How to Distinguish Yourself in the Workplace.

Are you a high performer? What gives you an edge over another team or company? Your performance edge has to come from somewhere – everyone is working hard. What are you doing differently?

Hard work and commitment are not enough to distinguish yourself and your performance. Everyone is doing their best; it is not our job to judge what “best” means. My best is different than yours. There is a big difference between being productive and being busy.

  • What is your unique talent?

What is your unique talent? Are you creative? Do you have a good sense of humor? Do you have an eye for detail? Too often, we mute our talents. We need to have the courage to express them. If you are drawing a blank on what your talents are, ask your family, colleagues, friends, and mentors. Seeking feedback on your abilities is not about seeing praise. It is seeing yourself through the eyes of others.

Talents and skills grow and develop over time. You can add new talents as you explore and try new things. Recently I was having a conversation with my youngest son. He was frustrated that he couldn’t run for very long and said he could only run for short bursts. I shared with him my own story, saying that I would set small goals. When I first started running, I set the goal to run for ten seconds. At times, those ten seconds were tough, and I was left panting and breathless. I told him over time, and I would then set a new goal to sprint for thirty seconds. Eventually, time became a distance goal. I wanted to be able to run for a quarter of a mile without stopping to walk, and then it became a half-mile. Although it took time, the euphoria I felt when I could finally run a full mile without stopping to walk was a momentous accomplishment for me. I am proud to say that I worked my way up to running for a 5-mile run without stopping to walk. Different seasons of our life provide us with the opportunity to explore new interests and discover new interests and new talents. Be curious, continue to try new things, and you will indeed be amazed at what you can do.

  • Doing 10% more than others
    • Take the initiative to do more than what is asked.
    • Try new things and embrace the unknown.
    • Helping others in the workplace will earn trust and be given more responsibilities.
    • Be enthusiastic.
  • Build your Network

In today’s business climate, what is most important is our connections. Of course, skills can be taught, but if you develop the talent to listen well and connect to people quickly, you will be valuable in any job.

  • Develop non-job-related skills

When you explore and develop non-job-related skills, it reflects into your work. People are consistently seeking a better work-life balance, which means developing interests outside of work. The benefit of taking the time to pursue hobbies and interests is that it opens your mind up to more creativity at work. Take a dance class, cooking class, painting class. Learn to play a musical instrument, attend local theatre, garden, get outdoors. The possibilities are endless.

  • Take one a community service role.

Volunteer. When you volunteer, you learn new skills and add to your network. Ask to sit on a board for a cause that interests you. I have had the privilege to meet many people who genuinely love to volunteer. They find great joy in serving their community. Their efforts may be small, but it makes an impact. Show your love for your community by helping others.

Locally there are many good causes; Jerome Senior Center, Martha & Mary’s Food Pantry, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, volunteering at a school. I know some have made newborn hats and donated them to the hospital. Another has made hundreds if not thousands of masks and given them away. Visit an assisted living and spend some quality time with the residents. The opportunities are out there, and it doesn’t have to be a considerable time commitment.

  • Understanding what results in matters to the business and aligning your actions to them.
    • Everyone is busy; however, the actions do not always connect with the outcomes. Be sure that your outputs align with the mission and vision of the company.
    • As an employee, you are an ambassador for the company. Know their values and expectations of future goals. Immerse yourself in the company, make suggestions and work hard.

Maya Angelou said it best. “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better do better.” We are all seeking to be our best selves and it is a journey. Everyone has unique skills and talents that have made you the person you are today. Tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities to shine.

By Cheryl Viola, Executive Director, MBA