How To Stand Out From The Crowd
Do you want to be the one who gets the Job? Do you want to be the one that people are drawn to and want to get to know? Do you just stick with the daily status quo and are you ready for a change? Are you frustrated that other people are getting the opportunities and not you?
In an increasingly competitive global structure it’s more important now than ever to find that something within you that makes you stand out from everyone else. The truth be told, I’m not a fan of the competitive mindset. I prefer to think of it as being the best me that I can be in a given situation.
Dealing With Competition
I don’t really want to compete with other people because that takes my focus off me and I end up getting caught up in a whirlwind of unproductive emotions. I won’t lie, I am naturally quite competitive and I can say from experience, with zero doubt, that it affects my overall performance and not in a good way.
If you’ve put yourself in a situation whereby you work for a company with thousands and thousands of employee’s then, of course, automatically you’re in a position where you have to really think outside the box in order to get ahead. If you want to move up the ranks faster work for a smaller company; you’ll move up the ranks much quicker.
If it’s a promotion you’re after sometimes it will come to you and sometimes you have to go to it. That’s one scenario of many but if you want to be able to network better, be the girl/guy that everyone wants to go out with, be the life of the party, etc. Whatever your end, your means are within your power to change.
When I talk about standing out from the crowd I’m not just talking about doing something different for the sake of being different. I’ve seen people who do things to ‘fit in’. They do it because it’s comfortable and it means they don’t get noticed because they don’t want to be.
There’s nothing wrong with fitting in if that’s what you truly want but if you’re frustrated by the results you’ve been getting so far then think about playing to your strengths that are different from everyone else. I’m naturally bubbly and often when at a social event I’m the one that people say is ‘the life of the party’.
Because of that it’s easy for me to network but there are still moments where I’ve been a bit shy or stuck and not been able to allow the real me to emerge. There are certain traits which are noticed by everyone but unless cultivated they will go to waste and you’ll continue to be frustrated by others getting opportunities and not you.
Even if you were to put on a false faÃ§ade, that faÃ§ade is still you and it’s just a question of whether you want to be remembered in that way. Remember that people will associate you with those moments and the next time if you’re not behaving the same way they will just be left wondering why.
If you are just being your usual self only turning up the volume a bit then that’s also okay. If you’re gung-ho and extra happy to be at a networking event then that is likely to be naturally amplified through your excitement of being there. Remember there’s more than just your personality that makes you stand out.
I’ve noticed that subtle things I say, do, or wear also get plenty of attention and make for fantastic ice breakers. I love watches and I have quite a collection. I’ve always managed to pick out ones which are not too loud but stand out enough that people want to comment on them. What better way to start a conversation?
I’m also renowned for wearing lively t-shirts with cartoons or funny captions. There are certain t-shirts I wear for my comedy nights because I know they will get a good laugh. I also have some great cartoon ones that people instantly recognise and want to start talking about as soon as they see them; like my Thundercats t-shirt! 😉
I went outside my comfort zone recently and bought some sneakers that I wouldn’t normally go for but I really liked them. The great thing is that whenever I wear them they get comments and people really like them. A tip for the guys, if you’re going to step outside the box get some advice about colours that look good from a female friend.
If you’re going somewhere, where you have to be smartly dressed, dress slightly smarter than everyone else or slightly more casual. Wear a funky tie or an unusual shirt. Think about how you carry off what you’re wearing? Do you look ready for action or do you look like you’ve just thrown on the first thing you could find when you woke up?
I don’t know about you but I ‘feel’ more alive when I’ve dressed up and made an effort, and equally, I feel not as good when I don’t make an effort and go out a bit scruffy. If you look good you’ll feel a bit more confident to go up to people and interact. You will notice that the people who get attention in crowds always dress well.
Hobbies & Pastimes
Is your C.V. or bio really boring? Does it need a bit of spicing up? No, I’m not suggesting you lie and tell your future employers that you’re an avid football fan only for them to strike up a conversation about it and then you looking like an idiot because you have no clue! If you have nothing fun to put on your C.V. then you need to get a life!
To start, write a list of 50 things you’ve achieved. It may not be much it’s the first step to recognise what talents and gifts you have. Those things make for great conversation and go a long way to making you stand out.
If you’re still stuck take up a funky hobby, again something you enjoy, rather than something just for the sake of it. If you wanna take up cooking then go for it and don’t ever be embarrassed about sharing them with people no matter what they are. When I tell people I do stand-up comedy they’re always fascinated by it and want to know more!
I always say to people to put down hobbies and interests on a bio or C.V. because you never know when it’s going to strike a chord with the people reading it. Who knows what new doors it may open and opportunities it may bring. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times that started conversations for me when being interviewed.
I have tonnes to put on my C.V. including things like the firewalk I did a few years back. That always gets peoples attention. They want to get to know you when they see something like that because they assume that you’re a bit of a crazy ass mofo and want to know about how, when, where and what it was like.
Whatever your chosen hobbies advertise them on your personal bio or C.V. and watch how many people approach you simply because of them. I remember once a guy handing me a C.V. and we wanted to interview him simply because he had a black belt in a martial arts. It intrigued us and that was one of the first things we noticed when skimming his C.V.
There are certain personality types that also get noticed very quickly and lead to people getting more opportunities. The first of which is self assuredness. Not that I’m a huge fan of his but you only have to look at someone like Simon Cowell to realise where that kind of trait can take you.
Being confident in your beliefs and opinions makes you stand out. You can even tell by someone’s tone how sure they are. Does they speak with a rising tone at the end? That might signify lack of it and almost posing a statement as a question. Someone who was self assured would always end in a downward tone of voice symbolising closure.
Humour is probably the best one of all and I’ve spoken about this in many different posts recently. God invented humour and she’s given you that gift too. Now stop being a boring fart and learn how to have a good time with life. People who behave as if life is short always stand out as they seize the moments.
I don’t like it when that statement is taken out of context though and people stuff themselves with as much junk, booze and drugs as they can get their hands on. Learn how to have a good time without external stimulants. It’s an art form in life and when you do you’ll never need to touch a drop of alcohol ever again.
That brings me to another point in that my tee-total nature also makes me stand out from the crowd. It arouses curiosity in people and gives me the opportunity to explain my reasons. So develop your sense of humour and if people test you let small things roll off your shoulders and learn to ignore them and move on.
I don’t think you need to chase after every opportunity but I do feel there are some that you will need to go after and others will come to you. With greater life experience you’ll start to learn to spot those opportunities. In order that those opportunities find you I then sticking out is a good plan and a good way to go.
Have a good reason to stand out. Once you do read over this again and see if you find anything here that ignites a spark of inspiration within you, that you can do, to stand out. If you miss one don’t dwell over it just continue to move forward and when the next one comes along learn from the past and have another go!
Wonderful article! Differentiation is key these days. Unfortunately, it also takes a lot of courage. Because social pressure, peer pressure will often push you in subtle and not so subtle ways towards fitting in and playing by the rules. If you can deal with this, you’re going places.
You mentioned a key point there which is courage. A lot of this stuff takes courage and you do have to have oodles of it to try out some of this stuff but once you get the hang it you need it less and less as it becomes more natural.
I think you need to be aware of the competition in business, but don’t become obsessed with them – at the end of the day, if your own products or services are as good as you probably think they are, you will be successful through selling and marketing them correctly, whatever the opposition are doing.
That’s so true John and those little things you do can also aid in making you stand out from the crowd.