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Alpha Or Average?
Here's how to become the best you can be
Who hasn't met an Alpha and envied them? If you're unfamiliar with the term, Alpha individuals are those ‘lucky' people who are confident, capable and seem to have the world at their feet. They're generous and charming, great to work with and for, and always bridge that tricky gap between friendly and frosty with effortless ease.
Whatever their age, gender or status, they embody those two great intangibles, charisma and presence , as well as natural leadership and an ability to generate trust. ‘In fact, they seem to represent everything one could wish to be - and to cap it all are just so darned nice… ain't life unfair?
The good news is that you too can become an Alpha. You simply have to focus, consciously and constantly, on becoming the best you can be. Aristotle summed it up when he said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”.
Five key elements are involved in the process which, if started now, could see you well on the way to becoming an Alpha surprisingly swiftly:
Identifying who you are
Self-awareness and self-knowledge are the foundation stones. Many of us identify ourselves purely in terms of our roles (parent, child, worker, friend) and economic and social position. Yet all of these are secondary to the question of what exactly sets us apart from everyone else.
In marketing terminology you need to be clear about your USP (Unique Selling Point). Use the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule that says 80% of what you achieve comes from only 20% of your efforts) to decide what really matters to you .
Do a SWOT analysis on yourself (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) – and spend some time honestly examining your strengths and weaknesses. The strengths are for you to build on; the weaknesses to overcome.
Controlling and planning what you do
‘Actions speak louder than words' , so once you've identified who you are, you need to be honest about how well what you do fits the essential ‘you'. Frankly, many people's lives reflect a series of fairly random past decisions; becoming an Alpha means deciding to work towards consciously creating and living your optimum life .
Consciously ‘doing' is important in all sorts of ways. For example, research has shown that good looking people are more successful than their less attractive peers so another element of ‘what you do' should be maximising your appearance. As legions of make-over shows demonstrate, this means wearing the right clothes for you and taking trouble over personal grooming. Additionally, create your own personal sense of style to enhance the real ‘you'.
Remember also that ‘achieving through doing' is based on brilliant time management. Y ou own your time – it's down to you to use it in the most productive way possible.
Managing what you say
Alphas are great communicators, demonstrating high levels of Emotional Intelligence. They usually take time to question and listen before expressing their own views, which enables them to make a decision or comment based on the best possible evidence rather than assumption. As they realise that good communication involves receiving and understanding information – not just transmitting it - they're usually superb leaders and negotiators too.
Walking the talk
Alphas are notable for their integrity which means that they are prepared to be truthful and stand up for what they believe is right even when it is not the easiest thing to do.
Integrity gives Alphas unshakable self-belief and creates a comfortable ‘fit' between them and their world. Once again, this isn't down to chance. Alphas recognise the benefits of working for an organisation where their joint vision and values are closely aligned. Because of their own personal ‘investment' in what the organisation is striving to do, they are passionate and inspiring employees.
Planning for success
Most of us spend little time consciously cultivating ‘who we want to be', preferring to hope that our ‘natural' skills and talents will eventually get us recognised. Unfortunately this means that many of us never get as far as we should!
Strangely, although we may be familiar with the old maxim ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail' in a business context, we choose to overlook it in respect of our personal development. However, if you consider that we're each the MD of our own individual company, it's clear that ultimately success or failure is purely down to us.
So set some goals for becoming great, and get some support to help you achieve them - whether a personal coach or mentor or just supportive colleagues or friends. Make it your mission to be the best you can be and in years to come you'll be able to help others by mentoring them.
What's your opinion?
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