What makes you great?

By Mark A. Leon

On my flight back from San Francisco, Still Alice was on the screen two rows ahead of me. I did not have headphones, so I could not hear the dialogue, but my knowledge of the film and the unspoken interpretations of the scenes spoke volumes. Alice’s greatness was in her courage and her fight to hold onto her identify. In one poignant moment, Alice, played by Julianne Moore in an Oscar winning performance, was trying delicately to remember how to tie a shoe and had 35MM flashbacks of her childhood.

So often we know what is right in front of us, but we fail to let our emotions generate and guide the right action or response. At Hirepalooza, I made a new professional connection. As the event wrapped up, we started discussing career choices and what defines a memorable candidate.

I asked her, “what makes you great?”

She said she loves to make a difference. I said no.

Then she told me she loves helping others be better leaders. I said no once again.

She laughed and said, “You tell me the right answer.”

I explained there is no right answer and only she could tell me what truly makes her great. It is the emotional passion that drives you and gives you that fire that makes you want to continuously be a better person.

Her responses continued and I still shot them down. Then something happened. Her voice raised volume, tone and pace. Like the Grinch instantaneously growing a larger heart, she burst out a flaming response. She finally told me her true self.

Her friend turned to her and said, “That was it. I have never seen you so focused and passionate about an answer. That is what you need to say in an interview.”

The heart of a great workforce is great people; ones that are an extension of the culture, products and the value system of the organization. In the hustle and fast paced world of technology, client needs, deadlines and life balance pressures, we often have to make compromise. For many, that compromise is personal passion. Why? I’m not going to get into that discussion today because it isn’t about why it lacks, but how to find it once again, use it and hold on to it.

The separation point between a good candidate and a great one or a good worker and great one is a very fine line.

If you can make that separation point, I will take the odds that what truly gives you meaning will be that catalyst.

Every one of you knows what makes you heart pump the desire to live. Let it be a part of who you are as a professional as well.

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