I first taught leadership and management to university students about 11 years ago when I started my doctoral program at Oklahoma State University. On the last day of class in the very first classes I ever taught, I used to give students my “two-cents” worth – advice on how to manage themselves and their careers going forward.
One of the things I had on that last overhead slide was this – mediocrity sucks. I learned that from my 18 years in organizational life, not from academia.
If all you are ever willing to do is that which your peers are willing to do, you are by definition mediocre. Mediocrity is safe, comfortable, and certain. It is also a recipe for nothing more than competitive parity. You don’t have to pursue mediocrity, it will pursue you, and if you are like most of the people you have surrounded yourself with, it has already caught you.
If you want to lead a life of excellence, you have to give yourself permission to do what your peers are not willing to do. That includes how you practice personal branding in social media.
We live in the most competitive days I’ve ever seen in my life. That means there is tremendous opportunity for those willing to work smarter and harder than everyone else. Focus on your value and do the things you know you need to be done in order to create a remarkable brand.
If people are not spreading the word about what you can do uniquely well to create value for others, then you are unremarkable. Rise above the mediocrity of the masses and do the things that give people a reason to recommend you and your brand.
Bret Simmons is an Assistant Professor of Management in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), where he teaches courses in organizational behavior, leadership, and personal branding to both undergraduate and MBA students. He has a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University. Bret practices personal branding at his website Positive Organizational Behavior where he blogs about leadership, followership, and personal branding. His purpose is “to change your mind about the value of partnering with others to build healthy, responsible organizations where everyone can thrive.” You can also find Bret on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.
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