“We add outside stimuli to get employees to think differently. Once, we brought in an expert sword swallower to show what it means to have focus and clarity. Another time, we brought in a cellist. By progressively adding stanzas to a song, she illustrated how things built upon one another.”-Jack Calhoun, Global President – Banana Republic, San Francisco
As an individual, you need to understand your peculiarities, uniqueness, and value offering. Have an inventory of all your traits, characteristics, and qualities that do not necessarily revolve around your skills and competencies. Create your own personal yardstick to assess their strengths and the values that each of these qualities bring to the table. Remember that the yardstick you are using is not any one’s – not your workplace’s, not your boss’, not your friends’ and families’ – but your very own yardstick. Why is that?
It is time for you to see yourself as you truly are, neither looking at the coloured glass created by all those years of performance appraisals, nor through that collection of feedback from people around you since you were little, but through that clear lens of your “being” as no one has seen it before. Yes, the concept of Johari Window or the idea of your blind spot, which I use all the time, is necessary. However, use them only as reference to make your own personal definitions.
In looking at yourself through that lens of self-knowledge and self-appreciation, you need to be honest and accepting. Embrace whatever it is about you that is unconventional, non-conforming, or even quirky. These unique attributes make you different. These, along with your standard skills and competencies, will make you stand out. They make you special. Don’t deny their existence. Don’t be embarrased to acknowledge them. Work around them and put them in their right place in your arsenal of strengths. Expressing them not only make you unique. They also make you authentic.
Being authentic makes it easier for you to connect to other people. When they see those chips in your armour, they see you as real and reachable. You become an approachable person who will understand other’s uniqueness and peculiarities. This ability to connect will give you mileage when you network, when you show up for an interview, a sales call, or when you deal with your co-workers or clients.
Why don’t you try it and discover that facet of yourself that you have not been putting your attention to? Make a list about that unconventional you and see who shows up in that looking glass. I’d be interested to hear about them and I will tell you how you can use them to create your personal brand statement. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment. I’d be glad to spare 30 minutes of my time to discuss how you can leverage this knowledge to your career development.