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How To Discover Your ‘WOW Factor’

How To Discover Your ‘WOW Factor’

Do you remember how your first crush made you feel? How butterflies appeared in your stomach every time you thought of him/her? How his/her presence seemed to take your breath away?

Your ‘WOW factor’ evokes that same magical feeling.

Your ‘WOW factor’ distinguishes you from the other 7.4+ billion human beings on planet Earth. Your ‘WOW factor’ makes you unique, special, and one-of-a-kind. Your WOW ‘factor’ commands attention and makes people stop and say: “WOW, that person (enter your ‘WOW factor’ here!)”

I have good and bad news for you. Since I always save the best for last, the bad news is that too many individuals don’t bother to discover what their ‘WOW factor’ is. The good news: every single one of us possess it.

You can either choose to ignore it even if it exists, OR you can choose to discover, craft and hone your special ability.

As opposed to conforming like others, wouldn’t you rather WOW people you meet? Wouldn’t you rather figure out what makes you special, then capitalize on it? Wouldn’t you rather turn your desires and dreams into your reality?

That’s the effect your ‘WOW factor’ can have for you.

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It took me a lot of failure, disappointment, discomfort, resiliency, love, understanding, experimentation, and change to help me discover my ‘WOW factor’. Since Lifehack.org is the premiere destination for life hacks, I figured this site is the perfect location to share my wisdom and have this article call home.

To be honest with you, it’s going to take a lot of thinking, analyzing, and gut-checking to uncover your extraordinary gift. But once you’ve uncovered your special talent, your life will become more purposeful and fulfilling!

It All Begins With Self-Awareness

 

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
– Aristotle

Self-awareness is the concept in which we, as humans, become more aware and conscious of our thoughts, needs, desires, habits, strengths, weaknesses, emotions, motivations, and everything in between.

Essentially, self-awareness is a complete and honest understanding of yourself.

To gain a complete and honest understand of yourself, you must be willing to objectively examine and acknowledge literally everything about yourself – both good and bad. Introspection, self-discovery, and meditation are useful practices to help you discover you.

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Unfortunately, some may not be able to assess themselves in such a manner. Sometimes ego gets in the way. Sometimes perceptions may be skewed or bias.

Whatever the case may be, if you cannot properly evaluate yourself, discovering your ‘WOW factor’ will not be possible.

Be candid with yourself. Be completely and brutally honest. Most importantly, identify your strengths and qualities that distinguish you from the rest of your peers.

Once you have a strong grasp on who you are, ask for feedback and opinions from those whom you trust, respect, and know are willing to give you the truth – no matter how harsh it may be.

As soon as you have mastered yourself and identified what makes you distinguishable, taking the next steps to discovering what your ‘WOW factor’ will be a breeze.

As a matter of fact, mastery of self-awareness will make literally everything you do easier.

Time To Dig For Some Passion

 

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“Without passion, you don’t have energy; without energy, you don’t have nothing. Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.”
– Donald Trump

According to merriam-webster dictionary, passion is your strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.

Since we’re already tackled the self-awareness part, let’s figure out what your passion is.

You can literally be passionate about anything. There is no right or wrong answer. Think about what you love doing. Think about what touches your heart.

It doesn’t have to earn you money, you don’t have to spend eight hours a day doing it, it doesn’t even have to fit in your busy schedule! The only requirement for your passion is that you have to truly care about it.

Regardless of whatever it may be, clearly define what it is.

When you are truly passionate about something, time becomes an illusion. No matter what your circumstances may be, your passions will eventually emerge. Your passion will help you navigate through this journey we call life.

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Passion lights the fire under our heinies.

Finding The WOW Balance

 

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep balance, you must keep moving.”
– Albert Einstein

Now that you have sufficiently identified your distinguishable qualities and passions, the next step is to find that sweet spot where your distinguishability meets gratifying your passion. This delicate balance is also known as your ‘WOW factor.’

It’s a fact that things change and people change. When the inevitable occurs, all that is required to discover your new ‘WOW factor’ is the striking of a new balance between your new strengths, new distinguishable attributes and your new passion.

Maintaining your ‘WOW factor’ is as fun and easy as being authentic and true to yourself.

Since the ‘WOW factor’ is so readily available and accessible to anyone, let’s all do humanity a big favor. Let’s continuously WOW one another.

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Published on July 29, 2020

How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

Have you been thinking of how you can be a more strategic leader during these uncertain times? Has the pandemic thrown a wrench at all your carefully laid out plans and initiatives?

You’re not alone. The truth is, we all want some stability in our careers and teams during this disruptive pandemic.

However, this now requires a bit more effort than before and making the leap from merely surviving to thriving means buckling down to some serious strategic thinking and maintaining a determined mindset.

Is There a Way to Thrive Despite These Disruptions?

Essentially – yes, although you need to be willing to put in the work. Every leader wants to develop strategic thinking skills so that they can enhance overall team performance and boost their company’s success, but what exactly does it mean to be strategic in the context of the times we live in?

If you happen to be in a leadership position in your organization right now, you are most probably navigating precarious waters given the disruptions caused by the pandemic. There’s a lot more pressure than before because your actions and decisions will have a much greater impact these days not just on you, but also to the people who are part of your team.

Companies often bring me in to coach executives on strategic thinking and planning. And while pre-pandemic I would usually start by highlighting the advantages of strategic thinking, nowadays, I always begin these Zoom coaching sessions by driving home the point that this pandemic has now made strategic thinking not just an option but an absolute must.

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Assessing and making plans through the lens of a good strategy might require significant work at first. Nevertheless, you can take comfort in the fact that the rewards will far outweigh the effort, as you’ll soon see after following the 8 strategic steps I have outlined below.

8 Steps to Strategic Thinking

As events unfold during these strange times, you’re bound to feel wrong-footed every now and then. Being a leader during this pandemic means preparing for more change not just for you, but for your whole team as well.

As states and cities go through a cycle of lockdowns and reopening, employees will experience the full gamut of human emotions in dizzying speed, and you will often be called on to provide insight and stability to your team and workplace.

Strategic thinking is all about anticipation and preparation. Rather than expending your energy merely helping your company put out fires and survive, you can put the time to better use by charting out a solid plan that can protect and help you and your company thrive.

Take the following steps to build solid initiatives and roll out successful projects:

Step 1: Step Back, Then Set the Scope

One of the things that leaders get wrong during their first attempt at strategic thinking is expecting that it is just another item on a checklist. The truth is, you need to take a good, long look at the bigger picture before anything else. This means decisively prioritizing and stepping away from tasks that can be delegated to others. Free up your schedule so you can focus on this crucial task at hand.

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Then, proceed with setting the scope and the strategic goals of the project or initiative you plan to build or execute. Ask yourself the bigger question of why you need to embark on a particular project and when would be the right time to do so.

You need to set a timeline as well, anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. Keep in mind that your projections will deteriorate the further out you go as you make longer-term plans.

For this reason, add extra resources, flexibility, and resilience if you have a longer timeline. You should also be making the goals less specific if you’re charting it out for the longer term.

Step 2: Make a List of Experts

Make and keep a list of credible people who can contribute solid insight and feedback to your initiative. This could range from key stakeholders to industry experts, mentors, and even colleagues who previously planned and rolled out similar projects.

Reach out to the people on this list regularly while you work through the steps to bring diverse insight into your planning process. This way, you will be able to approach any problem from every angle.

Bringing key stakeholders into this initial process will also display your willingness to listen and empathize with their issues. In return, this will build trust and potentially pave the way for smoother buy-in down the line.

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Step 3: Anticipate the Future

After identifying your goals and gathering feedback, it’s time to consider what the future would look like if everything goes as you intuitively anticipate. Then, lay out the kind and amount of resources (money, time, social capital) that might be needed to keep this anticipated future running.

Step 4: Brainstorm on Potential Internal and External Problems

Next, think of how the future would look if you encountered unexpected problems internal and external to the business activity that seriously jeopardize your expected vision of the future. Write out what kind of potential problems you might encounter, including low-probability ones.

Assess the likelihood that you will run into each problem. To gauge, multiply the likelihood by the number of resources needed to address the problem. Try to convert the resources into money if possible so that you can have a single unit of measurement.

Then, think of what steps you can take to address these internal and external problems before they even happen. Write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Lastly, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different possible problems and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

Step 5: Identify Potential Opportunities, Internal and External

Imagine how your expected plan would look if unexpected opportunities came up. Most of these will be external but consider internal ones as well. Then, gauge the likelihood of each scenario and the number of resources you would need to take advantage of each opportunity. Convert the resources into money if possible.

Then, think of what steps you can take in advance to take advantage of unexpected opportunities and write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Finally, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different unexpected opportunities and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

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Step 6: Check for Cognitive Biases

Check for potential cognitive biases that are relevant to you personally or to the organization as a whole, and adjust the resources and plans to address such errors.[1] Make sure to at least check for loss aversion, status quo bias, confirmation bias, attentional bias, overconfidence, optimism bias, pessimism bias, and halo and horns effects.

Step 7: Account for Unknown Unknowns (Black Swans)

To have a more effective strategy, account for black swans as well. These are unknown unknowns -unpredictable events that have potentially severe consequences.

To account for these black swans, add 40 percent to the resources you anticipate. Also, consider ways to make your plans more flexible and secure than you intuitively feel is needed.

Step 8: Communicate and Take the Next Steps

Communicate the plan to your stakeholders, and give them a heads up about the additional resources needed. Then, take the next steps to address the unanticipated problems and take advantage of the opportunities you identified by improving your plans, as well as allocating and reserving resources.

Finally, take note that there will be cases when you’ll need to go back and forth these steps to make improvements, (a fix here, an improvement there) so be comfortable with revisiting your strategy and reaching out to your list of experts.

Conclusion

A great way to deal with feelings of uncertainty during this pandemic is to anticipate obstacles with a good plan – and a sure road to that is practicing strategic thinking.

In the coming months and years, you’ll need to continue navigating uncharted territory so that you can lead your team to safe waters. Regularly doing these 8 steps to strategic thinking will ensure that you can prepare for and adapt  to the coming changes with increasing clarity, perspective, and efficiency.[2]

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Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

Reference

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