The Power of Peer Pressure

“Would you jump off a bridge if your friends did it?”  Typical mother guilt-ridden question. The expected answer is obviously, “No, I wouldn’t and mother knows best.”  On this post, I want to convince you that doing something just because your friends are doing it is actually a good idea.  Keep reading!

bridge

I grew up in Mexico City, as I’ve shared many times on this blog.  We lived in a middle class suburban area and I attended a bilingual school from grades 4-9th and a Catholic high school after that. Then I went to a small public college for a degree in Special Education.  I wasn’t highly popular in school, but I always had two or three good friends throughout those years.  Of course we wanted to be cool and do what the cool popular kids did.  That’s the main reason why I did certain things that were out of character for me.  I pulled out cheat notes during a test (even though I was an A student) and started or joined little clique clubs to criticize those who were not as cool. I even tried getting Bs instead of As so I wouldn’t be considered a nerd… In high school and early years of college I would go out with friends and come home half hour past my curfew (yeah, I was WILD!) because I wanted to be cool and show my parents who was boss.

 

As an adult, I’ve done things just because my friends do them.  I attended a retreat called Christian Experience Weekend, or CEW and met some of the most fantastic people I know. I joined a MOPS group (Mothers of Preschoolers), where my friends learned how to be better moms and wives.  My husband and I joined our local Worldwide Marriage Encounter Community, where husbands and wives learn how to have awesome marriages. I am part of a Salad Lunch club at work where we bring healthy veggies and share a meal once a week.

In my professional life, I do things just because my friends do them.  I listen to podcasts like EntreLeadership, This is Your Life, and In the Loop. I read authors like Jim Collins, John Maxwell, Seth Godin, Michael Hyatt, Dave Ramsey and Andy Andrews.  I comment on blogs and write this blog… just because my friends do it too.

As you can see, I’ve gotten smarter about choosing the right friends. And I think my friends are pretty cool.

Do you have cool friends that make you do all kinds of things?

Please Like, Share or Tweet. Post your comments here and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog… Just because I want to be your new friend and tell you what’s cool.  Thanks for reading!

What Makes You Unique?

Have you ever thought what makes you different? Certainly you may have skills in common with others in your field, but as our world evolves and the work market changes at lightning speed, it is critical to identify what makes you stand out.

I will take two concepts from books I read recently: Linchpin by Seth Godin and Good to Great by Jim Collins.

I don’t want to oversimplify what these excellent authors have contributed in their books, but I would like to zoom into these two concepts to reflect on how you can identify who you are and what you can offer.

A linch-hog, or a hedge-pin?

– Linchpin describes how you can identify your unique gifts, view your work as art and become indispensable, breaking molds, ignoring labels and bending rules.  I’ll paraphrase an idea that I love from Linchpin: “you can’t blend in and stand out at the same time.” You have to take a stand one way or the other.

– Good to Great is a very detailed long-term study of corporations that went from good to great over an extended period of time, becoming leaders in their field.  A concept that stands out is “the hedgehog concept”. The premise is that you have to identify the one thing you are best at like project management, programming, selling, public speaking, coaching, accounting… And then work on it like there is no tomorrow. Part of this is identifying what you are NOT. Think of a hedgehog that is very determined and knows its limits and knows how to outsmart its enemies. In other words cute, but prickly if needed.

So if you combine the two concepts, you would become a linchpin-hedgehog, or a hedge-pin, or a linch-hog…  This is when you know who you are and who you are not and….work  passionately to deliver  the best of your art and contribute your uniqueness to the world.

Let’s now apply these concepts to finding a job, keeping a job and loving your job.

 10 ideas to help you succeed when you are looking for work:

  1. Pray for guidance. God knows you more than anyone. Ask him how you can make the best use of your skills.
  2. List the main responsibilities you’ve had in your most recent employment opportunities: customer service,  troubleshooting,  tech support,  data processing,  process improvement,  project management,  team lead…
  3. Select what you enjoyed the most. For example, you enjoyed your part-time job as a barista at your local coffee shop because you are a morning person and you liked greeting your customers with a smile and fixing the best lattes in town to get them energized to go to their job.
  4. List the possible  applications of those skills  in a different setting. You’re very good with computers too, so you didn’t mind your weekend job as a tech support representative, listening to your customers attentively, spending enough time on the phone to take care of them and making sure they were 100% satisfied with the service.  Now you have combined technical expertise with people skills.  Make a few of those  connections and  find the patterns.
  5. Look for opportunities OUTSIDE your usual field or your most recent title.  You may be a good candidate for options you had not considered.
  6. Find businesses or organizations that do what you want to do and excel at doing and contact them.  You’re not going to ask for a job,you want to obtain information about them, study them and identify how you can contribute to their success. You are not “looking for a job”, you are selling your skills to a potential buyer/business partner.
  7.  Draw a lo-tech “uniqueness” map.  In the center of a blank piece of paper, write your name.  All around it, list in random order your unique skills and qualities and the things you like to do and you’re really good at:  creative, people person, organized, energetic, good with computers, friendly, problem-solver, detailed, disciplined… on and on… you get the idea.
  8. Discard jobs based on the fact that they may match your previous title or field, but they are not at all the right fit for who you are.
  9. Imagine you have only five minutes to present yourself.  How are you going to sell your unique skills and talents?  How are you going to communicate that you have what it takes to get the position/department/organization/business to the next level?
  10. Prepare yourself for the presentation of a lifetime.  Gather all your best tools to impress.  Show the organization that you know who you are, you know who they are and you have a clear picture of how the two of you can win. Show results, be prepared with smart answers to typical questions (Tell me about yourself…).  Prove to them that your uniqueness is exactly what they have been looking for.

If you want to know how to use these same concepts to keep the job you found and love the job you have, stay tuned for Part 2!

It’s time now!

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