We are undeniably the sum of our parts.
In the first few weeks of 2016, so many of us are looking forward to what the future might bring. We are making plans; we are assessing new opportunities and evaluating the changes in the landscape around us.
It is so easy to imagine a blank sheet of paper and fill it with all sorts of glorious images, to paint a picture that is light years away from our current reality. You have a dream, and you set your sights high in order to at least get near it. The problem with unrealistic dreams is that they often remain just that.
Every dream is built on some sort of foundation. In order to create a snowflake, you have to have those crucial initial crystals.
Understanding where your basic strengths lie and building on those strengths to make them into your personal “wow factor” is what sets the most successful businesspeople apart. Richard Branson achieves through motivating his people. Elon Musk is not afraid to stand behind the most “unattainable” of goals. Donald Trump gets his notoriety from being a provocative love him / hate him type figure.
We all have these basic behavioural traits on which our future success will be built. Thus, when I am interviewing a candidate, I very often ask the question:
“What Are You Famous For?”
They gaze at me quizzically and ask me what I mean. I then clarify:
“Well, what would others say about you? What makes you stand out at work? What is your “thing”? What do you excel at?”
This often makes them pause and think, but I have had some fascinating answers. When you reflect on what others think about you, the external perspective gives that slight objective edge to focus on where your strengths truly lie.
In my opinion, the possibility of dreams coming true is far more likely when they are built on these strengths.
I would like to think that I am famous for my communication ability and empathy for others. That is certainly why I went into recruitment, and as long as I keep these priorities at the front of my mind in every transaction with a client or a candidate, I hope that my business will develop in the right direction. Taking the time to listen to people is rare in our busy world – I experience a strange pleasure in slowing down and getting to the bottom of what someone is saying. I have found that this makes a difference in my work, and the more I do it, the better I get.
That is how I am building my dream this year.
The last point that I would like to make is that dreams don’t happen overnight. They are often an incremental upward crawl punctuated by a few events, which give you that vital injection of momentum. Building on what you are famous for gives you that impetus and confidence to keep going when the going gets tough.
I might have a tough period at some point next year, but I know what I am famous for, and I know that it will ensure that I come through the other side.
Do you really know what you are famous for? Have you thought about it recently? Is it integral to your future plans? Should it be?
Written by Alex Turner, Edited by Paul Drury