To Stand Out, I Must Start with Myself
by Doreen Cooper
It’s fascinating to think how we can stand out in our different social circles. Whether it’s at work, with family, or as part of various extracurricular circles, it’s good to be someone who stands out for good reasons.
There are many ways we can do that—by dressing up well, smiling more often, or doing things more. I took a step back, however, and really thought about how we can stand out in a sustainable manner.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Find ways to add value. Don’t be one of the many who only looks for ways to take. Instead, find ways where you can add value to other people with your time, skills, and/or financial resources. It can be as simple as contributing helpful ideas in an online forum or volunteering to help sponsor a charitable event. This will let people see what you have to offer and, at the same time, tell them you aren’t just another person who’s looking for something to gain from a situation. Be cautious; people are smart enough to know if you’re just in it for the money, praise, or popularity. Look for ways where you can give.
2. Listen with your ears & your eyes. In order to stand out, we need to be able to respond well to others. In order to respond well to others, we need to listen. Listening is an activity which requires full focus. It’s not only about engaging our ears, but also observing others. After all, people might be saying one thing yet their body language is communicating another. Be sensitive to others’ behavior and adjust yours accordingly.
3. Be holistically trustworthy. It has been said that there are 4 elements in becoming a trustworthy person: reliability, acceptance, openness, and congruence.
We are usually strongest in one or two areas. However to really stand out, we need to be able to speak everyone’s trust language. It means we have to develop strengths in all four areas:
Be reliable by being true to your word and showing up and submitting things on time
Be accepting by respecting differences and trying to understand others’ perspectives better
Be open by being honest and by clarifying things
Be congruent by not playing games and not having hidden agendas
Why do we need to develop all four areas? We’ll never know if the strength of the person we’ll be dealing with tomorrow might not be our strongest suit. We need to be able to show everyone that they could trust us and would therefore want to work with us. Whether it’s by listening, adding value or being trustworthy, we stand out by putting others’ needs at a high priority.
What can you do more for today?