"The greatest value you can add is to become more of yourself."
You have nine seconds…
To grab my attention enough for me to keep listening or reading your message. Yep, we have the attention span of a goldfish. (But keep reading because this might just change your life.)
Sally Hogshead has done it again (how can you not pay attention to someone with a name like that?) She has written a book that fascinates. That is her specialty. She has studied the science of fascination and has shown us how to apply it to our own personality for maximum value. Her premise is that instead of trying to be better, we should focus on being different, because from a marketing perspective, ‘different’ beats ‘better’ every time.
We already have the most different trait possible, and that is our unique personality and life experiences. No matter how similar you might be to someone (even if you have a twin) no one has had the exact experiences, perspective, thoughts and ideas as you. And that is a distinct advantage. So Sally says we just need to be more of who we already are. Her latest book, How the World Sees You, describes just how to do that.
The Big Idea
Fascinate with your highest distinct value
"In a crowded, competitive environment, the most fascinating option always wins. Unrecognized greatness achieves nothing. Greatness can win only by being noticed and remembered. And in a competitive and overcrowded world, the same is true for you. You are fascinating. Our research proves it."
There’s something you do better than anyone else… and that’s being you. No one else can do that. And Sally shows you how to be the you-est you there is. Because no one can be you-er than you.
But sometimes we try to be someone else. Or we try to do things that aren’t one of our valuable advantages, and we don’t do so well. This is why she has developed the Fascination Assessment. (Sally has given the Actionable Books community an opportunity to take the assessment for free. Click here for details.)
From her extensive research, Sally has discovered seven major ways people communicate that she calls the ‘Fascination Advantages’. Each one of them has a unique way of adding value. Each has a different way they fascinate. By taking her assessment you will find out what your top two advantages are, and which one is the most difficult for you. By combining the top two advantages for an individual, one as primary and the other as secondary, she has determined 49 different personality archetypes. These span a complete range of personalities, showing the positive value for each one. Once you determine your archetype, you will be able to leverage your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. They are also especially helpful for building well rounded teams that can accomplish anything because a diverse set of advantages exist.
I happen to be a Catalyst and/or Rockstar (my mirror archetype) because I value relationships, think creatively, and am enthusiastic about new ideas. My highest and best value is ‘creative change.’
Now I know I can leverage my value by taking on assignments or starting new projects that fit my advantage.
Sure, it makes sense, but now I know why I’m energized about some things and struggle to do others. My goal is to seek out opportunities to be more of a Catalyst.
Maximize value, subtract everything else
"Every single time you communicate with someone, you are either adding value (and reinforcing why they should prioritize you) or taking up space (and reinforcing that your messages are irrelevant spam)."
You have hundreds of occasions to interact with those around you. Each one of them is a ‘touchpoint’ (in marketing terms) that can highlight what makes you different. Each email, phone call, in person communication should reinforce your value proposition, improving people’s perception of you, and if it’s not, then maybe you should consider whether you should be engaging in the first place.
To be more specific, how can you eliminate or minimize the tasks or interactions that don’t demonstrate your highest value? Sally gives an example of how she hated doing expense reports, and how some possible minor errors could cause a bad impression. So she eliminated them. When you hire her company, they don’t submit expense reports but rather offer a flat travel fee. (Then no one has to know that she only ate a Cinnabon for dinner.)
“You will never rise to your greatest potential by being all things to all people,” says Sally. When you maximize your value and subtract everything else you remove your weakest traits from the table and are therefore not being evaluated according to it. Focusing on your highest value advantage means you’re more likely to exceed expectations all the time.
I plan to volunteer and lead those activities that I can excel at, and get help or assistance in the areas that aren’t my strongest.
Sing your anthem
"You are the custodian of your personality… There has never been a greater opportunity to stand out and win based on who you already are."
Sally describes an anthem as a very short phrase, only a few words long, that gives a quick snapshot of what makes you most valuable to others. Based on your highest advantage, she gives a list of adjectives that might describe how you are different. Then she provides a list of nouns that describe what you do best. When you pick a combination, you get your anthem.
Applying her formula, my anthems might be:
Your anthem is a tagline, which is a very effective piece of communication. They convey a volume of information into a small statement. Companies have been using them for decades. You could probably recite a few off the top of your head. That’s because they stick and are memorable when your actions align with the message of your tagline.
It’s your responsibility to figure out how you can solve a problem, not anyone else’s. It’s your job to be clear on what makes you different. Your anthem is shorthand for how you add value. Figure it out, and use it pervasively to improve how the world sees you. That is when you are singing. (Not literally, but metaphorically, in tune and harmoniously beautiful.)
What could your anthem be? Sing it loud!