Our clients come from all over the country & their fields range across sectors, from aviation to big pharma to nonprofit to insurance. They have distinct goals for why they want to tweak their professional brands.
They want to boost their business by attracting new customers; get recruited by a better company; establish expertise after accepting a new position; or they just don’t have time to write about themselves & their jobs objectively.
But one common thread I’ve discovered since working with them is that they each boast a downright staggering list of accomplishments.
Over and over again, as I read through their résumés and listen to them regale me with their career path stories, I keep thinking:
Damn, this cat is crushing it!
Then, what always follows:
How do they do that?!
After careful study, I’ve realized that, as it turns out, the key to crushing it is pretty straightforward, actually.
People who are crushing it just happen to conduct themselves & think in ways that timid people don’t.
People who are crushing it act, well, bold.
If you’re timid, I realize that presents a problem for you. Social anxiety is real. And it can be devastating to any hopes of landing your dream job.
Same with having low self-esteem. It’s downright crippling. Counseling helps, but I’m not a doctor, and you know yourself better than anybody.
But what I do know is that everyone is good at something. Maybe it’s drawing beetles. Or folding paper airplanes. Or writing code. Or banging on drums.
To which I reply, “Someone. Someone out there is going to pay you to fold something with precision. Or to teach them how to fold paper airplanes. It’s up to you to go find them!”
Timid friends, you're free to decide at this point that you’d prefer to continue folding paper airplanes in private, thank you very much.
Or, you can try to crush it, too.
Because people who are crushing it at folding paper airplanes do so on the street corner, with a cool sign advertising what they’re up to. They invite others to watch, they even charge others to watch! In their free time, they challenge themselves to get better and better at it. And then?
They become the World’s Leading Expert Paper Airplane Folder.
That’s how you crush it.
So, timid people, if you want to crush it, too, do what you need to do to trick yourself into being bold, even if it’s just for those few moments when you’re on that paper-airplane-folding high.
Once you get that far, then you’re ready to incorporate these other seven habits of people who are crushing it into your own work and lifestyle.
What sets them apart from you and me, however, is that when they spot a problem, they don’t just whine to their coworkers about it at happy hour. They don’t resign to the “That’s just the way we do things around here” mentality.
They speak up, call out the flaws, even if it means making waves. People who are crushing it know that shaking things up is often the only way positive improvements are made.
So they draw attention to a problem, but then they take it to the next level. They mull over that problem and actually come up with a solution. Can you imagine?! Then they present that solution to their boss! Oftentimes, in a PowerPoint or with an attractive-looking infographic.
2. They champion for their causes by - gasp! - believing in themselves and their work, which, in turn, helps them convince others that their idea is the smarter/better/cheaper/whatever-er method than the old way was.
They demonstrate with evidence how well their solution works, and they even track outcomes:
- Did their quick-fix save the company money? How much?
- Did their idea make the process more efficient? How so?
Then, boom! That little chunk of measurable data goes right onto their résumés under the category “Major Accomplishments.”
*If they’re really smart, they write a blog post for the company about it and use that precious link forever to send to prospective employers under the heading “Publications.”
3. People who are crushing it plan ahead. Way ahead. It’s called being ‘strategic.’ From their earliest years, they think ahead about the kinds of people they’d like to get hired by, or the kind of person they’d like to be someday.
I wrote for one client who knew that someday he wanted to be rich, so guess what? He surrounded himself with rich people as a freshman in college. He chose not to wait tables for spare change like his buddies were doing and, instead, got himself hired at a luxury clothing store...where rich people hung out.
I wish I’d thought like this when I was in college. I waited tables at a crappy pizza joint where drunken frat boys hung out. I should’ve probably been, at the very least, serving coffee to editors or news reporters.
But guess who got my client his next job at a luxury resort…where he met even richer people? Some rich dude he happened to impress while he was folding shirts at the boutique. Go figure.
4. People who are crushing it invite smart people to join them on projects. Knowing the limitations of their own expertise and the demands of their busy schedules, crushers aren’t afraid to ask for experts outside their sphere to contribute creative energy so that the job gets done right.
That’s why they seek expertise like mine for help writing their LinkedIn profiles in the first place.
That’s not to say that they hire just anyone. They do their homework first. They vet, ask for proof, and gather knowledge with a discerning eye for quality talent.
5. People who are crushing it find a niche and stick with it. No matter what field they’re in, successful people find that one thing they’re super good at, the topic they’re jazzed about & that they know a ton about, and they milk it for all they’re worth.
Whether it’s breeding compost worms, building pop-up greeting cards, or writing copy for pet insurance brochures, they do it and keep doing it, with gusto.
6. They aren’t afraid to try something new. Just because a project or opportunity falls outside the confines of their well-honed niche, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth taking a shot at, even if it means failure!
People who are crushing it internalize the idea that any effort is worth at least the value of its inherent experience. You gain some nugget of wisdom, even if that wisdom is proof that you suck at something. At least now you know that for sure!
Getting out of your niche—or comfort zone—might mean taking on a leadership role to manage people. For a timid person or introvert, that might sound impossible. But it also might turn out to be magical, because quiet, perceptive, intuitive thinkers can be some of the most effective people-managers of all time.
7. People who are crushing it get involved & connect with people in real life; not just on the internet. Most of us know by now that the best way to climb the ladder to success is through utilizing your network. Some estimates show that up to 85% of us got our jobs through someone we know.
But how do you build a network of knowledgeable people in your field if you don’t already have one? Better yet, where do you find those folks who are going to get you that next, kickass job?
People who are crushing it go out and join the local chapter of their professional associations, or they volunteer their time at an organization that aligns with their career goals.
Whether it’s the Chamber of Commerce or the local food pantry, they show up, in person, at meetings, fundraisers, or even happy hours, and they introduce themselves, ask questions, contribute their time and their voice to the conversation.
They roll up their sleeves and ask, “How can I help?”
They attend networking events that are announced on social media. Then later, they call up one or two of the people they’ve met at these events and ask them to meet for coffee or a beer, just to pick their brains.
I know, timid you, this sounds dreadful. But you’ve got to work on those people skills, find that common thread that connects you to someone influential, brush up on some small-talk tips and practice ice breakers at home with family until you feel confident enough to fly solo. Because once you score a couple of explorative coffee meetings, Poof!, connection made. Impression sealed.
Before you know it, you’ll have a list of respected names in your field, with reputable organizations to back them up. You’ll add those names and those orgs to your résumé. You’ll ask those connections for references later on. Then, because you suddenly realize you're starting to crush it, too, you’ll start getting better gigs & making better money.
There are likely dozens more habits that people who are crushing it have that I don’t know about yet. The minute I learn about them, I’ll be sure and share them with you!
For now, timid reader, I hope these get you started in the right direction toward achieving a better, more fulfilling work life.