Deborah Brown-Volkman, Surpass Your Dreams, Inc.
What do you want to be remembered for?
Think about a few top executives whom you admire. Ask yourself what makes them memorable. It’s likely you can think of specific qualities, expertise, or accomplishments for each. Now, think about your own career. What are you admired for?
How do you become memorable? Focus on the aspects of your career that you enjoy the most. Concentrate on the aspects of your career that have the most meaning for you. Become an expert. This does not mean that you will only be remembered for one thing, leaving opportunities behind. You are actually walking toward something that is greater: redefining your reputation with direction and purpose. Bringing in aspects of what you enjoy makes you feel good. When you are happy in your career, your enthusiasm will be evident to others, and they will certainly remember you.
So how can you apply this important aspect to your career? Start with these steps below:
Decide to Become Memorable
You may be successful already, but this is no time to coast. Being memorable requires forward momentum and excitement. It requires positive energy that only you can generate.
This is your time to get inspired. People often ask me what inspiration means. I tell them that inspiration is an almighty force that comes from inside. It lights you up and gives you more power than you ever expected. Think about a few inspiring times in your career. Was there a common thread? A theme? Was it a quality about another person or yourself? An action that a person took or that you took?
Recall a specific time in your career when you were excited and energized because everything was going your way. What were you doing and what specifically inspired you? Recall how you got there. What can you use from that experience to get inspired now? In addition, decide to be inspired again. Making this commitment is an important first step.
Decide What You Want to Be Remembered For
Sooner or later, most people realize that they have become generalists. Yet, to become memorable, you have to be known for something specific.
Start by thinking about how you made your mark early in your career. What were your special skills, abilities, and talents? Are you still using them today? The skills you are remembered for are the ones you probably take for granted. When you are naturally good at certain things, you forget that you have been given these gifts for a reason. Now is the time to uncover and use them again.
Which one of your skills do you enjoy the most? Which one are you the most passionate about? Write this down. If you can’t figure out what you like, start with what you know you don’t enjoy. The opposite of “I don’t like” is “I do like.” Listen to your instincts. The courage to define your expertise is within you.
Create your own personal mission statement: a paragraph or two that will get you excited to begin your day. Include your goals, your wishes, and your dreams. Include what makes you different and what contributions you want to make to your company and to the world. Look at your personal mission statement several times a day.
Decide How You Will Spread the Word
The responsibility to spread the word about “you” rests in your own hands. This process is called personal branding. The goal of personal branding is to put yourself and your area of expertise out there in the minds of those who work inside and outside of your company. It’s letting people know exactly what your expertise is and that you are the person to come to when they need help.
Just as a company would market a product, you are marketing yourself. You have an expertise that you have spent a lot of time building. You have worked hard and it’s okay to get admiration and recognition for your efforts.
Sometimes you will find yourself in situations that may be uncomfortable. But over time, these situations will feel natural to you. Why go through all of this trouble? When you are memorable, your career gets easier. If people know who you are, more opportunities can come your way. You can work on the assignments that you have always wanted. You can receive more raises and bonuses. You can pick up the phone and make things happen.
Writing, Speaking and Networking
There are three ways to market yourself, your expertise and your personal brand. They are writing, speaking, and networking.
So which one do you begin with? Start with the one you enjoy the most. If you like writing, write articles to showcase your expertise. Send your articles to trade publications, newspapers, and journals. Then get a stack of copies and mail them to colleagues, clients, educators, government officials, and to everyone you believe could benefit from your expertise.
If you like to speak in front of people, speak at an industry trade show or be a guest speaker at a trade association meeting. Your topic and name will be broadcast to all of the group members as well as to potential attendees.
If you like to connect with people, start networking. Select a few trade associations and go to meetings on a regular basis. Volunteer your time. This is how people will remember you.
Choose one method, develop it, get it up and running, and then move onto the next. This way you will not get overwhelmed.
Decide on a Plan of Action
For each method above, write down your goals. Put your goals into a plan and include the following three items:
Describe What You Want. Write down what your area of expertise is and what you want to accomplish by having other people know about it. Be as specific as possible.
Describe How You Will Get What You Want. Write down the specific steps you will take to make yourself memorable. If you are writing articles, how many will you send out, and when will you send them? If you will be speaking, how many presentations will you give, and where will you give them? If you will be networking, how many meetings will you go to, and which groups will be on your list? If you do not know, write down how you will find out. Then, open your calendar and write in when you will do each one of these steps. Having everything in your calendar will keep you focused and on track.
Set a Deadline. Create a date when you will become memorable. We work best when we have deadlines, so give yourself one. You may reach your deadline or not, but that is not the point. You have a game to play, something to shoot for. This is how you will attain memorable status.
Becoming memorable is your path to an extraordinary career. Imagine people coming to you on a regular basis because they know you are the “go to” person. Imagine having opportunities handed to you because people know who you are. Imagine loving what you do every day because you are appreciated, admired, and respected. Imagine that today is the day that becoming memorable is possible because of you.