Awesome You Be


   

Adrian Petrescu

How to Be Professionally Awesome

By Jeffrey Baumgartner

If you want to succeed professionally, you need to be competent, sell yourself and work hard.

If you want to be an awesome professional − in other words, a leader in your field and an inspiration to others who can only hope one day to be as awesome as you − then there are three more things you need to do. You need to set habits rather than goals, you need to define your unique awesomeness and you need to share the fruits of your awesomeness.

Set Habits, Not Goals

You may think that if you want to be an awesome professional you will need to set awesome goals. If so, you would be seriously wrong and it's a good thing you are reading this. Goals are for one-off things, like buying a house, or climbing mount Everest or losing 10kg. You struggle to achieve them. You may have to may have to make sacrifices along the way and once you have achieved your goal, you are done.

For example, if you want to lose 10kg, you might eat less, exercise more and try out weird diets you find on dieting blogs. You probably won't enjoy it, but if you're committed to your goal, you'll do these things every day until you lose the 10kg. By setting the goal, you've essentially made an agreement with yourself and the terms include discomfort until the goal is achieved. On days when you do not seem to be making progress, you may feel a bit down. When you do make progress, you feel good  and once you weigh yourself and find that you are 10kg less massive than when you set the goal, you celebrate. The goal is achieved. You need not worry about it any more.

Unfortunately, this is a big reason why dieters quickly regain weight lost in goal based dieting. Once the goal is achieved, it is no longer a goal.

However, being professionally awesome is not about achieving one off things. It is a long term commitment to being the best. And for long term commitment, you need to set habits that you follow every day.

Musicians and athletes know this. A concert violinist friend of mine practices every single day. If she misses one day, she feels badly. If she misses two days, she feels the quality of her playing suffers. Top athletes practice daily, not only at their sport, but also at body building, dieting and anything else that helps them perform better. And note here that their diet is not goal-oriented. It is an ongoing, daily habit of eating the right things.

Habits that keep you awesome professionally might include reading professional journals relevant to your expertise as well as journals not directly relevant to your expertise. If you are a coach helping overworked executives cope with stress, you should make it a habit to read blogs, newsletters and research papers related to stress. You should also make it a habit of reading general business news. Business trends can worry business leaders as well as sooth their concerns − and these things can affect stress. Being able to talk intelligently about such business trends with your clients reassures them that you are a professional.

Where possible, make it a habit to experiment. If you are an awesome chef, make it a habit to experiment with new dishes from time to time. Visit restaurants outside your area of expertise, choose new foods and ask what you could apply, for example, from Vietnamese cooking to your Cajun cooking speciality. 

Make it a habit to meet with others in your field and in related fields to talk shop and share ideas. Attend lectures, workshops and conferences. Ask questions. Learn.

Along with establishing good habits that help you grow more professionally awesome every day, you also need to watch out for habits that at best waste your time and at worst hold you back. Spending an hour a day on Facebook feeling envious of friends who seem to be doing better than you is a bad habit. It wastes time and eats at your self esteem.

Incidentally, this is all true of weight loss as well. If, rather than setting a goal to lose a certain amount of weight, you set a habit to eat and enjoy healthier foods, eat fewer calories, have fruit for dessert and drink water rather that sweet drinks, you'll take off weight permanently. 

Setting and keeping good habits and dropping bad habits ensures that you get more and more awesome every single day.

Define Your Unique Awesomeness

You may be awesome at everything, but − aside from proud parents adoring their children −society does not recognise people as being generally awesome. When a CEO wants to increase the level of product innovation in her company, she does not seek out an awesome generalist. She seeks out an awesome product innovation advisor. When I need my roof repaired, I would not Google: "awesome people in Erps-Kwerps." I would Google "Plumbers in Erps-Kwerps." So, you need to specialise and then then turn that specialisation into your unique awesomeness.

Naïve professionals often believe that it is best to be broad in their speciality, on the assumption that this gives them the widest customer base. This may be true, but there is a lot of competition for this broad customer base, not only from other generalists, but specialists who can address the particular problems of individual customers that are also in the broader customer base.

For example, you might decide to be an awesome life coach based on the assumption that there is a huge market for your life coaches in the city where you live. That's fine and dandy, but there are a lot of life coaches out there. Many of them are blogging and writing regularly. Some of them are world famous. So, yes, you've given yourself a massive market, but there is a lot of competition not only for clients in that market, but for recognition of your awesomeness.

On the other hand, if you decide to become a coach for women managers wanting to reenter the workplace after having taken time off work to raise children, you will have a much, much smaller market of potential clients. You will also have less competition and this makes it easier to establish yourself as the awesome expert. You can write blog posts and articles; you can make videos and podcasts; you can write books; you can speak at conferences about your awesome speciality.

And, before long, you will be recognised as the awesome authority on women reentering the workplace after taking time off to raise children. You will own that little niche of the market. When executive level women feel they need help to return to senior management roles, they will first think of your name. They will contact you. It will feel good. No, it will feel better than that. It will feel awesome!

Share

There's no point in being awesome and keeping it to yourself. From a selfish perspective, being awesome is much more fun when you are recognised for it. From a benevolent perspective, sharing the fruits of your awesomeness enables people to learn from you.

The web and social media has made it much easier to share the fruits of your awesomeness with the world, but it has also ensured there are a lot of other people promoting their own awesomeness. So, you need to be good to be heard and you need to be awesome to stand out. It will take time. But, eventually your audience will recognise that the stuff you share has more value than the other stuff out there.

You can blog about your expertise, write a newsletter, post regularly on Twitter, make videos, record podcasts, interview people, write articles for magazines and even write books about your area of awesomeness. Focus not on boasting, but on teaching. Boasting blogs bore. Informative blogs teach. People are more likely to start a conversation with you if you teach them something new. People are more likely to share your posts if you teach them something new. And they are most likely to be irritated if you boast. Don't boast. Impress.

You can also give speeches and workshops to teach others about your awesomeness. Offer to speak at relevant conferences. Check with business groups, such as chambers of commerce, in your area; they are often looking for people to speak at lunches and meetings.

If your awesomeness results in physical products, for example, if you are a potter, a chef or carpenter, you can produce your awesome things and share them. If you are an awesome musician, you can perform not only in concerts, but at spontaneous events. You can upload your music to Spotify and other music sharing sites. You can make a ring tones and share them freely.

In A Nutshell

That in a nutshell is what you need to do to be professionally awesome: set habits instead of goals, specialise by defining your unique awesomeness and then share the fruits of that awesomeness. Before you know it, you will be recognised as being awesome!

 

Professional Help (Self-Promotion)

If you want some help in setting habits, defining your unique awesomeness and sharing that awesomeness, get in touch. I can probably help.

 

 

 

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