field and become a recognized expert.
1. Know yourself.
Knowing yourself is not just about knowing your name or the kind of food you like. Knowing yourself is about knowing what you are capable of doing, your skills, talent, expertise, and everything that you enjoy doing. When you can clearly articulate what you enjoy doing, and when you strategically put your time to doing those things, your chances of breakthrough will significantly increase.
Here is an example; I enjoy writing; ideas about what to write quickly flow into my brain once I began writing. If I decide to change my path in life, by getting adventurous, and I want to become a musician, I know for sure that I will struggle. Singing is not my thing, and I know that fact because I know myself. The starting point, therefore, to help you stand out in what you do is to understand what you are comfortable with, what you will make you jump out of your bed, and what you will be happy to do, then you will be on a path to your breakthrough.
This does not mean in any way that there will not be any learning curve as you are starting. You may initially find it challenging to do the thing, but if there is any part of you that enjoys it, you should persevere, learn, and seek to improve, then gradually, you will start seeing a result. There is no automatic or overnight success.
2. Play to your strength.
Now that you know yourself, then the next thing that you need to do to achieve your breakthrough is to play to your strength. Every soccer player knows that it is more comfortable to play on their turf. When you focus and capitalize on your strength, your learning curve will not be too steep, you will not struggle too much, and the chances of giving up is significantly reduced. If you are the type that likes interacting with people, taking up positions in sales, customer service, or real estate agent will surely be a good fit for you. If, on the other hand, you don’t so much enjoy the day to day interaction that these roles demand, if you find yourself in such positions, you may survive, but you won’t thrive; therefore, you can’t stand out. Remember the saying, everyone is born a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life, believing that it is stupid. If Dave Ramey, a radio show host about money, decides to become a movie producer like J.K Rowling, he will struggle.
“So, focus on your sweet spot, and you will improve your chances of breaking through.”
3. Prepare for the long haul.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying “Rome was not built in a day,” this means that it will take time to achieve any great feat. Don’t be under any illusion that the high achievers around you find it easy to do what they do, or that they are an overnight success. For most of them, it takes years to hone their skills and improve their competencies.
According to bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell, it takes at least 10,000 hours of practice, plus talent, to achieve mastery. Have you put in your 10,000 hours of practice yet? You should be prepared for the long haul and not give up midway when it seems your idea or business is not gaining traction. You need to put in the time and persevere because it may seem like nothing works initially when you are just starting out. Maybe you just started a business, and you are not seeing customers to sustain the company, that doesn’t mean you should pack up and close the business. You should instead, innovate, and stay creative, learn what is working and what is not, and apply the lessons to get better. When you find yourself asking the question of whether or not to continue, always put things in perspective and remind yourself of the reason for starting in the first place.
4. Differentiate yourself.
There are multitudes of other people in your field, doing exactly what you are doing. If you want to stand out, you need to differentiate yourself from the multitudes. You can do so with your style or method of delivery. You can develop a framework that will be easier to follow than those of your competitors. If you are in the business of creating products, you can ensure that your product stands out by making it simpler and easier to use. That was the way Apple disrupted the phone industry. Phones used to come with multiple buttons, but Apple differentiated themselves by providing just one single button to replace the numerous buttons, and people found that it was easier to use phones with a single button. What is your competitive advantage? Your clients must clearly see your value proposition and the difference that your product or services will make in their lives before they gravitate towards you.
5. Dream big.
You either go big or go home. To stand out, you must dream big. You cannot be contented with a mediocre result. Why should you just settle for ten clients, when you can have a hundred? You need to dream big and aim higher in order to stand out. If your goal doesn’t scare you, then you are still dreaming small. You need to supersize your goal, make sure it stretches you, and get you out of your comfort zone. When you begin to dream big and aim high, you will be able to attract other like-minded people that can help you to in your journey. When it seems that nothing is working for you, as it will sometimes, you need to renew your motivation by reminding yourself what you stand to gain if you achieve your goals. If you can put the end goal in mind, then you will be able to keep pushing forward and see more positive results. When I started writing, I was doing it just for the fun of it, but now, I have started generating some passive income from my work. You must, however, stay creative, and have unshakable optimism and believe in yourself so that you can achieve your goals.
6. Always keep improving.
The future belongs to those that are willing to learn and improve on what they do. This is where you need to be strategic and know what areas you need to improve on. You have to assess yourself continually and identify the aspects of your profession where you need to do better. When you get better in the areas where you are lagging, then you need to take in a notch further by exploring ways to make things even better. When I started publishing my articles, I only put them on my website, but that comes with its limitations. The people that will read the piece must visit my website. I am not driving millions of traffic at the moment, so I made some changes. I realized that to grow and become known for what I do; I must utilize social media platforms where millions of people can have easier access to read my work. What are you learning that will help you to improve in what you do? If you are not learning, you are losing, and you will find yourself lagging after a while, this is not a recipe for standing out.
7. Build loyalty around you.
What’s an idea that no one knows about? What’s a business without customers? What’s your career going to look like if you are not contributing to the organization’s objectives? If you want to stand out and excel, you must find ways to let others know about what you do. You must build followers, loyal fan base around your products or services. It is these loyal fans of yours that will help you to spread the information about what you do so that more and more people will know about you. As an individual in the workplace, you should start by making your boss a fan, by ensuring that you get his buy-in on your ideas, creativities, and solutions to issues with him. It is then his responsibility to tell your colleagues and others in the establishment of your awesomeness. Businesses spread information about what they do by spending billions every year on the advertisement. It has even become a little easier to spread the news about what you do by leveraging social media and connect with people that are thousands of miles away from you. You will succeed if you can build a well engaged, loyal fans because they will make it their duty to spread your information by liking, sharing, and commenting on your posts on social media platforms. You need the community to thrive and grow.
You can break through and stand out when you set yourself up in the right ways. Follow these seven tips and you will achieve awesomeness in your chosen field.