My wife and I recently took one of those trips you dream about for a lifetime… a cruise to Alaska. The entire trip was enjoyable and the sights were amazing. One of the towns we visited in Alaska is the small town of Skagway (or as some spell it, Skaguay). The town has about 900 permanent residents and is a grid of approximately 3 streets by 20 streets… a 15 minute walk anywhere in the town. There is no doubt the town would have disappeared completely if not for the cruise ship industry. I’ve heard it said that the most amazing politician in America is the mayor of Skagway who somehow is able to convince 4 – 6 cruise ships each holding 3000 passengers to stop in that town every summer day!
Skagway has an amazing history, amazing views in every direction, but really has little else to offer. Without the cruise ships, the town would have disappeared in the same way that many other Alaskan towns did after the gold rush of the late 1890’s. But, Skagway developed a means to “sell what it has.” The town offers shopping, gold rush memorabilia, gold rush history, and glorious views and tours in every direction. So, despite being such a small town, it offers interesting enough value that cruise participants enjoy visiting for part of a day during their Alaskan visit.
Skagway offers a great example to us, as individuals, as well. Perhaps, we don’t have the education that others have. Or, the lengthy credentials. Or, an advocate in senior management. But, we can “sell what we have” to enhance or advance our career. We all have something unique that can provide value to others. Some manage projects well. Others, drive continuous improvement. Still others can get things done that no one else can do. Some always volunteer for the job or project than no one else wants. But, you will find that every successful person has found that unique offering that brings value to the organization.
So, what is your unique capability, interest, or skill that makes you a valuable employee? What makes you special? If you do not know, honestly ask others to help you identify it. Solicit input from your supervisor or those you work with. Be open to honest feedback, then, once you find it, capitalize on it. Use that special uniqueness only you can offer in a way that makes you that person everyone wants on their team. Don’t just blend in and allow yourself to wither away. Find that “special sauce” and make it something everyone wants!
Thanks for all you do and have a spectacular day!