April 16th, 2010 11:00 EST
Are you in it to win it?
As I look around the world, there is a gravitational pull to be average, common, just plain ole regular. The reality is that anyone and anything that has made an impact or left an undeniable imprint refused to be ordinary. The longer I live and the more I travel, I see men and women playing it safe and living beneath their potential. I observe people with unbelievable gifts, raw ability, and uncommon talents who settle for what life has given to them instead of striving for who they were meant to be.
Oftentimes people show up to a place of work to collect a check. However, people who show up to shift the conversation, shift market share, shift the thinking, and shift results are the ones who are promoted and have a seat at the table. If you are not shifting how you do what you do, then you will be shifted. How do I know? It happened to me. Now is the moment and now is the time to stand up and SHIFT or be shifted! There is no room for average thinking, average living and average results. Kick butt or be kicked in the butt as the door hits you on your way out.
Shift happens when the shifted decide to become the shifter! A shifter is a man, woman, or organization that is "IN IT TO WIN IT." Anything less is common, unfulfilling and unrewarding. If you don`t love your job or business, then fire yourself. Get out of the way, there are a ton of people in the current job market waiting to take your place. They are hungry, desperate to add value, and make a significant contribution.
Some of you who are reading these words right now have "QUIT IN PLACE!" You are stuck in neutral, waiting for things to shift, but it won`t shift until you shift. Now, I challenge you to get unstuck by shaking the negative dust of limited thinking off of your shoulders. Shift baby, shift. You will be fine. It`s your time and your moment, in the words of Daniel Grissom (www.danielgrissom.com), to "step up your game". Okay, I think by now you get it. Here are some practical tips to be "In it to Win it!"
1. Be Boardroom-Ready! My friend of twenty years called me nine months ago and said she was ready to go to another level professionally. There was a juicy director-level role at her company headquarters and she applied for it. As she prepared for the interview, we discussed how she was going to land this coveted role that over 100 people were applying for internally and externally. To win the role, she prepared a 10 slide PowerPoint presentation outlining her value in her current role, what she would do within the first 90 days in the new role, and highlighted her point of differentiation. Guess what? She got it. She told me "Simon, I went in with my boardroom-ready pumps (www.stuartweitzman.com), boardroom-ready suit (www.sjk.com) by St. John, and a plan to win.
2. Beware of distractions. Turn the negative news off. It`s a distraction. Turn off the flow of gloom and doom; it`s a distraction that is keeping you off-center and off-kilter because negative input + good person = negative results. Focus on what you can control and what you can change. Resist the ADD (attention deficit disorder) tendencies and finish what is in front of you. You can finish strong.
3. Be Bold. If someone is saying something that you do not agree with, then raise your hand and say "Excuse me, I don`t agree. I see it differently." Do not allow people to dump their stuff on you. If it`s not uplifting and can`t help me be a better person then I don`t want to hear it. If you don`t know how to talk without using expletives then I am going to shut you down because I don`t have to take it. That`s right, within the last twenty years of my working career I had a boss that would fly off the handle using language that was very unbecoming of a leader, so I went into his office one day and closed the door and said "YOU WILL NEVER EVER TALK TO ME LIKE THAT AGAIN." I opened the door and walked out. That day I stopped being a punk, a wuss, and a jelly back man because I stood up for myself. Did I lose my job? No. Did he ever use foul language again? Not around me.
4. Earn Street Cred - You do it by the solving problems that no one wants to solve and finding solutions that no one can find. Right now you are the solution that someone needs. Right now you have the answer to solve a problem. When you tee up how you see things working and execute it, your credibility is established and others become your brand evangelists and will promote your brand to people who need it the most. (Yes, cred is slang for credit, in case you thought I didn`t know how to spell.)
5. Stand out - Go volunteer in a local community organization. Be there. Let them see you and write a check to help those who cannot help themselves. The best of society must help the rest of society. When you stand up for someone else who cannot stand up for themselves, someone is going to stand up for you when you least expect it and when you need it the most. It`s a universal law - what goes around comes around.
As you implement these steps, you will discover that shifting is a process not just a one-time event. It`s a marathon not just a sprint. Make a commitment to shift and watch the universe shift in your direction.
My brilliant friend and fellow shifter Willie Jolley has written a new book called "Turn Setbacks into Greenbacks - 7 Secrets to Going Up in Down Times". You need to invest in it. www.williejolley.com
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