Everyone has a story.
It’s the account of who you are. Your story is unique to you and sets you apart from all others. It’s the history of your life; your career journey. It reflects your experiences, accomplishments and what you have learned along the way. It’s also the intersection with others, relationships and associations you have built and nurtured throughout your travels. Like all great narratives, it holds themes of the path travelled and the prospect of your future.
Your story has value; conversely your value is your story. You bring value to your career and you must harness this value and tell your story.
If you want to achieve success and provide value with service in your career, then you must first and foremost understand and be able to communicate that value. Otherwise, you are just unused potential. Potential is nothing without an eye towards achievement. Without achievement, potential can never develop into anything substantial; it remains unused and underutilized in reserve without ever being drawn upon.
Those that understand their value and master it are those who are most directed professionally. If you can’t communicate your value you will never know the full extent of it. Moreover, you will never be able to express or communicate it to others in ways to fully take advantage of it.
We have learned over the years that the most successful individuals are those that have mastered the art of communicating their value. These are the people employers seek out and draw into their organizations. They are active and engaged contributors that shape the success and culture of the most successful organizations. They are seemingly perpetually employable; that is, they are gainfully employed, but should they face the uncertain layoff due to circumstances beyond their control, they are the first to be recruited back into the workforce.
Always be prepared to tell those you are meeting for the first time something special about yourself. Express your value proposition — or as we term it, your MVP. Your MVP — “My Value Proposition” statement does just this. With a warm smile and firm handshake, introduce yourself; explain your title and role with your firm, perhaps a passing comment about the sort of projects you work on; and then turn the table and ask questions about them.
Friendship, even in professional settings, is a two-way street. The more genuine interest you show in the other person the greater the odds you will be developing a new friend and colleague. And more than ever these days, the employment sector is dependent on communication. To thrive in it, you must work to master the art of conversation.
At every professional gathering, take the initiative and introduce yourself to others. Make a point to meet new people at every meeting; get bold and sit with people you don’t yet know so you can make new acquaintances. Exchange business cards. But remember, simply exchanging business cards is not networking. After meeting a new person for the first time, follow up in a day or two by sending an email, making a quick phone call, or even invite out for coffee or lunch.