Employees who are indispensable and extraordinary don’t wait for instructions or directions; they figure out what needs to be done, and then they do it. They generate ideas. They think outside the box. They don’t become complacent in their roles. They make a difference in everything they do.
If this outline sounds intriguing, then here's the career path to take to make yourself a more indispensable and extraordinary worker in the eyes of your employer.
Get Past The Fear
To become indispensable and extraordinary, you must overcome some obstacles, and fear is one of them. Simply put, fear takes away your power. It confines you to the safety of the status quo. It prevents you from becoming what you can be. Fear keeps you from moving forward, following your dreams, and achieving your goals.
Many employees are afraid to fail. They don’t recognize that, in order to succeed, they must be willing to fail—and that with failure come valuable lessons. Once you conquer fear, you’ll be on your way to becoming more successful than you have ever thought you could be. Identify your fears. Then analyze them, dissect them, and develop a plan to overcome them.
Overcome Self-Imposed Limitations
Self-imposed limitations are another obstacle to becoming indispensable and extraordinary. They are restrictive; they limit what you can accomplish. They keep you from believing in yourself. For example, you might think you aren’t smart enough to do something or that no one would care what you have to say. Or you might think you don’t have enough time or money to do something such as earning an advanced degree.
You must be willing to step outside your comfort zone. Identify your self-imposed limitations and then attack them one by one. The most successful people in the world are great examples of overcoming self-imposed limitations. You can learn much by reading their stories. What challenges did they face on the road to success? How did they overcome those challenges? Make their stories your story.
Identify Your Career Goals
Set goals. Where do you want to go in life—and how do you plan to get there? Use that desired destination to get you to where you want to be. Your goals must be specific and measurable. What action does each goal require? How will you know when you’ve reached a goal?
Set a timeline for each goal. For example, don’t merely say you want to make more money. Be specific about what that means and why it’s important to you. It’s better to say that, within a year, you want to be making 15 percent more than you are making now. That goal is specific and measurable.
Seek Constructive Feedback
Constructive feedback enables you to understand what you are doing and how you are doing it. Ask for input from your managers and coworkers, maybe even from a few trusted clients and customers. Use this feedback to conduct a self-assessment to identify your talents and deficiencies and to develop a plan to move forward.
Establish Professional Development Benchmarks
Never stop learning. It’s a fundamental activity to realizing success. If you fail to learn, you fail to grow. It’s that simple. Identify opportunities within your organization—including tuition reimbursement—or through outside sources that will allow you to improve your education, enhance your skill set, and energize your passion. Doing so doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can take online courses, read books on personal development, attend seminars and lectures, and get involved in mentoring or training programs that match the actions you need to take to achieve your goals.
Become Opportunity Focused
Indispensable and extraordinary employees seek out opportunities and recognize them when they arise. They take advantage of those opportunities to improve their skills, positions, and future prospects. You can be one of those employees.
Snow Magazine contributor John Tschohl is the founder and president of the Service Quality Institute -- the global leader in customer service -- with operations in more than 40 countries. He is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on all aspects of customer service and has developed 17 customer service training programs, including Moving Up, that are used by companies throughout the world. His monthly strategic newsletter is available online at no charge at www.customer-service.com. He can also be reached on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.