If you walked into a room full of men with suits with no ties, the suit colors would be different but they would all just be men in suits. Now imagine the same room with the same men, but one or two of them with a colorful pocket square. Who would stand out? You have to be one of the men with the colorful pocket square. That pocket square is your differentiator.
For the context of differentiation, that pocket square represents your exposure to various work assignments, the experience you have gained from them, the skills you developed, the relationships you have built, and the credibility
you are building.
So, when standing in a room full of your peers, you want to be like the men with the colorful pocket square; you want to stand out. You want to differentiate yourself from the pack. The only way to do that is by doing what your peers are not doing and/or are too afraid to do. While they are comfortable in their current roles, you should be looking to be challenged. When a crisis occurs, and everyone steps back because they are afraid all eyes are on them, you should step forward and lead. You differentiate yourself by daring to be different. You cannot be different if you haven’t been challenged.
Offer to help with projects that no one else wants to touch. File the paperwork, lend a hand in getting data input or volunteer to make phone calls. Anytime you take on a new role or project, sitting within each one is an opportunity to grow, which will serve as an investment in your career.
The above text is an excerpt from my book: The Advantage Factor: 12 Lessons Every Aspiring Young Professional Should Know