I was in conversation with someone who once upon a time was doing really well in life, stood out from the crowd and made a mark for himself. Life just unfolded for him and he was undoubtedly a high-performer. Everyone flocked around him and he enjoyed all the attention and success. But, there is a dark side to this standing out if not handled wisely & strategically. And these tips come from the person himself who reflected on his life journey & concluded that the following points are very much required to protect one's uniqueness and sustenance as being different from the crowd. Yes, to stand out, you must embrace the dark side of it too. To maintain confidentiality of the person concerned, I have refrained from using the name.
Here goes the tips:
1. Never stand out too early in life. People will start seeing you as a competition & will stop being your ally. You don't want insecurity to creep in other's mind because of you & your presence. So, tone down to be in the battle for long.
2. Learn to play politics. Of course not the dirty ones, but at least you should be able to save yourself from its clutches. Professional world is full of such politics. You must know to deal with such situations. Or else, it will kick you out of the game.
3. Simplicity is a gift not to be displayed in front of takers. They will stick like parasites if you show your simplicity as your weakness. Make it your strength and not allow anyone misuse you in the disguise of being simple.
4. Know how to handle your emotions. Being overly emotional will send across a message to others that your decisions are based not on rationality but on emotions. This will be enough an opportunity for your critics to highlight this as your weakness. And you know what happens next.
5. Have a mentor or a senior person who really appreciates your strengths & uniqueness. This will enable you to grow and have a strong foothold in your professional life. It will save you from much of the turmoil & unwanted hassles.
6. Develop the social intelligence to understand how to mingle with the crowd and harness their support. Even if you stand out, it is the crowd that decides your existence in the professional world.
7. Be prepared to face lots of challenges and roadblocks along the way. The path isn't easy. So, either do your home work well or make your strategies to be a long-term player.
8. Perspective taking, sharing & gaining mutual consent is the key towards your growth.
9. Choose your battles wisely. Never compromise on integrity & values.
10. Know these distinctions and communicate in a language that is commonly understood: tact vs rudeness, empathy vs. apathy, communication vs aloofness, assertion vs. dominance, intention to create vs. intention to win, inclusion vs. standing out.
Last but not the least, leaving you with this thoughtful quote from the book, Mastery by Robert Greene: "Often the greatest obstacle to our pursuit of mastery comes from the emotional drain we experience in dealing with the resistance and manipulations of the people around us. If we are not careful, our minds become absorbed in endless political intrigues and battles."
Coach to People Leaders, Start-up Founders & Transitioning professionals