Posted in Random thots..

Idea #7: What is your Winning difference ?

What is your winning Difference

If you are a creator of things, this is the question you hear all the time.

Does your idea  have a USP?. What is your core competency? How will you differentiate yourself from the crowd?

And the more I think about it- the more it seems to be the key question for all you do . I mean if you’re doing something just for the sake of hanging in there, then you’re fine. But if you want to grow up the ladder, get that promotion , make money in your business, get your idea spread .. Then you absolutely need to nail this thing – “What’s your  winning difference?”

And as elementary as the answer might be, the process of discovering it will be the most painstaking one that you’ve gone through . Because if it were that easy, everyone would have done it, right?

When you are creating something.. a new product , a website, an app , a book – the rules are pretty simple. You either differentiate or you die!..

Even in the workplace – wouldn’t it be magical if you knew how to use your eccentricities to stand out in the crowd. So – Are you the creative types, who can offer a new twist or perspective to your team, or the hard nut with numbers who can churn out any what-if analysis in a jiffy? . Realizing what you are great at, and using it to your advantage makes a lot of difference.

The next big question then – Is there an App for that?  😉 😀 .. No app yet , but a technique to give you very strong leads:

  • Focus on your audience. Give them what they want. Solve their problems. Help them achieve their goal.  Whether it is your Boss, your customers or your readers – you make their life easier and they can’t help but notice you!.
  • Experiment with your strengths.  You may find you have this tiny little winning difference. A quirk, a talent, an approach to problem solving – call it what you may. Go ahead – capture and nurture it! . Tinker and experiment with it. Add your dash of mad and crazy. You might think.. Hey this outspoken guy is not me. Or I’m not that risk taker who can take that leap of faith on a hunch. But then – “You must be the person you have never had the courage to be. Gradually, you will discover that you are that person, but until you can see this clearly, you must pretend and invent.” ― Paulo Coelho
Posted in Random thots.., Time Machine

In Retrospection

I never thought it would be so difficult to pen down my own life’s story. Well, how tough can it be to write just about yourself? After all, aren’t we always thinking about this – what we wanted to become, what we are now, and where we want to be! These questions constantly rule our lives, and tracing the trajectory of my career path to write down this blog, I couldn’t help feeling bewildered to discover the unknown pivots and cogs that have unknowingly shaped my life’s destiny!.

When I wrote my first poem in class 5, I wanted to become a writer. Fascinated by the marvels of the universe unfolding in a science class, I dreamt of becoming a scientist. Touched by poverty and destitution during a visit to the slums, I vowed to become a social worker. Admiring the snaps taken with my first camera, I thought I would make an extraordinary photographer.. With every mood and situation, my perspective kept changing, and by the time I really had to choose my career, I ended up being thoroughly confused.

Most career choices are made by what our parents want us to be. And, as conventions and societal expectations go, my parents wished that I should take up either of the most prestigious and secure jobs that planet Earth can offer – they wanted me to be a Doctor or an Engineer! A dutiful daughter and righteous student, I became a First class Honors graduated Electrical Engineer.

My first job offer from Wipro technologies seemed to be the photo finish to an adventurous journey called Engineering. These four years, we slogged day and night, endured the most bromidic classes, and scraped through the most tedious exams, blissfully unaware that we would never use what we had learnt there anywhere else again!.. Perhaps the three most important things that I carried forward from my Engineering days were – an ability to learn abstruse stuff, the brand name “NIT, Rourkela”, and a relationship that resulted in marriage.

“Jobs are not meant to satisfy us.” … I discovered that too soon after I joined Wipro Technologies. The Wipro Project Readiness Program for freshers began with excruciating trainings and formidable exams. However, when deployments to project locations happened two months later, the training seemed grossly “over adequate” – it was like crushing a groundnut with a hammer! My stint at Wipro was a fertile learning ground, exposing many vistas and avenues for exploration. I learnt that perfection and attention to detail are major determinants for success, and being at the right place at the right time helps. Hard work, dedication and intelligence is not enough, you also need social skills to sell yourself. Another truism that I acquired was – “Learning is as important as living”. Life is worth living as long as you keep acquiring knowledge. I decided that sometime in my life, I needed to do an MBA.

We live in a generation where we fiercely chase our own dreams. There is an underlying restlessness as we relentlessly pursue our lives, aims, ambitions, hopes and desires. We are always wanting things, and either struggle to get them, or move on to newer desires after we achieve the older ones. We are constantly dissatisfied with what we have, and forever hungry to do more. Perhaps, it was an influence of this generation that made me change my aspect about life. Till then, I was a silent observer, going with the flow of what others expected out of me, and what was the societal norm. I had a secure job and a settled lifestyle, yet I felt that there was something missing. My job as a “Design and development software engineer” paid me well, but it lacked the challenge and constant learning that I craved for. Out from this secure and protected existence, I realized I needed to take the driver’s seat and steer my career in a new direction.

When I look back and analyze my career decisions, I have moved in unrelated career paths. Yet, I am satisfied because I have been able to explore and seek whatever I wanted. If you are just beginning your career, and dont have much to lose in your explorations, then there is nothing wrong in experimentation. You may not be able to realize what works, but at least you can be sure about what will not work for you!

In fact, I believe that there is no thing as “one career” that can satisfy you forever. It is not like a marriage which is made in heaven, and a sacrosanct agreement which cannot be broken. I feel that a career is an extension of you, and should be something that you are passionate about, and would want to do at that point. And it can keep changing with time, because our dreams and desires keep constantly changing with who we are.

A job should not be an obligatory responsibility or a mere means for subsistence. It should be something that you look forward to doing, and make some meaningful contribution in your life. If you wake up every morning dreading the hours you need to spend in office, then it is time to change direction. We always seek for satisfaction, but perhaps, satisfaction is not the end, but the just the means to keep a meaningful existence. Quoting the words of George Bernard Shaw:

“As long as I have a want, I have a reason for living. Satisfaction is death.”