Professional Behaviors that Set You Apart


There are a few classic professional behaviors that great leaders display. Honesty. Integrity. Communication. Leadership. However, there are more professional behaviors that few are aware of that will set you apart from the pack.

In the Inc. article 30 Behaviors That Will Make You Unstoppable, the author, Benjamin P. Hardy,  shares some hard core examples of what will set you apart and help lead you to the ultimate success you desire. Many are to be expected:

  • Be continually learning
  • Own your mistakes
  • Have clear goals
  • Don’t be afraid of failure

But there were a few on the list that made me stop and think. Here is the first one:

Don’t compete with others. Make them compete with you.

Most people are competing with other people. They continuously check in to see what others in their space (their “competition”) are doing. As a result, they mimic and copy what’s “working.”

Conversely, you’ve left all competition behind. Competing with others makes absolutely zero sense to you. It pulls you from your authentic zone. So you zone out all the external noise and instead zone in to your internal pressure to produce.

I had never considered this view on competition. When we seek out someone we admire or a competitor that seems to be gaining momentum, it is natural to want to be like them, to want to emulate their success and to follow in their footsteps. But what this does is always put you behind the times just a little bit. Rather than being the one blazing the trail, you are comfortably fitting your heels into the footprints of someone else’s great risk.

Why not turn that thought on its head and be the one that is taking the first steps. Being the one others point to and want to emulate?

The second professional behavior that made me stop and think is this one:

Always work on your mental strength.

“Mental resilience is arguably the most critical trait of a world-class performer, and it should be nurtured continuously. Left to my own devices, I am always looking for ways to become more and more psychologically impregnable. When uncomfortable, my instinct is not to avoid the discomfort but to become at peace with it. My instinct is always to seek out challenges as opposed to avoiding them.” – Josh Waitzkin

The better you can be under pressure, the further you’ll go than anyone else. Because they’ll crumble under pressure.

The best training you will ever do is mental training. Wherever your mind goes, your body follows. Wherever your thoughts go, your life follows.

Often we allow the negative voices in our head or the fact that our successes have been overlooked or diminished by those in a position of power within the company to alter our mindset. We must work on our ability to be focused on the positive even when under enormous stress.

Remember your past successes. Be confident in your future achievements. Just the other day I was speaking with a professional who was sharing a story of their success and then quickly stopped to say “I don’t mean to be bragging.” My response? If you don’t do it, who will.

One of the professional behaviors that Hardy mentions that I don’t agree with is to let your work speak for itself rather than bringing your success to the attention of others. I agree that you don’t want to be boastful or egotistical, but for women in business, this particular behavior needs to be altered just a bit. There are times when we need to be able to share concrete examples of our success so that we can be considered for future projects.

Hardy does go on to explain the difference between “deep” work and “shallow” work, which is an important distinction:

Deep work is:

  • Rare
  • High value
  • And non-replicable (i.e., not easy to copy/outsource)

Shallow work is:

  • Common
  • Low value
  • Replicable (i.e., anyone can do it)

He is right – we need to focus on producing work that is of high value and not easy to outsource. That is where our creativity and unique perspectives come into play. This is what sets us apart from the competition – makes them sit up and take notice and ultimately long to be us!

I invite you to read the entire article: 30 Behaviors That Will Make You Unstoppable.  If you were to add behaviors to the list – what would they be?

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JJ DiGeronimo

JJ DiGeronimo

Speaker, Author & Thought Leader for Women in Tech & Girls in STEM.

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