With the passing of the rock icon Prince this past week, we reflect on the talent, the virtuosity and the unique way he chose to express himself. Being a genius at music didn’t stop him from reaching out to others and enhancing their success by encouraging them, for example Sheila E, or writing music for them as in the case of The Bangles or collaborating with them on albums as with Madonna and in concert as he did with Beyoncé and others. In everything Prince did, he stayed true to his core flamboyant approach doing his utmost for the music and his fans. Whether fighting Warner Brothers to gain ownership of his work, remaining in his hometown of Minneapolis or secretly donating to humanitarian causes, Prince created a world around himself taking full control of his gifts and sharing them generously.
What can we take away from the legacy of a rock star who didn’t quite fit the mold? Doing things your way and not following preconceived notions are what stand out. If you have talent, you need to express it in a way that reflects your inner voice. You have to take control of your genius.
This might mean your approach to your work is different from what others expect of you. If you have a vision of how you want to set about your career, you must explore that while utilizing all the tried and true techniques. Take the example of Andrew, an engineer with international experience on many varied projects. His resume is much too long, but it does contain a wealth of expertise. How does he condense his format while conveying his diverse experience? Not easy, he may have to sacrifice some details while ensuring that the unique qualities of his background are not lost.
How many people are not typical, meaning their backgrounds are not representative of what you might find in their field? It’s alright to be different, in fact it can be compelling, but you need to find a way to make sure your audience understands how your talents might fit into their environment. It’s important to connect on a basic level through building personal rapport or having the kind of resume and credentials that can be readily comprehended by any recruiter or hiring manager. Actively participating in groups and writing blogs can go a long way to display your special talents.
Diana worked in marketing luxury brands for a number of years. Although her degree was in psychology, she had strong quantitative skills which gave her an added dimension. When she lost her job, she took a contract assignment in healthcare. Much as she did a good job, Diana knew healthcare was not for her. Through networking she was able to find position in travel marketing where she’s more comfortable. It may not be the perfect match, but Diana has a vision of how she will leverage her mixed competencies and the environment where she will share them. She won’t compromise and continues to seek out that ideal role. The lesson we learn from Prince is clear: don’t allow your personal brand to be defined by others. Take ownership of your gifts and use them in a way that conforms to your vision.