Lucy Dunn

20 Sept 2013. After many years of practicing ballet, my teacher told me last Friday that “Lucy, you have all the correct alignment, positioning all look good. Now it is time to work on more elongation of your neck, arms, legs and more elevation. You can do it. Just be brave and act BIG!” Well, I was flattered to hear the first part of the comment, and the latter part of her comment triggered me into a more philosophical mode, to reflect on how my work life was like my rather hard-core hobby, ballet.

In our work life, if we have been on the job for any time at all, it means have the fundamental skills and experience required to perform at the job, otherwise, the hiring manager would have had several “need for improvement” talks with us. But is that enough? Unless you are happy continuing to do the same work until retirement the question becomes “now what?” I believe that we all seek advancement, recognition, and money. Why is it that some people do a better job in having their talents seen than others? I think allowing ourselves to “act big” has a link to our success:

  • When you perform the daily task, what goes on in the head? Are you simply “going through the motions” or are you looking for ways to expand your existing skills and knowledge?
  • “Acting big” has less to do with constant self-promotion and more to do with “thinking outside of the box”. In a healthy way when you act bigger it is the result of you thinking big, which will naturally take you outside of the box. Are you thinking is there a way to do more with less (process improvement not just turning the crank)? Is there some way that the work could open some creative way to get more business?
  • Working smarter often involves your colleagues? Do you only speak with the person who sits next to you or in the same general area? When you need some information to complete a task or close a deal who do you network with? What if you reached out beyond your immediate circle to other local, regional or even global resources within the organization? You will be exposed to new ideas, new processes, and new people. The more exposure you have the more possibilities that interesting new opportunities will find you!
  • When you have a task, what could you do to occasionally go “above and beyond”? Are you really stretching your arms and legs, so-to-speak?
  • One of the Sales 10 Commandments* “Those who ask questions find answers.” When you do not know the answer, do you ask questions? Who do you ask, and more importantly, what do you ask? At the end of the day if, “you don’t ask, you don’t get” also “you don’t learn” at least as much….

You see, being BIG by no means is about acting arrogantly or disrespecting others. Quite the contrary, allowing yourself to “think and be big” is about self-discovery, being selfless and achieving satisfaction as you see what unseen opportunities may appear and unfold.
I think it is an attitude and a habit worth cultivating.

* If there were actually such a thing as the 10 Commandments for sales, what would be your ideas for what it should contain i.e. “you can’t expect results unless you makes call”, “you won’t get what you ask for”….


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