May 4, 2012

Dare to be different!

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

At the moment our family lives three parallel lives: one in Paris, one in Madrid and one in Lugano. The kids prefer Lugano as their home, my hubby and I are hopelessly in love with Madrid but will happily spend the next couple of years in Paris which is where we are officially residing.

We regularly travel back to our old "towns" to visit friends, hang out and enjoy the good life in each spot. On my last trip I found myself more than once discussing the future with my girlfriends. After looking after your hubby and kids for the last decade or two, what do you do when you kids leave the nest?

I still have a long way to go before Expat boy and girl are off to fight for themselves in this great big world. I admit I am looking forward to visiting them wherever they might settle around the globe. In the meantime, I might have to prepare myself for a new chapter, like so many of my friends are.

All of us girls had a life and a career before we decided to drop everything in order to follow our husbands and become PMIs (Professional International Movers). The question is: Do we still have what it takes?"

A Wall Street Journal survey of corporate human resources and leadership-development executives identified "strategic thinking" as the business skill most sought by organizations. Trust me after moving our families around the world and starting up again and again we can think strategic, analytic, practical, functional, organizational, administrative, bureaucratic, executive, any way you want!

Let's focus on the theme that's at the heart of being strategic: differentiation. Now, if there is one thing we are: it's different!

In order to realize our full potential, we must embrace the style that makes us unique - whatever it might be. Now this could have come straight from my Mother. ;)

Is your style quiet and introverted, or outgoing and extroverted? Do you thrive in an orderly, structured arena, or one that is constantly changing and requires a great deal of flexibility and improvisation? Success goes to those who are willing to be different in ways that bring value to others.

Excellence, by its very definition, is deviation from the norm. The norm is an average, or a standard level. It's where the majority of people wind up, even though there is no such thing as a "normal" human being. Everyone has a unique style built on differences in background, abilities, temperament, and so forth. The difficult thing is uncovering and living that unique style.

Ladies, all you need is to have confidence in yourselves! This might sound kitch but I am a strong believer of this.

Strategy is inherently about doing different things than the competition or doing the same things in different ways than the competition. It's not about being better, it's about being different.

All you need to do is to discover your differentiation!

Five questions to help you discover your differentiation:
1. What are the activities I perform that are truly different from those others perform?
2. What are the similar activities I perform in different ways than others do?
3. What characteristics or traits do I have that are unique to me?
4. What resources do I have that are different from those of others?
5. What is the primary differentiated value I bring to people in my life?

Now, if you take the time to answer these question to yourself you're on the right track already, and remember: “You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result” (Mahatma Gandhi).




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