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We are all born with certain talents. Our learning and experiences sharpen these over time. I am a Career Impact Coach, and I was enthused to drive my passion after a long stint in the corporate world. I met many professionals for whom routine was bliss, until uncertainties knocked on their door. The job market has evolved after the outbreak of the pandemic. Businesses were too quick to find new ways to sustain themselves, and as a result, ‘routine’ is unsettled.
It is important that we consciously nurture our strengths to keep our career unaffected by eventualities and to keep competition irrelevant. Strengths are your innate abilities that help deliver success in your career journey. Competition is ever present, and there always be someone better than you. How much you take advantage of your strengths to outshine the competition depends on these five factors that I am about to share with you.
- Identify your strengths. Most of us are conscious of what we are good at. If you introspect on the events that led to your success, you may discover your real strengths. Your strengths define you; these are the qualities that people recognize you for. Mastering your strengths requires practice and the adoption of new learning. Being conscious is not enough – like an athlete, if you do not tune yourself with regular practice and upgrade your strengths with new learning, tact and technology, your strengths will be outmoded, sooner or later.
- Deal with your weaknesses. I have found that most people make a short pause while answering a common interview question to identify their weaknesses, and thereafter reply unconvincingly. Focusing on strengths is always easier than dealing with weaknesses. In a competitive environment, weaknesses can play spoilsport. Knowing them is the first step towards taking corrective action. A common weakness is to stick to one’s path and fear exploring new trails. When you fail, you need to get up and run, but maybe not on the same path. Repeating similar actions or following a failed route may not yield results, unless you change course.
- Believe in yourself. In the face of competition and successive failures, most people give up. It is a common tendency for people to find excuses for quitting by blaming circumstances, fate, or discrimination. Winners never quit – they learn from failure and gather the courage to move forward. If you do not believe in your unique qualities that put you above the competition, it will be difficult for you to stand out. The ‘can do’ attitude reflects one’s inner strength and confidence. If you believe in yourself, trust your decision, and have conviction in your goals you will succeed even in the face of odds.
- Be a master of one. Find that one problem that you are adept to resolve. Never spread yourself too thin at the early or mid-stage of your career. Promise what you can deliver. Shifting from generic to specific is important. In simpler terms, when a company shows interest in you, they look for someone to address certain organizational challenges – make operations smoother, stop leakages or earn more profit, etc. If you want to stay ahead, working on your niche is crucial. Once you embed this element into your resume, pitch, and story, you will be able to attract attention.
- Let people know your purpose. Your objective might be to secure a job or to get a promotion, but your purpose should be more intense and aligned to a bigger mission. People you engage – your interviewer, seniors, and hiring managers – relate more with your purpose. Purpose has two facets, personal and professional. The personal aspect relates to your passion; for example, your interest is ‘to plant more trees’ while your professional purpose may be to ‘recycle waste’ – both deal with the environment. In your work whatever you do reflects your purpose of waste recycling. Purpose completes your being. Most people fail to explain their purpose. If you can succeed in clarifying your purpose, this one differentiation will give you an added advantage. A purpose that remedies a unique pain finds relevance both in the individual and the business space.
Those who can focus on these five points listed above, and can practice and adopt these with confidence, can rise above the grind and be different. Success follows those who work towards outshining the competition.
- The article was originally published in Career Ahead January 2022 issue.