How to stand out professionally in a company

The one thing that comes naturally to you might be a game changer

What to get noticed by the bosses? It’s not as hard as you think. Whether you know it or not, you could be the one that is making the biggest difference in the company you work for. While it may seem that you are only a number on a long list of other employees, you could actually be the diamond in the rough and not even know it yet, and neither does your boss.

 A young college student attending a university decided that he needed a job while he was in school. He applied at a high-end restaurant to be a waiter to start making good tip money. He could work in the evenings and weekends when he didn’t have classes and go to school and study when he was not working. It was a great plan but as is often the case, we are rarely ready for what awaits us.

This young man had a talent that he never knew would come in useful until he started interacting with his customers. As he waited on tables, he could naturally remember faces with names. It was just something he could always do. He didn’t know why this came easy to him; it just did. We all have these little quirks that serve no significant impact in the moment, yet they are the little innate things we can just do better than others without trying.

As time went on, he began seeing regular patrons of the restaurant. When they sat at his table, he would remember their name as he greeted them. The regulars were impressed that this young man, whom they recognized but did not know, could remember their name from just one encounter a week ago.

Soon, the young man was not only able to remember their names, but he could remember their drink orders and how they liked their steak done. This type of excellence was getting noticed by the patrons and they were coming back week after week. As the young man continued to work his tables, he was able to know if their wives liked chicken or beef and whether she wanted a martini or iced tea (sweet or unsweetened)

Months went by and soon very affluent businessmen were now booking reservations at this young man’s tables. These men wanted to impress their clients as the young man would call them by their names and get their orders perfect without writing anything down. Every night his tables were becoming an event. As word got out, people were even flying in just to get a table at the restaurant where this young man was putting on this amazing piece of theater.

The restaurant’s business was booming. Every night was like being at the Grammys. People dressed up and got reservations early. Tables were limited and the list was long to get one of the tables where this young man worked. While the business revenues were soaring, so were his tips. This young man who only wanted a part-time job while he went to school now held the most valuable piece of real estate in town, his tables.

Understand, this young man did not work in management, in business development, in marketing, or advertising. He wasn’t a significant high-level manager or even the owner. He was just a kid waiting tables that just happened to have an inborn gift that created a huge difference in the success of the restaurant.

Here’s what I want you to understand from this short story: you don’t have to be a person of high-level significance to make a dent in the operations you work for. Anyone can do something like this no matter where you work or what kind of work you do. Every job is important and there really is no such thing as “essential workers.” Every job and every career are essential. However, one person could be even more essential if they exercise that one thing that could separate themselves from everyone else.

I once had an employee that could add and subtract fractions in his head incredibly fast. He didn’t know why this came naturally to him; it just did. To a construction company like mine, this is a valuable trait in an employee. Our company was contracted to do a very large fence project for a wealthy customer. The landscaping was very complex, and the general contractor hired a landscape engineer to design it all.

After my employees set all the posts the general contractor called me to tell me we had a problem and I needed to get to the project. It turned out that my employees did not follow the plans and set all the post wrong. During the meeting with the general, the engineer, and the homeowner, I asked my employee why he set the post this way. He said with the utmost confidence that the plans were wrong and that the posts were set right. I asked him to explain. He said, “The plans didn’t account for the width of the posts.”

In the end, my employee was right. The plans were wrong but what is the most striking about this story is how confident my employee was about his work. This kid never went to college or even had a lot of construction experience. But he was more than ready to confidently stand by his work even arguing with an engineer who had years of schooling and experience.

As an employee in the company you work for, you must tap into those natural gifts that you possess that will make you unconventionally confident in your work. This is not to say that you will be a rockstar at everything you do but rather that one thing. That one little thing that you can do that you don’t have to practice or a skill you must hone. We all have small innate gifts in our work that makes us stand out or be an outlier. These are the things that make us highly confident in our work because it gives us a “I’ve got this” mindset.

Self-confidence is key and what puts us in that confidence mode is where real success is found. Anyone can do the run-of-the-mill day to day operations. But those that can pick out one aspect of their work and do it better than anyone else can become incredibly significant.

If you look at the DISC scale of employee traits, you can see that many companies hire using this scale. DISC stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance. You can look at these traits like the dials on a mixing board in a recording studio. Where employers want people with high levels of dominance, influence and steadiness and lower levels of compliance. Employees that register within this spectrum of high and low traits tend to be much more confident in their work. They are not only confident in their work, but highly confident in what they do best.

The greatest part of this whole thing is that you really do not have to work to find your inborn giftedness that sets you apart from everyone else. This comes natural to you. All you must do is identify what makes you the best at what you do and begin focusing on it much more. Show your bosses that you have an unique trait that comes easily to you and more importantly, show them how that trait will bring value.

What most employees do not realize is that bosses and company owners are always thinking in terms of value. If you want a raise, show them how the extra money they are paying you will result in higher value for the company. Pitch your special trait and you’ll get special treatment.

While the rest of the world wants to be a part of the crowd, it always amazes me that they still aspire to those who boldly stand alone.

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