Personal Finance

Cut a professional image to stay ahead of the pack

Go out of your way to do unusual things to
Go out of your way to do unusual things to succeed. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

You and I have plenty in common. We have been conditioned to believe that being different is wrong. The trouble I want to suggest that you have with that is that the notion assumes that what most people do, what most people have and the way most people are, is the RIGHT WAY.

If that were anywhere near true, most people would be wildly productive, successful and happy every single day!

Look around you. The reality is completely opposite. Most people are a lot less productive than they could be, not successful and they are certainly not ecstatic about life.

Now, most of us have been raised to appreciate life very basically. Our five senses form our full arsenal of how we attack the ever-changing, increasingly competitive life we lead today. Look, we can see with our eyes, hear with our ears, touch with our hands, smell with our noses and taste with our tongues. But so can all the other animals in some form or other!

If these basic senses were adequate to envision, chart and create greatness, even dogs and horses chicken could create brilliant futures for themselves. Our basic senses were given to us only for the purpose of surviving in our environment. Who wants to merely survive? The reason you and I are superior beings is that we are intelligent. This is the difference.

Among humans, The reason some of us reap more out of their personal and professional lives is that they embrace, engage and reap from their intelligence. The same intelligence we all inherently possess in equal measure. No one gets an unfair share. This is the difference.

The people who make the most of their lives are the ones who dare to do the seemingly unusual, abnormal, uncomfortable and even unexciting things. They consciously and continually take the decision to form the habit of doing the things that average people do not like to do. This is the difference.

They are very few people. They seem to have carefully selected the members of their privileged club. The lucky people. The chosen few. These seemingly “chosen few” are people willing, able and ready to go across the grain, to rock the boats of normalcy, to stick out like sore thumbs and look crazy to the rest of the world to become the best. This is the difference.

And then we envy, admire and even emulate them when we finally come to the realisation that difference... is good!

Tell me. What is YOUR difference? What is the edge you have over others? What is your unique personal and professional proposition?

So you are a good person, you are a qualified professional, you are a hard worker, you’re dedicated, reliable and certainly over-deliver on your mandate year-in, year-out yet you are constantly left at the back end of things.

Your colleagues and other contemporaries quickly rise through the ranks.

Soon you find yourself still holding the same position and earning the same salary while working your fingers to the bone five, six, even seven years down the line. The organisation is not the problem and no, your boss does not hate you.

The thing is — many can do what you do, believe me. You do not want to be among the many. The many are also slobs.

They wake up in the morning, hopefully, take a shower, slather on some petroleum jelly on your skin, throw on something from their wardrobe and head on down the office. While they are there no one can tell they exist until he or she submit some finished project.

There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that. It is just common, normal, usual and comfortable. Nothing different. So nothing different happens to you. If this speaks to you, Here are some deceptively simple yet weighty considerations you may want to make:

Be warned that they may be uncomfortable. If that happens, it means you need to quit thinking of breaking through the glass ceiling and start breaking out of your comfort zone.

Can others see the dirt under your nails, the hairs sticking out of your nose or the wax in your ears? You are in need of grooming assistance.

Do others ask if you too experienced the power blackout last night? They mean that you are wearing rumpled clothes. You need wardrobe management.

Do they stand at a further than normal distance from you?

Hmmm... They won’t tell you but it is my duty to. If you don’t spray them with saliva as you speak, your breath may not be fresh or you have unpleasant body odour.

Can they hear you chewing and see the food particles in your mouth during lunch? Your dining etiquette could use some improvement.

Do they seem to misunderstand your emails? You need help to effectively write out your brilliant ideas.

You need to develop the difference shared by the chosen few if your circumstances are to change.

Wondering why you're rarely invited to high-profile company events? You need to look high-profile and brush up on your social skills.

While you're at it, you may want to learn what all the cutlery and glassware on the tables are for... And how to use them appropriately.

Do presenters frequently call you out during meetings? You need to understand how you're communicating non-verbally.

Do others get more credit for your input? You need to learn how to position and market your.

Did you have to be escorted home before the last office party ended? Well, let's just say that there's a difference between drinking at your local bar and at your company event.

Start today. Develop a comprehensive executive presence!