In the presence of the sun nobody sees the stars; excel, and you too will eclipse your competition.
― Matshona Dhliwayo
Whether it is your self-image or your business image, being complacent about it does not help you at all. Why fade into the shadows when you are born to stand out and shine?
But it just doesn’t happen by itself, right? You have to propel yourself forward – smartly. So how do we do it? What you require is the want to improve and the dedication and consistency to work on this self-improvement. Practice excellence. Here are five ways to set yourself apart from the competition:
1. Find your Niche.
Everyone is not good at everything. We all have our can and cant’s. Find what your strengths are and work on making those strengths, super-efficient. Practice excellence, emphasize those strength areas and become known for them in your professional circle. Brand yourself. Establish your brand with such credibility, that when anyone speaks about that particular service or product, your name or your company’s name is what they see before them. Similarly, when you build credibility in your work sphere, you make yourself invaluable at the workplace. This gives you the required lead to get ahead and become successful in life.
2. Design your Direction – pen it down!
Ambition and the desire to excel require a direction. Just having a desire to excel and not doing anything about it, not having any clear cut goals about how to achieve it, takes you nowhere. This is why many talented and creative people remain in the shadows, because they have not penned down their goals. Design your goals and write it down, and JUST DO IT! There are many of them who write down their goals but when it time to act on it, they procrastinate. The best way is to go into as much detailing as possible, so that the path is clearer and easier to achieve. A person without clear cut goals is like a boat without a boatman, adrift in the sea. It has no direction. It goes where the wind takes it. A boatman would have steered the boat in the correct direction, to the shore. Get the drift? Let me tell you, having clear goals will not only help you achieve it, it makes you confident to perform better and gives you a sense of personal fulfillment.
3. Dedication, Dedication, Dedication
Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused efforts …. Paul J. Meyer
When we set new goals for ourselves, we are usually full of motivation. In the beginning, we feel like we can achieve anything. We are not afraid to dream big and believe in our dreams. We feel like everything is possible, and we are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve our goals.
Slowly with time, for many reasons, the initial euphoria fades away. We start procrastinating and pushing back deadlines. Things might not have gone the way we wanted it to. There might have been more instances of failure than success. We might not be getting the kind of business or recognition we thought we would have. When this happens, we feel it was a lack of motivation that was the reason we gave up. We try to sustain and increase our motivation, which eventually is just a mirage, it is forced and doesn’t come from the place the motivation came, initially. When this state happens, what will continue our drive, make our faith and hard work sustainable is Dedication.
Approach and achieve your goals with dedication and focus. Be proactive and never procrastinate. Be aware that procrastination is the biggest killer of dreams and achievements. Take proper preventive measures to address problems which would come in your way of performing and achieving your goals. This will make you ready and in the correct mindset to correct problems when they do arise. One part of goal setting is, knowing what problems could arise in your path and being prepared for the unknown problems too.
Dedication requires you to put up the necessary hard work required to achieve the goal. Set timelines and milestones. As you achieve each milestone in the given timeline, reward yourself. Don’t compromise or steer too much away from the designed path, else you will end up floundering and wasting time re-inventing the wheel.
4. Manage Time Wisely
Time waits for no man. Well said. We cannot control or monitor time. It keeps going and once slipped away, that time never returns. For businesses, time lost equals to money lost. You have only 24 hours each day. How best we manage these 24 hours will ensure how productive we will be. Manage your time wisely. Keep a track of the time each goal takes. Learn time management best practices to enable yourself to do much better and use your time productively and efficiently.
Be aware of Timewasters! They can suck the time off you without you even knowing it. What are they? Being on Social Media, Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp. Reading all wanted and unwanted messages. Spending time browsing the net for non-related work. Being side-tracked with non-productive conversations, day-dreaming, moving from one work to another without any intent. Whilst multi-tasking is sometimes necessary, it can take away your focus from tasks that are necessary to be completed to achieve your goals.
This doesn’t mean that you have to keep working throughout the day, but it would be more productive to plan it, so that you can achieve more each day. Of course you can have your cheat day in a month, but don’t overdo it. Cheat days can also be addictive and will add to the procrastination factor.
However, when you are at work, it’s important to dedicate yourself to the task at hand. Don’t waste time, and don’t lose focus and you’ll be amazed at how much more you have achieved.
5. Stay Fit – Mentally and Physically
In a world where competition is at its peak, it is important to stay fit if you want to stand out. To remain physically and mentally fresh and active, to productively achieve daily targets, it is important for you to gear up your body and mind. Being physically or mentally exhausted at the start of the day will take you nowhere and will soon lead to a breakdown. Ensure you get the right amount of sleep, exercise and diet to enable you to be fresh each day and get the best out of it.
Few tips to boost your immunity and energy levels for better productivity.
Get sufficient amount of sleep. Ideally it is 8 hours, but if you get quality sleep after a busy day, even 5-6 hours of quality sleep will keep you fresh throughout the day.
Exercise for 30 to 45 minutes every day. The benefits of exercising are many. Increased productivity, increased energy levels, combats stress, battles fatigue and improves general well-being. You feel happier and energized you're more efficient and effective at all tasks through the day.
Take short breaks or short power naps. Taking rest after working dedicatedly for 3-4 hours is a good way to de-stress. When you get back to work, you are more alert and productive.
Eat the Right Foods and track your Calories. Eat energy building foods. No matter how bad your stomach is telling you to go for candy over healthy food, try to stay away from sweets. Keep track of calories and food intake per day. Don’t overeat. It can leave you feeling like a puffer fish and sluggish throughout the day.
Take time for yourself – Feed your Soul. When you get some free time, engage in stimulating conversations. Read some good books and keep updated with current news, market and trends. Share thoughts and knowledge with like-minded people. Attend theatre, cinema, stand-ups, picnics or any such gatherings. It’s nice to once in a while, loosen up and enjoy life’s little pleasures.
Standing out from competition just does not happen by itself. There is a huge amount of hard work that goes into making it happen. The above points are just five points, there is so much more one could do to up the game. But the crux is, being excellent in whatever you do and keeping at it. Admit to mistakes and fix them to build stronger relationships. Don’t let negative experiences or negative people pull you down.
Standing out in a crowd of competitors is no easy task, and it’s not getting easy. Choose your strategy wisely, dedicatedly and with determination, work on your chosen path and success will be yours.