Step Out To Stand Out

2 min read

Person standing on ledge in mountains

At work, I started to turn my camera on at big company calls ๐Ÿ“ท (as in 100+ or all-company gatherings).

It was quite intimidating to do, as most of the people with their cameras on were either managers, super senior engineers, or the main speakers for the call. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

The reason I started to do it was because I listened to a podcast that mentioned a perspective to take in order to achieve success. ๐Ÿ‘€

The statement was:

โ€œTo achieve what nobody has, you must do what nobody else does.โ€

(Side note: I was curious about where this quote came from and looked it up. I couldnโ€™t find a quote, but found this medium article that covers it well - 10/10 would recommend)

When I reflected on that quote at work, I started to notice things people wouldnโ€™t do (including me). Things like:

  • Not willing to turn on the zoom video in group calls.

  • Not willing to speak up and share personal stories to connect with coworkers.

  • Not willing to ask for help when a problem arises, and instead, trying to solve issues oneself.

As I looked at these different obstacles, I noticed the fears related to each one:

What if I turn on my video and people see something wrong with me?

  • What if I speak up and people reject me?

  • What if I ask for help and look stupid?

  • What was revealed were many insecurities - a sense of not belonging, rejection, and incompetence. ๐Ÿ˜ซ

But as I dug deeper, I started to see opportunities amidst fears:

  • Turning on video allowed people to connect faces to names.

  • Sharing about personal life allowed for deeper conversation & connection.

  • Asking for help guaranteed a quicker solution - 15 seconds rather than 15 hours.

And with any opportunity, there is potential to grow. ๐Ÿง

Gaining confidence, building up courage, and learning to lead amidst discomfort.

โ€œTo achieve what nobody hasโ€ requires being willing to step out of our comfort zone and stand out.

To trade safety for risk.

To embrace being different.

The benefits long term vastly outweigh the losses short term.

And so, I wanted to go in that direction of being set apart.

Rather than making big leaps, Iโ€™m taking it small - little things like turning on my video in zoom calls, saying a greeting when people join so they feel welcomed, or sharing about my all-nighter moving experience in happy hours. ๐Ÿšš

I do it because I want to steward well the little I have, in preparation for much that may be brought in the future. Whether itโ€™s for my future family, for others I care for, or myself.

By stepping up and standing out, my hope is that by doing what no one does, I can achieve what no one has achieved, beyond what I can imagine, for those in my life.