Lately, I’ve found myself repeatedly faced with the same request. Whether the goal is the increase sales or to find a job, the request is often the same. “Tell me the one thing that I need to do.” While the request may come in different forms, it is really the same.

  • “I’ve heard that all businesses should have a Facebook page. Should I get one?”
  • “Should I just call the HR Manager to say I’d like the job?”
  • “I need to get more leads. Should I get a LinkedIn account so this will happen?”

It seems everyone wants the sure-fire and easy answer. People, it’s just not that simple. Success isn’t that simple. Life isn’t that simple. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but getting ahead takes work. Hell, just getting noticed takes work.

Sure, you are fabulous; no one is disputing this. We all are. But, no one will know this if we don’t work our tails off to make it dead easy for people to see hard evidence of the valuable assets we are. Just because we proclaim ourselves to be fabulous on our resume or on our website doesn’t make it so. What good does it do to work hard to become fabulous, only to stop there? What an enormous missed opportunity it would be to become something special, only to hover just below the radar, remaining a well-kept secret?

It’s a big world out there. That big world is full of people who, at least on paper, are equally fabulous. The challenge is figuring out how to stand out amidst all the others. And here’s the bad news: this takes work, lots and lots of work. And the news gets worse; what worked for the person next to you may not be exactly what will work best for you. There are no cookie-cutter approaches, so stop asking what you “should” do and start learning as much as you can so that you can determine what will work best for you.

Figuring this all out is hard. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Herein lies the good news: everyone isn’t doing it. If you are willing to put in the time to develop a plan and learn how best to use the tools available to tell your story, you’re already ahead of the game.

Instead of looking for that one thing that you “should” do, you may want to take a step back and begin by asking yourself a few hard questions, such as:

What have I accomplished?

This is not a list of tasks or duties. This is a story of what you’ve learned, along with the value and results you’ve been able to deliver.

What makes me special?

On paper, you may have held the same job as  or received the same degree as the person next to you, but the two of you are as different as night and day. What is it about your style, thinking process or voice which sets you apart?

How do the two items above make me uniquely prepared to deliver?

Whether you’re trying to get business or a job, it is critical to define how and why you are the solution to the problem your audience may not even know that they have.

Am I prepared to prove it?

Rather than just telling someone how talented you are, how can you creatively prove it in a way that is easily accessible to them? Here, the internet is your friend. Have you taken the time to understand social media and social networking tools which can be a huge asset in this area?

Am I connected?

Relationships are critical to business success. Have you virtually connected with your real-world connections? Are you actively working to build new relationships with key influencers in your field of interest?

So, stop looking for someone else to supply the answer and start looking to create your own opportunities. If you thought this could happen from the passenger seat, you’re wrong. Slide on over to the driver’s seat, grab the steering wheel and take control. Don’t worry, you don’t have to hit the gas right away. There are many excellent resources around to help you learn – if you’re committed to doing the work.

Image courtesy of elfon.

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