By Alison Vaughn

Literally, it’s easy to spot a pair of stilettos in a room full of flats. This analogy applies in real life if you’re looking to get ahead. I’m sure you know at least one person who makes people stop and look when they walk into a room. You too can be that person if you develop the right mindset. The problem with most of us is that we spend almost all our lives trying to fit in yet we were born to stand out. You certainly do not want to drown in the masses when you have what it takes to stand out from the crowd.

However, standing out is not as easy as it may seem. You have to put in the work. Be it at your workplace or business, you must do things differently to set yourself apart. So, how can you be a stiletto in a room full of flats?

Play to your strengths

To stand out, you must know where your strengths lie so that you can use them to your advantage. Are you a good salesperson? Do you have impeccable public speaking skills? Can you write good content in a particular niche? List whatever you are good at and brainstorm how you can use them to get you ahead.

Believe in yourself

All outstanding people have one thing in common—confidence. They relentlessly believe in themselves even when the odds are against them. When you truly believe in yourself, you can create what you envision. The strength of your convictions can set you apart from the big crowd. Learn to communicate your passions in a manner that will inspire others to join you in accomplishing your dreams. Be aware of the obstacles in your way but do not be afraid of them.

Cultivate the right attitude

Attitudes can positively or negatively impact one’s ability to stand out. If you want to differentiate yourself from everyone else, be enthusiastic, engaging, passionate and positive. If you want to stand out at your workplace, always cultivate a professional attitude. Be pleasant. Be easy to work with.  Don’t be that colleague who’s always complaining about something or rude to fellow workers. No matter how bad things are, stay confident and upbeat. This way, you’ll certainly stand out.

Go against the flow

Trying to fit in is where most people get it wrong. Being afraid to have a different opinion is a sure way to stifle your voice and join the masses in doing ordinary stuff. If you have a different opinion from the rest, stand by it. Do not waiver. Dare to be unpopular if popularity means compromising what you stand for. Accept that we all can’t share the same sentiments all the time.

Great things can happen when you stand out from the crowd. If you’re looking for motivation and more tips on how to set yourself apart, be sure to grab a copy of Alison Vaughn’s book, “Ms. Goal Digger: Success is Sexy”.

Alison Vaughn is founder of Detroit-based Jackets for Jobs, Inc., a nonprofit that provides career skills training and clothing to job seekers. Jackets for Jobs, Inc is recognized by ABC’s The View, NBC’s Today Show and NASDAQ  as a worthy organization to support. Vaughn is a sought after public speaker and community advocate. She is a Comcast Newsmaker, Goldman Sachs Scholar and honored as Crain’s Notable women in Non-Profits. She’s also been featured in Entrepreneur & Fortune Magazine.

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