A teacher was working with his students in the art of archery. He set a wooden bird as the target and asked his students to aim at the eye of the bird. The first student was asked to describe what he saw. He said, “I see trees, branches, the leaves, the sky, the bird and its eye.” The teacher then asked the second student the same question: “What do you see?” This student said, “I only see the eye of the bird.” The teacher said, “Very good. Shoot.” The second student’s arrow flew straight and hit the eye of the bird.
Until you focus, you cannot hit the target. As you think about your life, your business and your career, here are three ways for you to be confident and, therefore, focused to move forward into the future:
1. Welcome the recommendation culture.
With the rise of Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google Places and LinkedIn, people organically recommend, like and share their personal opinions. The Internet has made word-of-mouth feedback digitally verifiable.
With just a touch, a swipe or a few clicks, anyone in the world can find out what others are saying about you, your brand and the value of your product. According to the 2012 Local Consumer Review Survey, approximately 72 percent of consumers surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, while 52 percent said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business.
Focus on how you will create a brilliant moment for every person who crosses your path—and particularly your online presence. Then ask those individuals to give you a recommendation that you can use online.
2. Become a hybrid learner.
If you intend to be relevant in this global economy, then develop a new skill that benefits you. Consider what you know already and think of ways you can expand upon that knowledge. For example, in 25 years, I have worked for six different companies in 10 different jobs. Each employer and job gave me skills and information that now benefit me in my own business.
Combine the different elements of your skills, know-how, genius and proven solutions to be relevant in a fast-changing world. As a hybrid, you are more collaborative, communicative and creative.
3. Embrace the “bring it” economy.
“Average” is dead. History. Gone and never to be seen again—may it forever rest in peace. It has now been replaced by “bring it,” which tells you to stop talking about what you are going to do. Find your inner Madagascar and “move it… move it… get to it.” Simply put, be you. Be more. Be brilliant.
There is no room anymore for the status quo. Your personal brand is on the line and you will have to show up, step up and over-deliver every second of the day. If you can’t “bring it,” no one will remember you, let alone recommend you—and why should they? Put yourself on the line. In the “bring it” economy, in the words of Seth Godin, “Small is the new big.” Focus on better by taking small steps every day instead of racing to get bigger.
Here are the benefits to those who “bring it”:
• You won’t have to ask people to like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter or re-pin your images on Pinterest. They will automatically do it.
• Your mind will start to notice the uncommon in the common.
• You attract new relationships that stretch your thinking and expand your capacity to make a bigger difference in the world.
• You shift into an environment where you are valued for your contribution instead of your tolerance for being present.
Focus and execution are possible when you decide to be unafraid in the midst of uncertainty. How? By protecting the most important economy—the one between your ears.
Simon T. Bailey is an international speaker, writer and personal transformation strategist. He is the author of Shift Your Brilliance: Harness the Power of You, Inc., and Be the SPARK: Five Platinum Service Principles for Creating Customers for Life. When he’s not working, he enjoys rooting for the Buffalo Bills (his hometown team).