with everyone talking, talking, talking (and hardly anyone listening), there are simple ways to break free from the crowd, signalling your “specialness” or “sparkle”, as i like to call it.
plenty of people are competing for exactly what you want. you have the skill but how do you stand out from the pack in order to get the success you want? what are the intangibles that make one person stand out over another? i have a few ideas about standing out from the crowd: it takes consistency, persistence and hard work to highlight your substance and obtain success (however you may define it).
this advice applies to all areas in life like during a job search, in business, building a brand, with friends, peers and even family. the most important thing to note about this mini-guide is that there shouldn’t be any strings attached to any of these ideas. always act with integrity – this is a way of life, not a short term fix to see what you can get out of something or someone. maybe this post will simply help you become more aware of behaviors and even give you some ideas about how to tweak a few things!
listen: notice how many of us are talking (about ourselves) and not listening. we all want to be heard. take the time to simply give someone your complete attention, without interrupting, allowing your eyes to wander over to technology or shifting the topic to focus on yourself. i know for certain i that i prefer those who listen to what i’m saying instead of thinking about what they are going to say next; if the person i’m talking to is distracted, it’s obvious and it makes me re-think talking to them in the first place. make someone feel special and just simply listen. they’ll seek you out next time.
ask questions: not only are you listening, but show the person you are listening and (genuinely) interested in what they have to say by asking them questions about what they are saying or how they are feeling. it will bond you together with the person because asking questions validates our thoughts. make sure you wait for them to answer before jumping in to give your opinions.
be gracious: saying thank you is completely underrated. some of you that have been reading the blog know how i feel about the thank you card. it is completely essential when someone does something special for you to send them a thank you card or at least a well crafted email. this isn’t to encourage their behavior, but to be authentically grateful for the gesture. it makes a person feel good to be acknowledged in a special way and they will remember that you made them feel this way (people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel). even if that person can’t “do” anything for you at the time, be kind just for the sake of it. that goes for social media, too. as i’ve become more followed, i do get feedback, comments and compliments more often, and i always take the time to say thank you… because i appreciate the gesture!
be authentic: to me this is always key and something that can be learned over time and with self-awareness and practice. do what feels right to you, not what is popular, and eventually, the right audience will notice. being authentic means to always follow through with your word, whether it’s a deadline, a meeting or a favor, creating trust and community. doing things for people without expecting anything in return, simply because you want to enrich their life, will leave a lasting impression.
be generous: no, this doesn’t mean buying people things so that they will like you. show you care with a supportive gesture in whatever way suits you (like taking soup to a sick friend or coworker, sharing someone’s web content, leaving a note for a loved one!). remember that you started at the bottom once upon a time, and if it wasn’t for the generosity of others, we’d be nowhere – pay this forward and help out someone who’s on their own path. be generous with your time, your spirit and your attention; go that extra mile to show your character and you’ll be the exception to the rule.
ask for input: asking someone’s opinion validates their success or authority and signals their importance. everyone has a different perspective that can be helpful to you so why not seek out a fresh take? doing so also shows humility which is simply magnetic.
be patient: we live in an instant gratification world. you know you’re special, but why aren’t you being noticed? now that i’ve hit my 30’s, i know that nothing worth having comes overnight and without hard work and perseverance. this isn’t fun advice, but you just have to be consistent, patient and avoid feeling discouraged because it “looks” like it’s come easy to everyone else. i promise you it hasn’t.