What Are You Doing to Stand Out?

In a world where anyone can learn to do anything and a college degree seems superfluous to some, I have to wonder how people who are ‘inside the box’ thinkers are surviving in today’s competitive climate.

This subject came up on a recent call with someone I love. She shared with me her desire to get back into the workforce and was remarking on how massive the applicant pool was for one of the jobs she applied to.

“Over 500 people have applied to this job! There’s no way I’m even getting contacted”, she told me.

I immediately turned on my problem-solving switch. The first thing I asked her was what she was doing to stand out. She had no idea what I was talking about and automatically felt she wasn’t a desirable candidate. It’s been so long since she’s needed to make a splash, it was very obvious her creative thinking skills needed some coaxing.

“Make a video”, I said.

She thought I was crazy, but I couldn’t have been more serious. I went on to tell her that it’s not a numbers game when it comes to getting a job or landing a deal, it’s a personality game. Are you showing them that they’re missing out by not knowing you? People are becoming household names now by standing out in social media. Access to opportunity is overflowing. Capitalization on that is so key. I have never gotten a job because I was qualified or knew what I was doing before working in that role. I have singlehandedly gotten every job based on WHO I was, not WHAT I knew.

Reluctantly, she made the video and sent it in. After she did it, I got an exuberant call and could sense an energy in her voice. A switch flipped and I heard hope in her voice. Similar to that feeling you’d get in grade school when you got called on and actually knew the answer. The rush of the whole class witnessing greatness and your heart racing from the mixture of both fear and pride.

That’s what taking away the preconceived discouragement will do to you if you just give in. Give in to the fact that you have nothing to lose by thinking outside the box and putting yourself in a situation to get noticed. We spend so much of our lives playing small and assuming the worst, that we’re limiting ourselves from a world of options.

Imagine living in such a way where fear is a foe you never have to face. Imagine waking up every day and telling yourself that there are no roadblocks to getting what you want. Picture yourself picking up the phone and cold-calling the corporation you’ve been dreaming of working at and asking to be directly connected to the CEO without anyone standing in your way. Doesn’t that sound glorious? It’s possible. With all the direct methods of communication and access to people, it’s possible.

I live this way. I have never hesitated to put myself in the room with the people I desire to know, learn from, or work with. I bet on myself every time without fear of judgement, denial, or rejection from anyone I encounter. I don’t hold back from asking for what I want, but I do it in a way that shows people I’m asking because I can confidently say they’d be missing out if they didn’t get to know me. When you can get to that place where you believe so deeply in yourself that there’s just no way others won’t too, that’s when you can push the walls down of the box you’ve been burdened by and come out on the other side. The side where there are no walls, just open air to live the life you were born to live. Go knock some walls down. Your future self will thank you.