8 Ways That Winners Stand Out
LEADERSHIP | 4,966 views
If you’re looking to get ahead, now is the time to stand out from the crowd. Apple set themselves apart by developing a fresh, user friendly store layout. Five Guys Burgers distinguished themselves by selling burgers exclusively unlike many of their competitors with multi-item menus. Nordstrom stormed the market with their amazing customer service and “no questions asked” return policy. Standing out is crucial to business success, but it is key to succeeding as an individual, as well. If you’re looking to set yourself apart, check out these 8 ways that winners stand out in the workplace and in life.
1. Play to your strengths. One thing all winners have in common is an in depth knowledge of their strengths. If you want to stand out, you must know what you are a good at so that you can use those strengths to your advantage. Start by listing 3 of your strongest talents. Your greatest strengths will be things that pop instantly into your mind – strong public speaker, great writer, etc. If something on your list took longer than 2 minutes to come up with, chances are it isn’t your go-to quality. It’s easy to list your personal strengths, but figuring out how to apply them to your goals often takes some creative thinking. Do some brainstorming. How can your sales experience help you nail that interview? How can your organizational skills impress your boss? Think specifically, develop a game plan, and play to your strengths.
2. Have a confident exterior. It’s important to feel confident on the inside, but a winner’s confidence must show, as well. Start with the foundation – your posture. Stand up straight. Keep your shoulders back and your chest high. A slouchy demeanor reads as insecure. Second, look the part. Style your hair. Buy a stylish suit. Iron your work clothes. Finally, make sure your body language is strong and direct. When talking to your boss, look them in the eye. Practice a firm handshake. Like it or not, physicality and appearance go a long way.
3. Take on big projects. Winners not only tackle big tasks, but are eager to take on the challenge. Finishing a large project shows that you have the ability to plan, coordinate, learn, persevere… the list goes on and on. Taking the initiative speaks volumes, as well. Next time you’re in that big company meeting, jump at the chance to lead a month long endeavor instead of shrinking into the wallpaper. Even if it’s out of your comfort zone, it will help you grow and give you more face time (and cred) with your superiors. Next time, you’ll be ready for an even bigger project.
4. Voice your ideas. It’s tempting to keep your opinions and ideas to yourself if your contemporaries are of a different train of thought. Don’t let this happen to you. Winners are willing to speak their mind even if this means taking a risk. Come from a respectful place, of course, but say what you have to say. Chances are someone is thinking the exact same thing as you, but hasn’t found the courage to voice it. Even if the majority doesn’t agree with you, speaking your mind will show a different perspective that can lead to a more well-rounded conversation. It also shows that you value your ideas. Who knows, your boss might even be grateful for a fresh perspective.
5. Prepare for the long haul. Winners do not expect immediate results or gratification. They know how to chug along step-by-step, day-by-day. You won’t get a raise right away. You won’t get a promotion your first month on the job. Your CEO might not even remember your name for the first three months you’re at your company. Don’t let it deter you. Keep your head down. Keep proving yourself. Working hard steadily and consistently will showcase your patience, gumption, and mental fortitude, even if these traits aren’t acknowledged for much longer than you’d like. Just keep swimming. Results will come.
6. Listen. Winners may be confident and bold, but that doesn’t give you permission to be self-involved. Listen to those around you. Listen to your superiors, listen to your equals, listen to your subordinates. Listening does not mean obeying their every whim, it means paying attention to who they are. Learn about their lives. Figure out what makes them tick. Hear their aspirations, their concerns, their ideas. Not only will lending an ear make you a more relatable figure in your workplace, it will make you more aware of office dynamics and how they relate to you and your goals.
7. Get specific. It is hard to be successful if you don’t know what you’re trying to succeed at – so get specific. Figure out exactly what you are trying to achieve, and break it down into the steps you need to make it happen. For example, instead of focusing on starting my own business, start with developing my business plan this month. If you want to travel to Paris, start by examining your budget and allocating part of your monthly income to savings. Don’t just drool over pictures of the Eiffel Tower. Winners not only take action, they have a set course of action. Your early 20s are the time for wandering in a vague direction. After that, it’s time to get specific.
8. Model yourself after a mentor. Leo had Matt McConaughey inWolf of Wall Street. Luke Skywalker had Obi-Wan Kenobi. A person can benefit greatly from working closely with a mentor. Learning from a mentor gives you a model to follow, and an idea of what to expect along the journey. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel – if it worked for them, it could work for you. Take their advice. Follow their lead. Yes, everyone’s path will be different, but following in a mentor’s footsteps is a solid place to start. A mentor is a great way to make other relationships, as well. They can introduce you to people in your industry, and help you make connections with bigwigs you might not get the chance to meet otherwise. Find someone in your field that you admire and trust, and invite them to coffee. Even a couple meetings a year can be extremely beneficial.