Recall the phrase “out of sight, out of mind?” What do people remember about you after an interaction?
Your goal should always be to remain in people’s minds—to leave them always wanting more of whatever job you do, or whatever product or service you provide. What makes you better than those who also do what you do? What makes your performance memorable and remarkable?
Consider: can you give 2-3 substantive reasons why someone should hire you, or follow you, or give you a promotion? If you can’t, you probably don’t pass the test for memorable or remarkable.
Let’s say your boss is having lunch with a colleague today and your name comes up—what does he or she say about you? Adjectives like “nice,” “capable” and “pleasant” are certainly positive, but you should aim for more. Consistently great performance conjures up words like “fantastic,” “exceptional” and “extraordinary.”
If you decide to take another job one day, it would be reaffirming to hear your boss say, “What can we do to keep you here?” and not, “Bon Voyage!” To develop this kind of reputation—remember it doesn’t happen automatically—aim to always do a good job but know when a remarkable performance is called for.
If you want to gain a really remarkable reputation, stay on your toes. Like a professional athlete or a famous rock star, you are only as good as your last game or your last hit. Your fans (or, in most everyday cases, your coworkers or clients) won’t love you unconditionally: they will continue to judge you based on your work and the results and benefits they enjoy from it.
It can be difficult to have an objective view of your own performance. It is easy to assume that you are doing a good or even great job and be content with that illusion. To avoid a rude awakening at a performance review, you need to maintain a clear view on how strong—or weak—your performance actually is.
The best way to do this is to actively seek ongoing feedback. Listen impartially, without defending yourself, and your ‘audience’ (boss, coworker, etc.) will offer insights you can use to improve. If you really want to know, ask this simple question, “What could I do to make my performance remarkable?” Even if this feedback isn’t the pat on the back you’d hoped for; it will be something valuable – clear direction on how you can become a better performer.
The goal in whatever important work you do isn’t to be good; the goal is to be memorable.