In one of the previous editions, I posed the question ‘who are you?’ I tried to make it clear that you are simply the problem you help humanity solve.

Apart from your personal name which was given to you at a time when all you could do was smile and cry, every other name you are called is mostly a function of what you do in relation to people. You are a preacher, cook, driver, banker, consultant, etc.

In order to distinguish one banker from another for instance, people will naturally look for what one particular banker is known for more than the other in the process of interaction and make it a prefix to the word banker e.g., smart banker, unqualified banker, professional banker, etc. This is all about distinguishing bankers.

People know you for that which you do that distinguishes you from every other person in the same category with you and it is that which attracts people to you or repel them.

You actually have in you all you need to make yourself a centre of focus in your chosen career if only you would step out to stand tall.

Assuming you are on the floor of a big hall with many other people, nobody sees you except the few people around you. Immediately you mount the platform, you become the cynosure of all eyes. You are now visible to everybody; people can now walk towards you because you are no longer hidden.

What if you don’t know what you are doing or you don’t have anything to offer the people you are standing before, they will boo you and you will step down shamefacedly. As you do not have an outside without an inside, not less will there be an individual who wishes to stand out without having something to offer.

To stand out means to have been prepared before time and create opportunity to be known for something you can do outstandingly well. It’s not noisemaking, it is not a display, and neither is it a personal ‘mass mediaring’. It’s simply doing what you know how to do well with no intention of impressing anybody but to add value to others and be identified with success in that area for subsequent patronage.

How then can you stand out to stand tall?

1. Know what you do. You should see continuous learning of what you do as a means to an end. Set goals for yourself to be among the first 10, 20, 30 or 40 of the people doing a similar thing with you in your organisation, sector, industry, nation or in the world. Aspire to learn new things about your job every day.
Don’t forget that immediately you stop learning, you start dying.

2. Love what you do. If you are doing something and you are not getting the desired result, check if you are really interested in it. You can’t be interested in a task and not get result. The interest you have will build a form of energy in you that will drive you to sublime every appearance of obstacles.
If you are doing what you are not interested in at the moment, either develop the interest or find something else to do before you kill your motivation. It will be difficult for you to be at your best if you have developed apathy for what you do. This can result in you being regarded as a non performer.

3. Seek to do what you love to do. What is the essence of a bird that cannot fly, or a stamp that cannot stick? It is not enough to know and love what you do, you cannot light a candle and put it under a bushel. How possibly can I know you have a good voice and you can sing if all you do around me is talk? Nobody reckons with you for doing nothing, you are known for that which you do. Break your cocoon of passivity and step into the world of pro activity that you might create and seize opportunities around you to shoot you up.
Do it all times, even if you have to volunteer or you don’t even see any physical reward for your actions.
Christine James said “The good we do is never lost, each kindly act takes root, and every bit of love we sow, in time will bear its fruits.”

4. Set career goals for yourself and commit to actions. That you might not be like he fighting the wind, you have to start with the end in mind. Know where you want to be, when you want to be there and how you intend to get there. Commit to actions to get to your destination and before you know it, you are already positioned for greater career height.
I recommend you go on a retreat to do a deep soul searching to identify your life goals out of which would flow your career goals.
Remember, ask and you shall be given, seek and you will find, knock and the door shall be opened to you. Post your questions/comments to www.info@myjobskills.org and I will be more delighted to attend to them speedily.

•Afolabi writes from Lagos