A couple days ago, I had an appointment scheduled at a local coffee shop. As I walked up to order my tea, a young woman greeted me with a huge smile on her face. She motioned to me to come over to where she was busy ringing up customers. I commented to her about the new renovation that had just been completed in the coffee shop. She excitedly waved her hands around the room and shared how much she loved the way it looked. When I inquired about the different drinks, she patiently explained each one and went to great pains to ensure that I would order something that I would enjoy. We continued to talk for the next few minutes as I finished up my order.
I walked away from the counter with a big smile on my face.
I watched her for a while after I sat down. I was curious if that interaction was just an outlier or this was her normal workplace behavior. I realized that she truly was that incredible with every person she encountered. She made each person that walked up to the counter feel like they were the most important person that she had come across that day.
I know for a fact that young woman working in the coffee shop is not a manager. She is just a regular old customer service worker that I doubt makes more than 10 dollars an hour. I am pretty certain that she would have given me that exceptional service no matter what she was paid. She took great pride in her work and was committed to giving her best to everyone that she encountered.
In the book, Linchpin, Seth Godin says that “the world no longer compensates people who are cogs in a giant machine.” In the past, industry desperately needed employees that could learn the rules and processes and not think outside the box. Today’s world needs Linchpins. Godin says that “linchpins are the essential building blocks of tomorrow’s high value organizations.”
You know those people that really stand out? They’re the ones that go the extra mile and see beyond their job description They’re creative, energetic and do more than just follow the rules. They bring their strengths and talents to their job every day. They are willing to see possibilities and take scary risks. Yes, they are willing to deviate from the regimented rules and risk failure.
Now, maybe you’re thinking that, you, too, could be a Linchpin in the right job. You’re just stuck right now in a position that doesn’t let you be “you”. Well, you could be half right.
But let’s go back to my friend in the coffee shop. I have a feeling that working for 10 dollars an hour is not her long-term goal for a career. There’s a lot about her present position that is monotonous, stressful and mundane. However, she has found a way to bring her best self to her job every single day.
She stands out.
The question for you is, what do you aspire to be? It’s possible that you are in a position right now that stinks and you’re bored, frustrated or even miserable. However, you have a choice. You can make it a point to be a linchpin. You can be that very different person that daily brings your strengths and talents to your work. You can stand out.