Most people want to be the best in their chosen career, work or any endeavour. They keep pushing and grinding every day so that they are not left behind. In this competitive world, it’s harder for most women, who have to work twice as hard as their male counterparts before their skills and potential would be noticed.
Dr Zoe Chance a researcher and author of the international bestseller, Influence Is Your Superpower says “Women feel forced to compete on their record, whilst men can compete on their vision.”
Is it possible to be the best at what you do, especially in a “male-dominated” society? Yes, it is. For instance, parents generally desire their kids to always come first or at least second in class. So the kids slave away at their books. But other kids are striving for that 1st position too, so he or she puts in the extra effort. At the end of the day, they all cannot get the first position. Would you say that your kid didn’t do his or her best because they came third? No. At least, I should hope you won’t say that.
Think on this:
Being the best at what you do does not mean you would always be number 1. But if someone is looking for a person in your line of work, your name comes up as a possible or the best consideration amongst the first 3 people.
Note also that being the best at what you do does not only apply to work or business life. You should also put in the extra effort when it comes to other areas, like your relationships and family. It would be sad if you’re a terrific sought-after entrepreneur or business mogul, but a terrible woman, mother or wife.
So, how can you be the best at what you do? There are really a lot of points to consider, but I will focus on 8 of them.
1. Be Consistent
No one is going to notice anyone who is not consistent. You must show up consistently, to be seen, heard and taken seriously. Consistency births success.
Arsene Wenger said, “When you look at people who are successful, you will find that they aren’t the people who are motivated, but have consistency in their motivation.” So, are you consistently motivated in all that you do?
2. Stop Apologizing
Relax. Don’t look shocked, let me explain. Some women tend to doubt their own decisions and opinions when they give them, even when they are confident about what they are saying. They stutter and say things like “I might be wrong on this” or “I don’t have all the answers”.
Or they finish up their statements with questions like, “Do you think it’s something we can do?” or “Does it make sense?” This manner of speaking and “apologizing” only puts a dent in your credibility and potential. So, stop the self-doubt.
3. Remain focused
Refuse to get distracted by the competition or what others are doing and saying. A lot of things can cause you to be distracted from your goals and vision, like family, friends, too much sleep, pets, TV, the smartphone and even yourself.
Some women tend to berate themselves even when they are flying high, such continual berating can adversely affect their focus and progress in life.
When you set SMART goals, you need to make an extra effort, beyond all odds, to stay on track. If you derail, don’t beat yourself up, just get right back on track and continue going forward. Focus is what distinguishes the best from the mediocre.
4. Be Intentional About Learning
Learning should be deliberate and lifelong. It helps you become a better you. Someone rightly said, “Don’t work on your job, work on you.” Learning helps you develop valuable skills that impact both your personal and professional lives.
Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Learning never exhausts the mind.” It only improves and expands the mind. The more you improve yourself, the more your skills and abilities will be sharpened.
Stephen Covey, the author of the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People spoke about the need to “Sharpen the Saw”. This was the 7th Habit. According to him, to sharpen the saw means “preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. To have a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.”
If you would stand out, be sought after or be promoted, you need to submit yourself to continuous learning, for people don’t get recognized out of the blues.
5. Practice. Practice. Practice.
Researchers believe that 10,000 hours of practice can make one become an expert. Creativity and brilliance stem from constant practice. Practice means learning by repetition. It is the act of repeating a series of activities in order to improve in a specific area. Practice is golden to those who know the value.
Also note that the fact that you’re doing something does not mean you’re practising it. When you practice, the intent is to become better. Practice must be intentional; it is not just repeating the same actions, you must know what needs to change and then change it.
6. Be Creative
Do things differently, don’t be a copycat. Everybody is inherently unique and that is why no two persons, including twins, have the same fingerprints. Discovering your uniqueness makes you create things differently. It draws attention to you. Yes, there is nothing new under the sun, but you can have a unique perspective.
Albert Einstein stated that “Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else ever thought.” Thinking differently leads you to act differently, and acting differently ultimately leads you to the top.
7. Be Up to Date
There’s nothing as bad as eating bread that is stale. You will spew it out. Everyone loves fresh bread or food. Similarly, people naturally gravitate towards people who are up to date in their chosen fields or business.
You need to keep abreast of new and fresh trends as it concerns your line of work, business and even your relationships. There are so many ways to be updated: by reading up-to-date information on websites, books, journals, and blogs that are relevant to your industry, business and life, listening to video and audio interviews of business/ industry leaders, networking with others in your field, etc.
Keep updating yourself, so that you don’t become obsolete.
8. Don’t Cheat Nature
Let’s talk about these 3 areas: Rest, Healthy Foods and Exercise.
Rest when you need to rest. Work when you need to work. Don’t substitute one for the other. Moreover, you can’t function optimally when you’re sleep deprived. Don’t wait until you burn out before you realize you need rest. It might be too late then. There is time for everything; the sooner you realize this, the higher probability of you excelling at what you do.
Also, eat healthy foods. This impacts your physical and mental health. Healthy foods like veggies and fruits are loaded with antioxidants; these antioxidants work to reduce stress in the body. Junk food on the other hand, as a result of the high sugar content, increases oxidative stress in the body.
You should also eat less of foods that make you lethargic if you want to function at your best when you’re working. Some foods that cause lethargy are: snacks that have been sweetened artificially, pasta, hamburgers, dark chocolate etc.
Dark chocolate is great, but the serotonin in it can make you feel sleepy, so don’t eat it when you want to function optimally.
It’s the same with bananas; they are highly nutritious, and they relax us, so when taken in excess, they cause tiredness. The key is balancing; knowing what to eat at certain times of the day.
Exercising regularly has great profits too; it does more than keep you healthy and in shape. It helps to reduce stress, and boosts your productivity and creativity.
The American Heart Association has also stated that long periods of sitting at your desk can cause an increased risk for high blood pressure, and heart disease. Experts say when you exercise, you increase the levels of blood that flows to the brain. A protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) is produced, which enhances your cognitive abilities and learning; and BDNF is triggered by exercise.
Finally, being the best at what you do is not insurmountable, you just need to be disciplined and be ready to pay the price, because there is always a price to pay, it doesn’t come cheap.
Efe Lisa Ifezuo
Graduate of English. Content writer, author, blogger, and Business Owner at Coinscribes (A General Transcription, proofreading, blog/content/fictional writing Service).