Being indispensable is a good threshold test for measuring the success of your personal brand. Being indispensable – the right person to answer the question or otherwise direct the action – means you are the ONE, the ONE we count on to get it right or make us right or otherwise make the right thing happen.
It is a wonderful and terrible thing to be indispensable. It gives you job security, client control, superior relationships with the most important people – and those people will take your call (or return your email).
Close to invincible
For the feelers in our group: indispensable feels close to feeling invincible. It’s a very good feeling. You know you’re overdoing it when you feel like the world can’t rotate without you, which will never be true. Keep in mind that once in a while even Batman must look at the Gotham sky with the beaming klieg lights summoning him and think, why don’t they call Iron Man today? So, make sure you have a DND button or sign or a way to signal that even superheroes need a nap.
That should be your worst problem – too many things to do with all your talent, know-how and good judgment. So, let’s figure out how your personal brand can feel like we all can’t do without you.
Best above all the rest
You don’t become indispensable if you cannot carve out what it is you do – or how it is you view the world – or what subject area you are deeply committed to being an expert in. So make a list of things you do well – or want to do. Pick the one that’s most often the thing you do best or can learn to do it at a level above the rest of us.
Then, you’ve got to communicate that “thing” and the way you deal with that “thing,” clearly, crisply, compellingly and relentlessly. Or, have other people evangelizing for your personal brand.
What does indispensable equate to in business?
In business, being seen as indispensible looks like this: You get referrals, recommendations, testimonials and offers without much effort on your part. You do have to answer your phone, return the email or open the door when opportunity presents itself. But overall being seen as indispensible lowers the overall effort you need for your personal brand promotion, and lets you turbo-charge your mastery over your subject or thought leadership.
Striving to be the one and only expert among your circle (or your circle’s circle) stops the roller coaster ride of feast and famine in new business development and juicy projects coming your way.
Not that the thrilling highs and stomach dropping lows aren’t unendurable. It’s just that after awhile, knowing you are going to get exactly what you want because you are who you are, makes it easier to have time to go to theme parks with real roller coasters – or do anything you really want to do. Even if the thing you want to do is build your empire by doing more, bigger and highly visible work.
If right now, you have more talent than you do recognition for it: let’s work on the fundamentals.
Indispensability’s step one: Give great advice.
Every octosecond on LinkedIn, someone wants to know something. And, in your on-ground life, you’re in casual conversations, much less meetings or presentations, where someone is talking about something that at least brushes up against your expertise, even if they don’t know it.
Take people seriously, and give considered, respectful and forwarding thinking advice. Great advice is never a yes or no. It’s your reflection on the question – which you might understand as only the tip of the iceberg.
For example, make sure to indicate what might be at stake that’s larger than let’s say: should our new logo be red or purple? If you are an identity specialist, you’ll weigh in with the symbolic meaning of color and the fact that while needing to be on trend today, the logo has to have a long life because great brands live long and prosper.
Okay, now you. Consider what you know, who needs to know that, and the best way of sharing your deeper than we knew knowledge.
Because we all need great advice, and you could become our indispensable resource.