Be a Trailblazer!


One of the best ways to distinguish yourself from the crowd or in your particular marketplace is to blaze your own trail. You must aim to be new and different, but not necessarily unique or revolutionary. Yes, this is not the first time you’ve heard this, but hearing and doing are two different things. How many times do you need to hear before you go do it…or at least try?

Often times, all we need to do is to use what’s established in the market and add our own flavour to it. Google didn’t create a new way to search for things on the Internet, it just improved on the techniques that were already being used and made it better. Apple’s IPAD was not the first tablet on the market, but they enhanced what was already out there, added some brilliant architecture and marketed it to consumers in the usual Apple style — simple, but elegant. Facebook was not the first social media website, but it capitalized on what people were already doing and allowed them do it better and reach more friends and family. It allowed them to share pictures and activities in an unprecedented manner.

As you can see for these examples, we don’t need to be revolutionary or even unique in our thinking to come up with something that can change our lives or the way we do things in a profound way. We however need to be willing to step out of our comfort zone, at least gradually! Try something different from how you’ve been doing it; go to a movie that you would not normally be interested in; instead of bringing your lunch, go to a restaurant that you always wanted to try out; take a different approach to problem solving than you normally use. These are just ways for you to start climbing from your area of comfort and divulging some of your vulnerabilities and insecurities. It’s a win-win situation. If you don’t gain anything new, just go back to your old ways, but if you do get something from the exposure, don’t ignore it! Take gradual steps until you have overcome your need to be safe all the time, but don’t get reckless!

I know people who have extreme tendencies—they are either risk averse or they’re reckless. They try to prove to their friends that they can change their character and so they go do something that is totally out of character without appreciating the risks involved. People who are natural risk takers have developed a sixth sense for risks over the years, what a risk averse person perceives as a risk, the seasoned risk-takers see it as a challenge with a higher probability for success than failure. A careless person however has no clue where the chips lie; they are out to prove a point, betting on blind chance.  Avoid this position at all cost—don’t pretend to be something or someone you’re not. The objective is to be somewhere in-between,  taking calculated risks.

So what separates us?

photo_6342_20080618It’s not clear-cut why some people are able to reach the heights of their abilities while others with similar talents struggle tremendously.  My observation is that people who set goals tend to do a lot better than those who “wing it” and hope that by doing “progressive” activities they will eventually attain success. I can tell you straight up— that’s not a good approach. You’re not taking charge of where you’re going; instead, you’re just trotting along.

Every success story I have heard or read involved someone who took charge of his or her life and decided what she wanted to achieve. Success never just happens because you’re in the right place at the right time. If you’re prepared, opportunities may present themselves to you, but it’s how you take control of them that determines your true level of success.

How do we take charge of our careers, relationships and jobs? Taking charge and holding yourself accountable make all the difference.  I have seen it happen in so many facets of life that it is hard to ignore the fact that we need something more than our skills and talent to excel and achieve our highest potential. Personally I have struggled with this same issue.

When I graduated from university with bachelors of Science degree, I was one of the top graduates entering into the engineering industry. It appears that a highly rewarding and successful career would be mine for the taking. But something was missing and I didn’t know it at the time. I never could get it on track, and though my work was generally okay and my boss commented that I showed initiative on my assignments, I was never enthused myself. I felt no passion for the work or my assignments, which became monotonous fairly quickly.

Certainly one of the ingredients that make us go after our goals is passionthe type that energies you when everything else says give up! Money is a motivator, but it does not provide the motivation once we have enough, yet over and over we see some of the top individuals in their fields excel in spite of their already great wealth.

Be a Trailblazer!

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