It’s a big world out there, and some way – somehow – you’ve got to make yourself stand out.
The architecture profession is a very competitive field, and this is something I discovered almost immediately upon entering school. My biggest fear for joining the “real world” workforce after school was that I would become just another number; another cog in the proverbial wheel. As the time passed and I started to get some more professional experience under my belt, I came to realize that there were very simple things I could begin to do in order to not only maximize my experiences but also (with any hope) demonstrate my value as an employee and as a collaborative team member.
I am almost certain that there are some who would disagree with my opinions on this, but I believe that differentiating yourself boils down to three distinct points:
01 Take risks and step outside of your comfort zone
Ever heard the expression “where there is little risk, there is little reward”? I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment. New discoveries are not made by doing things the way others have always done them; it can be a pretty uncomfortable place outside of your comfort zone, but therein lies the greatest opportunity for growth.
02 Work smarter, not harder
There is tremendous value in putting in a hard day’s work, and oftentimes this is something that will be recognized by colleagues or peers. However, I am a firm believer that innovation and “crafty” problem solving will get you much farther in life. Rather than tackling a task head-on with all you’ve got, first take a step back, strategize, then tackle the task at hand with all you’ve got.
03 Play to your own strengths
Everyone has something they excel at, and very rarely do I interact with someone who is a master at everything they do. Understanding (and accepting) what your strengths are sometimes takes a bit of self-discovery, and self-discovery itself can take a bit of time, but I truly believe that playing to your own strengths – whatever they may be – is the key to finding success and setting yourself apart from others.
And with that, I’ll step down from my soapbox.