Your appearance and overall presentation is what drives people’s first impression of you. But it’s your performance that creates the lasting impression. This is important because the lasting impression that you leave could be your conduit to new opportunities.
Last Thursday I concluded my service with my biggest client that I’ve been working with for the past two years. This past Monday I started a new assignment with a new client.
Do you know this quote:
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” ~ Zig Ziglar
So, on the day I left my previous job, I received a number of emails from my peers congratulating me for my new opportunity….Most of my peers appreciated my contributions to the team. I’m 99% positive that I will cross paths with many of them in the future by way of opportunity referrals.
I left a lasting impression. And it wasn’t by accident…it was by design.
It’s Really Not that Hard
I learned early that a good portion of people work really hard at figuring out the minimum amount of work that they can do to get by. There’s a high interest in flying under the radar. Some folks are fine with being average and blending within mediocrity. They don’t care about progression…they just want to keep what they have; nothing more, nothing less. And to top it off, negative-talk normally floods the office.
When I discovered this as a young adult, I made high-performance the staple of my personal brand. And for me, high-performance is exceeding expectations by giving 110% effort and not wasting energy trying to do the minimum.
The Rewards for Being the Standard
Being the standard creates a lasting impression which leads to opportunities.
My brother, who graduated from college a few weeks ago has been working the same city and county construction job for the last three summers. His goal was to keep this job, but only while he finds another that allows him to benefit from his newly earned degree. He DOES NOT like his current line of work; it’s hot, hard labor and not what he’d want to do more than 2-3 more months.
Well, just last week a manager approached him with a new opportunity for an Inspector position where he’d be responsible for managing multi-million dollar projects. And what do you know, this opportunity came to him because of the following:
- Working harder than everyone else.
- Not complaining, despite working in tough conditions and a dangerous environment.
- Having a voice and using it. He’s not afraid to say “no” when asked to perform unsafe practices.
- Being a leader. Even though he isn’t in a leadership role, his work ethic and attitude position him in the light of a leader amongst his peers.
- Showing an interest in progression. He made it known that he wanted more…and his actions proved it.
He is only a temporary/seasonal employee and he’s been sought after over full-time employees who’ve been with the company for years.
He became the standard and made a lasting impression!
In addition to his current opportunity, he has others lined up from his job search. He spent an incredible amount of time working on his resume and designing it in a way that tells his story; the person, the student, his work experience, being a college athlete and what that combination can provide to prospective employers (he has a decent coach [wink/wink]). And he’s drawing interest wherever he applies.
So here he is sitting on a number of opportunities. Instead of waiting on luck, he’s manufacturing his own luck by hard work. In my eyes, and with no bias (yeah right), he’s setting the standard for the new college grad who has to incorporate some hustle to ensure that he stands outside of the box of competition.
What it Means to Be the Standard?
If you were a long distance runner, it would be your pace that others try to run at. If you were a student, it would be your grade that the grading curve was based on. Essentially, being the standard is a combination of high-performance, a pleasant attitude, and stellar leadership.
PERFORMANCE. You purposely set the performance standard that must be followed by others. For instance, if you’re in sales and the team average for closing deals is three per month, well, you exceed that number on a consistent basis showing that the bar was set too low (without saying a word – your performance speaks for you). This may ruffle the feathers of your peers initially (like the email I shared above), but in the end, you create a lasting impression; showing that your personal brand represents high-performance. This gets the attention of leadership and has the potential to put you in line with new opportunities.
The “performance/being standard” philosophy applies regardless of the line of work. It’s not the easy route. The easy route is blending in with mediocrity, which has far less benefits.
ATTITUDE. It’s about more than just raising the bar of performance. Also tied in is the ability to be pleasant despite the possibility of being in a negative environment. This alone has gotten me promotions with significant pay increases. There’s something about being a source of good energy.
LEADERSHIP. When you’re a high-performer with a pleasant attitude; it’s only a matter of time until you develop a following that wants a taste of the success that you’ve achieved. It’s a great position to help put others in the best position possible. This sets up great karma as you work your way to the top. Taking another person under your wing gets noticed especially when you can help them become a standard in their own light.
I spoke heavily from work-related experience in this post, but the philosophy applies to life in general. We get back what we put out. If we’re lazy, and give half effort – we’ll get half of what we’re after. Imagine being on the receiving end of opportunities because you’ve left your mark, autographed by excellence.
Create a lasting impression.
Experience the new opportunities that come as a result.
Even if like I, you started with a broken promise (I dropped out of high school), you always have a chance to find your “own GED diploma” and get the education, career, and life that you want.