The extent of your career growth is often connected to your conduct, the way people perceive you in the corporate environment. To have a fast career growth, employers expect you to have a professional conduct. They want to have a perception of you as someone they can rely on to handle tasks and other projects as a professional. I have come to know that becoming a professional in whatever one does takes a conscious and deliberate effort. Professionalism is the touch we give to what we do that makes it different from the ordinary service we see every day. In everything you do, there is a professional side to it and there is also an ordinary side to it.

In fact, the dictionary defines professionalism as the expertness characteristic of a professional person. What that means is that there can be a ‘professional conduct, professional ethics, and a thoroughly professional performance’. And this cannot be achieved by repeating the same thing you do every day without seeking for new ways for improvement.

The term characteristic used in the definition, simply means a distinguishing quality that sets you apart in what you do. To get these distinguishing qualities you have to develop it. So, developing the necessary qualities in the field where you work becomes very important and essential, if you want to stand out as a professional.
Whether you are an engineer, a doctor, a lawyer or an accountant, regardless of your profession, you can develop distinguishing qualities that will set you apart from others; these qualities will make you stand out from the crowd.

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These qualities are also developed in the path of consistency over time. Consistency will aid appropriate restructuring and alignment with the necessary skills required in what you do. You do not have to be upset with yourself when you fail to meet the expectation(s) of your boss.

What you have to do is to improve your next project or task. Your initial failure can reshape, forge and align you to acquire the necessary qualities required to make you stand out in your next project.

Another aspect of standing out as a professional is how you see yourself. It is important that you look at yourself through the right channel. If you look at yourself through the wrong channel, you will see yourself with a wrong perspective; probably you will see an image which doesn’t fully represent who you are.

Having the right mindset is also very important, it is a mindset that attempts all things with the ‘I can do all things’ attitude because without that, failure is almost guaranteed before you start any project or task.

For instance, an airline had a problem with the conveyor belt of one of its planes and needed to fix it immediately in order not to be at a disadvantage to competitors. They tried everything they could but did not succeed. Not flying that day meant that their competitors will out-run them and be in charge of that sector. So, something had to be done before the end of that day. One of them suggested that they should call expatriates from Canada to come and repair the conveyor belt of the plane but that would cost them a full day because they had to send a jet to Canada to bring the expatriates who would repair the conveyor belt.

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While they were busy brainstorming on what to do, one of them suggested that there was a Chinese Engineer down the road who knew about conveyor belts and should be invited.

The Manager in charge agreed and said, ‘While we wait for the expatriates to arrive; it will cost us nothing to invite the Chinese Engineer to try it out’.

They finally invited the Chinese Engineer, he came with his tool and went straight to the conveyor, opened the cabinet where there were so many nuts and bolts, he tightened one of the nut that was loosed, while he was busy tightening the nut, the conveyor belt started working.
So, the Manager asked the Engineer, ‘How much do we pay you for this job?’

He answered the Manager and he said, ‘$10,000 dollars’.

The Manager screamed, ‘Why should we pay you, $10,000 dollars for just tightening a nut?’

The Engineer looked at the Manager and wrote on a sheet of paper, ‘It cost $1 dollar to tighten the nut, but it cost $9,999 dollars to know the nut to tighten.

The Manager was amazed at the answer and he agreed to pay him what he charged.

Can we say the engineer exhibited a professional conduct? Yes of course and what that tells us is that the engineer knows his worth, sees himself as a professional and has the required knowledge of his trade.

Knowing this, why then do you need to be a professional in what you do? It sets you apart and makes you to be the most preferred brand in competition, it sets a clear distinction in whatever service or product you are offering and makes your customers or clients to be loyal to you.
Simple steps that can help you stand out as a professional include:

  1. Take a conscious and deliberate measure about it
  2. Seek to improve yourself in what you do by reading books and seeking for knowledge wherever you can get it
  3. Nurture the knowledge you have acquired by acting on it
  4. Try out new ideas and methods of carrying out the same task you do every day.
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This is what every professional should seek because that is the only way you can make a difference in your profession and also impact your world, leaving it better than the way you met it.