Some of us want to stay in the background and go through life without being noticed – flying under the radar, taking credit for little, and being satisfied with the bliss of obscurity. These people are satisfied to live without acknowledgment and to be a simple footnote to life.
However, some of us (maybe most of us) want to be appreciated for who we are and what we contribute. At the same time, we don’t want to “show off” – most of us know that show-offs are quickly spotted, and inevitably become the subject of quiet snickers and off-hand jokes. Nobody likes to be ridiculed.
Assuming that we are reasonably normal, social creatures, what can we do to stand out from the crowd and attain some of the recognition that we think we deserve? Moreover, how can we make this work in a way that will not lead others to think we are in an obnoxious “look at me” mode?
The Better Marketing group offers seven ways in which we can stand out from the crowd without showing off.
- Give Away Your Best Ideas
Let’s face it, most ideas won’t take root. However, even if the idea itself goes nowhere, your generosity in giving away the best you have to offer will still be noticed. In general, people are not unobservant zombies; if you contribute above and beyond the norm, people will notice. Let others take credit. Be humble. Be cool. Be part of the team, not a “lone, hungry wolf” and remember that everyone around you knows what is actually happening, regardless of the “official version” of events. Be assured that your reputation as a team player will get around.
- Mentor As Many People As Possible
Build up a reputation as someone who helps other people build up their own reputations for competence and ability. Take the focus off yourself. Everyone will know the truth anyway, so you don’t have to point it out. It might take a bit of time, but eventually, you will be the hero.
- Be the Person Who Listens to Other People
Many people speak, but few listen. Younger people and newcomers to an organization are especially keen to make their mark by contributing ideas of value, but all too often they are ignored. Instead, be someone who actually listens to what others have to say, and establish your reputation for open-mindedness. Don’t try to be a “smooth talker” or dominate the conversation. Everyone notices the conversation hog, and nobody likes them.
- Start Your Day by Making Someone Else’s Day Brighter
You are who you are, and what you are. If you are one of the people to whom this article is addressed, then you are already a person who is experienced, socially intelligent, or otherwise able to deflect attention from yourself. Do you want to be noticed? One of the best ways to be noticed is to draw attention to someone else and sing their praises. Make their day brighter by drawing attention to them. Everyone sees what you’re doing, and they’ll see it in a positive way. Kindness is powerful.
- Impress People With Your Effort
Simply put, over-deliver! Be the person who appears to care the most, but don’t put your contribution into your own words. Instead, let your works speak for themselves. It might take time, but the truth of your added value will not remain hidden for very long. Eventually, others will see, and it is true that the conclusions which people draw on their own are much more powerful than those which are stated directly.
- Be Honest About Your Failures
You’ve heard it before: Nobody’s perfect! This doesn’t mean that you must go into full-blown self-disclosure and confession, but taking appropriate responsibility when things go wrong can establish you as a true team player. If you are the leader, this capacity for responsibility can be even more powerful. You’re not going to get it right every time, but your honesty as you go about your business will help to define you as someone worthy of positive attention.
- Share the Interesting Stuff You Like
Your life does not revolve solely around work, so let the people around you know about your other aspects, in a humble and socially acceptable way. Share your outside-of-work experiences. Are you into sports, cinema, or other hobbies? Are you something of a knowledgeable person in these areas? If so, don’t be a stranger to your colleagues. They might be interested!
To sum up, you don’t have to be the loudest person in the room to be noticed. Oftentimes the best tactic is to be subdued. You’ll eventually become known due to your overall contribution, and this is the best way to be known because it is solid and will last. Most importantly of all, have a good, positive attitude – saying nasty things about others will only place you squarely into the negative, disreputable crowd from which you want to escape. Be different. Don’t take the low road. Uplift others!
Finally, remember that it’s not just about you! If you can accept and live by this one point alone, the future will be kind to you.