Recently, during a corporate training session at LEGO, I asked a group of professionals to write down 20 qualities about themselves, 20 strengths of their personal brand. One woman looked completely dumbfounded. She stared down at the blank sheet of paper and finally said, “Rahna, that’s got to be the hardest thing you could’ve asked for!” She was stumped. She had no idea what to write and sadder still, she had no idea what she was good at! This is a woman in a very large, very well-known company that conducts annual formal performance reviews….and still she didn’t know. Can you imagine?
Unfortunately, I see this all too often. People have no idea what value they bring to their world, what strengths they have, what qualities they have to contribute.
This is a crime. This is why I do what I do. EVERYONE needs to know what they are good at, what they do well, and if everyone knew that, they would raise their self-esteem, seek out opportunities to maximize the use of those talents, and ROCK THEIR WORLD!
Please, I’m begging you. If you don’t know what your talents are, go find out!
Go ask several of your business colleagues, your friends, and a few family members to tell you at least four things they appreciate about you. Ask for qualities they feel you express, and seek to understand why that adds value to their life. What is it about you that is so great? Why are you so important in their life? What value do you bring to them? Why do they seek you out?
Try to be as specific as possible. You want to understand the nuances of these qualities in order to understand what makes you unique. Bill Cosby, Jim Carey, and Chris Rock are all “funny” in COMPLETELY different ways. You want to understand the subtleties about your strengths and how you are different from everyone else.
When you’re in middle school, you just want to fit in. Standing out, being different, being unique is tantamount to social suicide….But for marketers, being unique is what it’s all about, because no one wants to buy what they perceive as “me-too” products. People seek out something special, something one-of-a-kind…and the same applies to people, too. Those who are different, unique, one-of-a-kind tend to stand out in a crowd and find it easier to “make a name for themselves.” Actors who can find their own style have more earning potential and end up with the “plum” roles. Think about Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Katherine Hepburn, Dustin Hoffman, or Tom Hanks.
So please, if you care about advancing your career in amazing ways, find out what you’re good at. It is a foundational piece of information for radical career growth both inside a corporate environment and on your own. Understanding your unique value helps you “sell” yourselves to others (and make no mistake about it: in your career, you are always selling yourself).