Be So Good They Can't Ignore You

[Average read time: 5 minutes]

Have you ever wondered why no matter what you do, you’re just not getting ahead? If so, Steve Martin’s advice might be exactly what you need.

Steve Martin was interviewed in 2007 about his book Born Standing Up.

“Nobody ever takes note of my advice, because it’s not the answer they wanted to hear,” Steve said. “What they want to hear is ‘here’s how you get an agent, here’s how you write a script,’ . . . but I always say, ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.‘”

This is the mindset that rocketed Steve into fame and stardom. He was in his twenties when he decided to make his act “too good to be ignored.”

What this comes down to is a mindset shift. Focus on the value you’re creating for others and the rest will take care of itself.

Are you an employee that wants a promotion? Be so good that your boss and your boss’ boss can’t ignore you.

Want to become an author and write for a living? Create books that are so good that readers can’t ignore them.

Want to start a side business to make extra income? Offer a product or service that is so good that customers can’t ignore them.

Sounds easy, but how do you become too good to be ignored?

The answer is simple. I break it down in two steps.

Step 1 – Focus on the Hard Stuff

Want the not-so-secret tip that will catapult you ahead of your competition? Do the things that others aren’t willing or able to do. This is conceptually easy, but difficult to implement in real life because by their very nature, “the hard stuff” is typically not fun or easy.

Most people don’t want to exert more energy than necessary on activities that are neither fun or serve an important purpose. The fastest path to becoming “too good to be ignored” is by doing the things others could do but don’t. If you have a job and want a promotion, this can mean volunteering for projects no one else wants or working late to finish a task early.

The hard stuff can often times be something you don’t know how to do. This is where self-education can change your life. Graduating high school or college doesn’t mean the learning ends. To be honest, most skills and knowledge you need to be successful happens after you graduate. The only difference is no one is going to force you to learn the skills you need. It’s all up to you.

Automation is coming faster than we think. I believe most entry level and logic-based jobs (Accounting, Finance, Manufacturing, Retail, Fast Food, Transportation, etc.) will disappear.

If you stop learning, you will be left behind.Click To Tweet

Determine what skills you need to learn to reach your end goal. A person sitting in their cubicle that wants to be promoted to a management position would be wise to learn about leadership, operations, business finance, public speaking, improving their writing, as well as any job or industry specific skills that would be beneficial.

Don’t have time?

I call bullshit. Everyone has 24 hours in a day. We choose what is important and we always make time for our priorities. The average person spends 20+ hours watching television and another 6 hours browsing Facebook per week. No time?

Don’t have extra money?

No worries, technology has your back. There are literally dozens of online courses offered by major universities, for free. Yes, FREE! Even Harvard offers free online courses. HARVARD! I finished one last week, “Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies.” You can essentially receive an Ivy League education in any subject for free. Even if you can’t afford WiFi, go to your public library and use their computers for free. Did I mention all this is free? There’s no excuse.

Do what others won’t.

Do what others can’t.

Step 2 – Deliberate Practice

Deliberate practice is in reference to the 10,000 Hour Rule. If this is your first time hearing this term, it is a principle that states 10,000 hours of deliberate practice are needed to be world-class at something. World-class is the best of the best – Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, etc.

If you’re in your cubicle and want that promotion, you don’t need to be the best on the planet at your job, you just need to be better than your competition. Therefore, you don’t need 10,000 hours of deliberate practice perfecting your craft.

It's surprisingly easy as to how quickly you can go from average to awesome when you're deliberate about your craft.Click To Tweet

That’s because most people show up to work, perform good enough, and do the minimum amount of work that satisfies their boss.

Even 10 or 20 hours dedicated to improving your skills will raise your game to a new level.

Deliberate practice doesn’t mean doing the things you’re comfortable with again and again. It’s not about repetition, it’s about expanding your limits. Focus on “the hard stuff” from step 1 and push yourself just past your comfort zone every day and before you know it, the stuff you once thought was hard will now be one more tool in your tool belt.

Do what others won’t.

Do what others can’t.

Practice deliberately.

Do you want to be so good they can’t ignore you?

I do.

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