Becoming Iconic - Are you noticeably above and beyond? 


The scale of your thinking will determine the scale of your career. It cannot be otherwise. Small dreams will never lead, by accident, to ground-breaking careers. 

That said, take a second to think about the über names in your game; the parameter-redefining, industry-owning, top-of-the-food-chain, big dogs. Who are they?

If a smug voice in the back of your head responded, ‘My peers’, then perfect. Carry on.

If not; then let’s explore an important question: Why not? What’s keeping you from those stratospheric levels of success enjoyed by the legends? While ‘time in the game’ may seem like the most obvious factor, it certainly isn’t the case for everyone. Permit enough time to go by, and most middle-level players simply continue to be middle-level players. Within just a few short years, however, some apparent novices way outstrip their contemporaries. 

So perhaps there’s more to it than just the natural passage of days.


It begins with desire 

Owning an industry is a decision of will. It begins with the choice to no longer accept median positioning, and its machinery kicks into gear only once you’ve developed a burning desire to become significant. In short, no one will ever force you to do the work or, think out the strategy necessary, to be a large-scale success. You have to want to.

So, let’s assume that you have the desire, but that it’s mixed in equal parts with doubt. 

That’s perfectly natural. But the doubt does need to be addressed.

There are three things you can do to expand the parameters of your thinking:


1. Start by convincing yourself 

What are the highest-earning practitioners in your industry earning? …Be it per assignment, per product, per event or per annum? Find out what the figure looks like. Write it down on a piece of paper.

Now ask yourself: ‘What would it take for me to believe that I’m worth that much?’ Answer the question in bullet-point format, listing as many things as you can think of; be it qualities or qualifications; that would make you feel that you are among those lofty elite, entitled to that level of remuneration. 

The resultant list represents the work you need to do, the necessary investment in yourself. It is a bullet-point roadmap of the gap between where you are now, and where you hope to be. 


2. Strive to be ‘noticeably above and beyond’

In the early stages of your career, imitating the best constitutes a useful learning curve. Beyond a certain point, however, imitation becomes counter-productive. Strive to emulate the best, and the best you can hope for is to become a pail comparison of. Beyond a certain point, true industry leaders start thinking about how they can be noticeably better.

You require this scale of thinking to get to those hallowed echelons. The best in the game did not get there by trying to be ‘like’ the best before them. They operated out of a desire to be even better.

Are you thinking of ideas that would get the reaction, ‘Oh, wow!’ from your target market, rather than just, ‘Yes, that’s what we would expect’? If I look at your competitors, your industry, your world, would I single you out as ‘noticeably above and beyond’?


3. Think of yourself as a leader

I believe very deeply in education. I believe that most of the propellant that will take you to the top consists of learning. However, beyond a certain point, you need to start teaching too. You need to reach the point within yourself where you recognise that you have more knowledge than most, have discovered more pioneering ways, have more insights and epiphanies under your belt, and can begin to lead.

You need to flip that switch in your mind, nominate yourself, and become a voice.

The barrier-to-entry for thought-leadership exists only within your own mind. No one ever gives you permission to lead. No one flips that switch for you. Courage is thus a big part of the total mental arsenal of the industry expert. 

The scale of your thinking is everything. With the combination of courage and knowledge, you can own your industry. If the desire is there, and you can think big enough to be a viable candidate for the top spot, you have correctly aimed your trajectory.

In all things, be guided by the phrase ‘Noticeably above and beyond.’ See you at the top!



Douglas Kruger is a professional speaker and author who encourages people to think. He speaks on Expert Positioning and the misunderstood link between work and wealth. His new book on business innovation will be published soon. See Douglas in action or read more of his articles at Email him at Follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter: @douglaskruger.


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