There are people who can accelerate your career. Some are obvious and traditional like mentors. Others are neither obvious or traditional.
These non-obvious people tend to be the people in your work life who march to a different drummer. Sometimes quirky or just a little different, these folks distinguish themselves via insight or work ethic or activity. You may enjoy their company and appreciate interacting with them without fully appreciating how valuable these folks can be to your career.
These “different drummer” folks, including nut jobs, hustlers, self-promoters and geniuses, may not be your “go to” people in your work life. But if you want to rise as a star, you need a diverse network of “go to” people around you, and these folks can be especially valuable.
Success is facilitated by a network of friends and associates that provide with unique insights and timely support. If you have people in your network that see things others don’t, you will be enabled to jump a step ahead ( or stay there). You may not naturally gravitate to reliance with these types of folks, but strong relationships with them will serve you well. You will need to create ties to them, but first, you need to recognise them. Here are four unusual friends:
1. The Nut Jobs
OK, nut jobs may be a bit harsh as a descriptor. On the other hand, it will frequently be quite an accurate name for those people who have an uncanny knack for identifying emerging trends. These people spot the trends even before the early-adopters. (Think “pre-hipster”). They see things before they are big. And that can make most of them a little crazy to deal with as they impatiently wait for the world to catch up to their worldview. Many people claim to have this visionary insight and but most people don’t have it. If you can find someone who is the real deal, make sure you build whatever working relationship is possible with them. Of course, you won’t act on every one of their insights, but you will be informed and you will benefit from their point of view.
2. The Hustlers
Hustlers work relentlessly harder than their peers. They tend to get promoted. Shock of all shocks, people who work harder tend to promoted above all others. If you want to be promoted consistently, you are going to work pretty hard too. Hustlers are easy to identify – literally, because they will be the ones starting early and staying late; and figuratively, because their contributions (and hopefully yours) are the ones that stand out.
Hustlers talk to more people.They do more. They hear more and know more than almost anyone in the environment. They are usually adept at predicting what initiatives will fly and which will fail, whose stock is on the rise and the changing of management focus.
3. The Self-Promoters
Look, you may or may not be adept at self promotion. Either way, you need to identify and cultivate relationships with the great self promoters in your sphere of influence. Self-Promoters are an accurate barometer of the current view of success; and they provide the conventional view of any situation. The self promoter has a valuable skill set and needs a message that sells; while you may need those skills and have a message that needs to be sold.
While you can argue that self promoters are attempting to influence and direct the real time perspective of success and thus their value as a barometer is undermined, it is unrealistic to ignore their innate sensitivity to promoting things that people accept. Get to know a self-promoter and you will get to know the conventional wisdom in your arena.
4. The Geniuses
No matter how bright you are, you will encounter people who are a great deal more intelligent than you. You need to build a cadre of exceptionally smart people who can help you tackle your vexing dilemmas. The true geniuses that you encounter are unlikely to identify themselves. Most people aren’t observant enough to notice their light, or aren’t engaged enough to care….and geniuses know that. You need to spot them. You need to engage them. And you need to assess the types of problems that each is good at solving. Geniuses will make you smarter. And they are generally happy to have their intellect recognised by anyone.
Befriend, align yourself and otherwise connect with Nut jobs, Hustlers, Self-promoters and Geniuses to fuel and support your career. They each offer a value far greater than the time invested in the relationship. And you may find yourself with unexpected friends.
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