Now come to think about it, why should your boss like you when you give him just what every other person in the office can offer? Why should your agitation for career step-up be approved when there no grain of difference between you and others in your workplace?

The reality is that career growth is all about professional differentiation. This means you stepping out of the queue, differentiating yourself from the ordinary. No one is honestly going to admire you if you have precisely the same characteristics as them – if you have nothing more to offer than they do. If they admire you in such a context, it is artificial – it is sycophancy.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that being “nice” and “okay” takes you through your career (in terms of career growth) at bicycle speed while being “strange” and “unique” takes you through at jet speed. Understandably, you can’t drive through a crowded road at full speed. This is why you need to come out on your personal lane and drive up your career at breakneck speed. This is what personal branding is more about.

You have to establish a characteristic novelty as emblazoned in your personal brand. According to Michael Brown (author of the Fresh Passion: Get a Brand or Die Generic) personal brands that work best in typifying the individual are those which pour in fresh solutions. You must be able to drive uncommon results even in the most unsupportive circumstances. You must have that knack for “delicious weirdness” and an urge for adventuring beyond the perimeters of the normal – for doing the extraordinary! This is the only way to beat the abundance of genericness loitering around. This Michael Brown emphatically explained in his Fresh Passion book.

To make it more practical, you can learn from a story sourced from the book Fresh Passion: Get a Brand or Die Generic. It is about Michael Brown himself. By the age of 15 when other kids were bubbling away in the exuberance customary to the teenage phase of life, Michael was already in the act of creating a personal brand – giving uncommon value to customers.  He was already peddling sweets and candy and strategically grew my fragile business from one of $40 a day to about $300 – $400 a day. This was by delivering exponential results to his customers – even more than they could get from the concession stand.

Now after synthesizing your personal brand, you still have to sell it. This is the phase of self-promotion. As Michael Brown put in his book Fresh Passion – Get a brand or Die Generic, “self-promotion is an art, not a science”. Here you have got to craft the interpersonal skills of evangelizing your brand and winning “souls” for your brand in terms of admirers. More especially these admirers best serve your upward growth if they are your superiors. According to Michael Brown, it is not really the best shinning your light from a “static candlestick”. Rather be mobile, move around and let the people that matter see your value. This is about building a nourishing network and selling your exponential value around.

Watch it here, this doesn’t say you should be an over-aggressive salesperson. Make contacts intelligently, expand your reach and your professional territories. As Michael put it in his book, nobody will hire you if they don’t know you in the first place. In most cases, you have to meet them. This is kind of nomadic self-marketing. But most especially, you must proffer fresh solutions – show them what you have got, that they have not got on their team. If you can successfully pitch your uncommonness to them such that such uniqueness possesses high economic value, you are hired!