Advice from a Head Hunter

Recently, I attended a session where the guest speaker took us through the steps of how to market ourselves better. He explicitly made it clear that marketing yourself is more important that marketing your job or what you do in it.

Most of us forget that we as people are brands in our own right and that like any other brand, we have to put in the work to market our brands.

He posed the following question, "Do you know how marketing managers are out there?" - Needless to say, he was met with a quiet response as myself and the other guests didn’t have a clue. In the midst of our scrambled thoughts he then posed a second question.

“What makes you special? - what separates you from your peers in your profession.”

He's a head hunter by profession and over the years he developed an algorithm for finding not just talent that is different, but talent that is exceptional. His algorithm makes it easier for him to navigate between people who are different and people who are exceptional at what they do. The end result of his process is him ending up with 3 candidates he can take back to the client. The client is the employer who has tasked him with finding the best candidate based on a specific skill set.

You need to understand that we were all made to be different. There is never going to be a time where we as people are the same. We share similarities on how to live our best lives but our actions to live that life vary from one person to the next.

Our very own finger prints are evidence that we were all meant to make a different mark in the world. Your mark and my mark could never be the same, however, our marks could be designed for the same objective or motive.

Being exceptional is a level up from being different. Exceptional is doing what other people don't want to do. Being exceptional means asking yourself hard questions so that you can hear hard truths.

Everything around us is already different but you must aspire to what is exceptional. You must have that vision in your head. You must encounter feelings of discomfort to know that you are growing as a person; and that for the first time in your life, you are doing something that is exceptional.

In your journey of being exceptional you must be guided by the following question: What is your why?

Why is the North Star to you achieving your goals. Why is what will keep you going when the going gets tough and no one is around to support you. Why is the exception to the norm. It informs the decisions that you need to make and most importantly, it informs how you are going to get to being at an exceptional level.

I recently started sharing Thoughts of the Week with my team at work where we go around the table and share a thought of the week. There were a lot of insightful thoughts but one that caught my attention reads like this, "If you don't listen to your own creativity, it will fight you".

Creativity is different for every individual, so when it starts speaking to you, trust and believe that you best listen to what it has to say. Don't block it, don't ignore it and definitely don’t ever, ever say no to it!

If you seem crazy to people for wanting to be exceptional then let it be. In any case, normal is our culture and people are afraid of creating new cultures. I say screw that; if not now then when?

Be exceptionally different!!

Edited by: Kanyisa Kabane


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