1. Be Productive. This may sound trite, but getting 'stuff' done is an important aspect of standing out, and one that many people overlook. The top people in any field are those that have figured out ways to ensure that they operate at their most productive levels throughout the course of their day. They simply manage to get more done, in the same time frame, than anyone else. It doesn't mean they are smarter, or that they work harder, but it does mean that they work smarter. Take a close look at the way in which you work each day, the systems you have in place to support what needs to get done, and start implementing some changes to help you work smarter. This might involve some creative strategies that exceed setting up better filing systems or hotter to-do lists. Three essential ideas...
- Consider whether there is some of your more menial work that you could farm out to a Virtual Assistant. The company may not pay for it but it might be the very thing that frees up enough of your time to bang out that project, getting on senior management's radar and getting that promotion. Sometimes it only takes $20/week to get the time you need, in which case consider it an investment in your future. It may be hiring someone to take care of household tasks or chores to free up time (I love my robot-vacuum... known around the house as Rosie).
- Work on the one most important item from your to-do list first. Always ensure that the item(s) that is going to have the biggest impact gets done. Generally this means taking care of it before your day gets away from you.
- Exercise and eat for the energy you need to maintain your productivity. I've spoken about this many times and likely will many more to come. If you want to get things done, you have to have the energy needed to do them. Productive people know this, use this and live by this. Become one of them.
3. Take Risks. No one ever truly gets ahead by playing it safe. Playing it safe keeps you firmly ensconced in mediocrity. If you want to excel then you have to take some risks along the way. You can't keep doing exactly what you've done, the way you've always done it, if you are expecting bigger, better results. Take a few risks, try a different approach, switch things up if you want to net greater returns.
Sure, you could go for the snazzy suit or take to wearing hats to stand out or... you could out-work the competition to be remembered. Quality and content will remain long after the flash and sizzle have faded. Building a reputation on deliverables is a marketable, portable and powerful strategy to excel and get ahead, that works in any industry.