One of the best books I read in 2009 was Tina Seelig’s “What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20.” Tina teaches entrepreneurship at Stanford. Her book is a short easy read but is full of practical and very valuable advice for folks of any age – I really do wish I had read it when I was 20!
Tina’s tells us that the primary barriers to your success are self-imposed – between your ears. If you want to be indispensable and lead an abundant life, you have to be willing to do things your peers are not willing to do. You have to “give yourself permission to challenge assumptions, to look at the world with fresh eyes, to experiment, to fail, to plot your own course, and to test the limits of your abilities (p. 175).”
In Tina’s words:
If you want a leadership role, then take on leadership roles. Just give yourself permission to do so. Look around for holes in your organization, ask for what you want, find ways to leverage your skills and experiences, be willing to make the first move, and stretch beyond what you’ve done before. There are always opportunities waiting to be exploited. Instead of waiting to be asked and tiptoeing around an opportunity, seize it. It takes hard work, energy, and drive – but these are the assets that set leaders apart from those who wait for others to anoint them. (p.70)
Over time I’ve become aware that the world is divided into people who wait for others to give them permission to do the things they want to do and people who grant themselves permission. Some look inside themselves for motivation and others wait to be pushed forward by outside forces. From my experience, there’s a lot to be said for seizing opportunities instead of waiting for someone to hand them to you. (p. 57).
If you can become remarkable, you will never want for work. You will be a rare person, so people will seek you out and they will be willing to pay a premium for your services or advice. Every one of YOU can be remarkable, but YOU have to give yourself permission to do so.
No one can do this for you. But if you will do this for yourself, especially at a young age, it will change the trajectory of your life. That’s one of the things personal branding is all about.
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.