Think outside the box. Let’s twist this metaphor to use it to describe how we differentiate businesses in the marketplace and ourselves in the workplace. If we consider “the box” the thing you do and how you (and the rest of the world) currently do it, whether it is writing an article, running a business, creating relationships with customers or really anything, “the box” is a big fat metaphor for the status quo.
This week, my box was to write an FAQ article. As you can see, “the box” in this metaphor can be big or small and my example is a smaller box: just one little article!
Every box is comprised of a bunch of little pieces. All of these little pieces (expert advice, past experience, understanding of the task, what the outcomes could be, etc.) bring you to the general standard for your thing, your box.
The first draft of my FAQ article was a giant checkmark on my box: my technical writer hat was on, I researched, I referenced and I constructed a perfectly average article.
THE BIG PROBLEM: There are a lot of people performing at that standard. In order to move past the blah-blah mundane, you need to be exceptional. And my guess is that EXCEPTIONAL is what you are aiming for.
What my article was lacking was a voice. My voice, my interpretation of the research, my construction of the message, my opinion. Differentiating this article from a dry-as-crackers Wikipedia article was as easy as opening up and sharing my own ideas and beliefs.
Can you identify where you are already playing outside the box? How can you spend more time out there? And, if you are currently playing in the box, where are you daring to dream to play outside of it?
Leaning into your strengths, your voice, your values and your opinions will make the difference between being one of the flock or leading it.