Are you indispensable? Do you stand out from the crowd through your creativity and resolve? Do you challenge routine and expectations others have about you? Are you passionate and driven enough to keep delivering expressions of art?
I had a very insightful conversation with a colleague on the topic of technical expertise, leadership and balancing/blending work and life together. I shared my thoughts on how I think it’s important that every company invests in proper behavioral/soft skills for greater, more meaningful interactions and relationships which become the vehicle for growth and overall success. I’ve experienced it first hand: over the last few years, I’ve learned to develop good rapport with my colleagues and clients, be empathetic in my interactions with them and generate trust. The results have been remarkable.
What does it mean to be indispensable? According to Seth Godin, it is the ability to stand out through creative, emotional labor. It means to give more than you take. As for me, I’ve learned that it’s a matter of positioning yourself in such a place that, should you leave it vacant, it would not be the same. The amount of scopes to which apply this mindset is extensive: you can become an excellent technician and deliver highly sophisticated solutions, or you can choose to develop strong relationships with your coworkers, or even make the decision to step up as an inspiring, organized leader who can take challenges with creativity and resolve. Regardless of the path you take, you will find that drive and ambition are key to pursue your goal.
Choosing to become indispensable is, however, a potentially daunting task at first. In order to position yourself for growth, a considerable amount of time and preparation is required. Moreover, it matters to consider what your goal is.
Becoming indispensable means that you’re not it yet, and that is an important realization to accept and overcome. I remember when I was young and read Godin’s book. I knew I wanted to become a valuable professional and a strong influence within my peers. I saw potential ahead of me but I realized that I was in the wrong context to begin with. I had to accept the fact that I was the only one responsible for treading my own path.
Once you know where you stand today, you’ll want to draw a line towards your goal in the future. Planning, regular introspection and keeping your surrounding environment in check are key factors to achieving that goal. Say, for example, that you wish to pursue technical expertise on an uncharted area in your team/company. Ask yourself:
- What will you need to learn to get there?
- Do you wish others to support/invest in you?
- What significant value can you generate for you and your team/company/business?
- How can you deliver such value with your own personal mark? How creative and happy can you be?
- How will your endeavors impact your environment for the better?
These should help you get started. However, the questions you ask should guide you towards you becoming driven to be valuable to others. Reward will follow in one exciting but challenging journey and ultimately the blessing of becoming someone better than before.
“Be who you want to be in the future”, Brian Tracy said once. If there’s anything I’ve learned about becoming indispensable, it is to actually be indispensable right now, one lesson at a time. When you portray yourself to be a linchpin, you will make decisions like those of a linchpin, you will help others like linchpins do and you will live a happy, creative, linchpin life.
Personally I’ve grown to realize that I must constantly push myself towards growth through self-awareness, genuine curiosity for the world around me and its people and be open to creative stimuli from them and their vicissitudes.
Drive is born from a nurturing background: a good family structure, decent quality of life and a healthy and simple lifestyle make a huge difference when planning your trail to growth.
- Seth Godin’s book: Linchpin
- Steve Hanselmann’s blog post: Be a Technology Tourist