Change how you play rather than waiting for the system to level the playing field.

I’ve been reading Edge by Laura Huang. The book is about overcoming adversity and misperceptions and achieving more success. Despite what you have been told, hard work and grit is not enough because “the system” is not a level playing field.

Covid is adding another layer of challenge. What you did to achieve success is no longer going to produce the same results. Let go and think about your attributes that can provide value and open doors to new opportunities. In other words, if you had an EDGE that worked, it’s time to rethink your EDGE.

Edge is an acronym used to describe what you need to do to achieve success.

What is your EDGE?

1/ Enrich and provide value: Define your strengths and weaknesses and those that can provide value now.

2/ Delight: Develop strategies to get your foot in the door so that you can demonstrate your value.

3/ Guide: Identify ways to guide people’s perceptions of who you are and what they think of you. 

4/ Effort: Combine the 3-4 things that make you who you are with hard work to give you the Plus [or the EDGE] needed to succeed.

Finding your Edge

Most of us work to get a yes from people. Getting a yes makes it harder to understand how we are being perceived and judged. So flip it around and try to get a No. 

As an exercise, get 10 people to say no to you and ask for or try to decipher why. Conversely, if you’re always getting a no, try different things to get a yes.

Often we only have to change one thing to change how we’re perceived and to change the response. With Covid, some of the variables such as body language that factor into perception are no longer a factor. On Zoom, people only see your facial expression and hear the tone of your voice.

Examples:

1/ Ageism: Older people are thought to be less technically competent. Why? Younger people perceive older people are less curious.

To overcome ageism, ask more questions such as “I’m curious as to how you came up with that strategy”.

2/ Gender Bias: Women are perceived to be less competent. Why? Men perceive women to be warm.

To overcome gender bias you need to be congruent and technically competent. For instance, for female founders to be congruent, they simply need to state the broader reason of their startup to be perceived as warm.

Be Yourself

People often say, just “be yourself”. It doesn’t work because you have different versions of yourself.

You need to put forward the right version for the given situation. Think about it as your side that will shine the brightest in that situation or alternatively, think of it as putting your best foot forward.

The book is worth reading to get more detail and examples of how to guide perceptions so that you’re more successful in everything that you do.

 

 

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