If we all were the same, the world would be a boring place. This is a favorite saying of mine. And it’s true. There always are “in” jobs and professions. I am sure most of us think of the tech space as in and seem impressed when someone has a job or internship with a Google, an Apple or similar tech related businesses.
For instance, you hear terms such as entrepreneur or startup all the time. Sometimes you hear them along with “incubator” or “co-working space”, which are in vogue at the moment.
Even if those terms describe you, your business or where you work, it is your individuality that makes you stand out to others. It also is your creativity and the ability to think outside of the box. Can you do that? It is hard to do something new or different. The ideas that seem so obvious weren’t to most of us. If you are an entrepreneur or in a startup, what makes you and your business stand out?
As part of the curriculum, colleges should teach creativity along with entrepreneurship, business, etc. It is good to be unique. It is good to think differently than others in your space.
Doing what others have done is safe and we need people to do many jobs that are decidedly not hip or “in”. Being safe or working one of the unhip jobs may make you a success. Being creative, unique and different has the possibility to make you a trailblazer, a visionary.
So are okay with the status quo or do you want to blaze your own trail??
We hear and read a lot about listening fully, i.e. listen to what is being said instead of thinking of what to say next or in response; pay attention. This is easier said than done, which results in many people having a conversation and unknowingly walking away with differing understandings of what was spoken about or agreed to. This can lead to many issues, wasted time and work, and erode trust between the people who were part of the conversation.
This goes for conversations in person or by telephone. The other person on a call may be driving, surfing the Internet or otherwise not fully listening. Of course the result is the same that differing understandings may result, which then takes time (and money, because time is money, even if it is your personal time) to resolve the resulting issues and (hopefully) to get on the same page.
To avoid the issues, let alone the time it takes to resolve the issues, you need to trust the other person in the conversation understood what you intended, but verify. That’s right, it is the old cliché “trust, but verify.” The best way to do this is to ask the person you are speaking with to repeat back to you their understanding of what you just said. This will allow you to know they understood you, didn’t understand you or were not listening to you. Hopefully the result is the opportunity to leave the conversation on the same page with no misunderstandings.
If they cannot tell you what you just said because they weren’t listening to you, well, that is a subject for another day…
Life moves fast. We all have so many commitments in business and personally it can be hard to find time to sit back and relax. Despite this, it is important to commit to give back to your community and those in need. We all know this intuitively, but following through and committing our own time can be difficult.
But not only is your time and assistance needed by numerous non-profits and those they benefit, you feel good when you do it. This was brought home when my family all volunteered recently related to a sixth grade project my daughter is working on, which required volunteer hours. Doing so together was a great experience. The same is true regarding the numerous volunteer opportunities my firm provides to do good on our community.
And you don’t have to join a working or fundraising board, committing many, many hours per month and year. You can volunteer to walk a dog, paint a home, serve meals, etc., which are one-off volunteer opportunities likely taking a few hours of your time.
Even when you plan in advance the time likely won’t be convenient when you get there. But the time and service you provide is priceless to those you and your actions assist (the non-profit and its employees/lead volunteers) or benefit (children, the homeless, animals, etc.).
So plan a volunteer activity today. It is easy to finds non-profits and contact them to find out about volunteering. Do it now because it is easy to forget how lucky we are to be in the position to be the volunteers instead of one of those in need of assistance.