The Next Level

Take Your Best to the Next Level!
by: Jennifer Ransaw Smith

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: your best is no longer good enough. I know…I know…it sucks, but it’s the truth and what this means is “you don’t get brownie points for doing something you’re supposed to be doing,” to paraphrase a Chris Rock routine!

If someone hires you, they expect your best…Period. Average is no longer an option. And “doing just enough” simply isn’t a consideration. Boy, have times changed. Remember when people used to say, “Showing up was half the battle,”-talk about low standards! Today, people not only expect you to show up, they expect you to bring your “A” game with you.

Last week, a dear friend called me extremely excited about a recent interview. She is a Sr. level executive in a very competitive and cut-throat industry…advertising. Her resume is peppered with uber impressive clients and her skill set is excellent. However, the reason for her call was that after almost 20 years in the industry, she had just had “the best interview in her life.”

She said for the first time ever she “put it all on the line and totally went for broke.” She said after evaluating her skill, value and talent she realized that they weren’t doing her a favor by considering her for a position-she was doing them one. So during the interview, she laid down her expectations, asked how taking that position would benefit her and her family and capped off the interview by delivering a creative and compelling commercial she created. She was personally blown away by how fierce she was…and so was the company.

But as we sat on the phone and delighted on what had just transpired, we couldn’t help but ask ourselves what prevents us from showing up fully EVERY TIME? Why do we act so timid when we enter the unknown? Why don’t we swing from the fences more often?

As women entrepreneurs, we got into the game for a reason and it most likely wasn’t money. We delved into the abyss because of our passion and our love of the game. So it’s time to remind yourself of that. Remember to put the time in and think of ways you can elevate everything you do.

Ask yourself what can I do to take this to the next level? And the next? I remember when I was at The Portfolio Center in Atlanta studying copywriting after undergrad. They used to advise us to write down 100 great headlines, when we were trying to find “the one.” Then, toss them all out and start from there. The first 100 were simply scratching the surface.

What can you do to knock the socks off your clients’ feet and have them running back begging for more? You’ve probably discovered by now that the best client is a happy client. So what can you do in addition to delivering a superb product or service that will nurture that relationship? Maybe you could surprise them by sending them to dinner for their anniversary? Or maybe you toss in a free service or introduce them to someone you think they would benefit from knowing? Give it some thought on a regular basis; you will be surprised by what you are able to come up with.

Question everything. Why are things done the way you do them? How can you improve on the status quo? You will be surprised the things you do just because “they are always done that way.” Stop! Start asking why and see what you can improve upon.

Now, more than ever, business owners need to create value, and the best way to do that is to make it a habit to swing from the fence.

Your “Define You” Weekly Assignment:

Throw average out of your vocabulary. Start looking for ways you can smash the competition and industry by going above and beyond and creating an undeniably fierce brand.

1. Take a long look at your industry and identify three things that are currently being done that need to be improved upon. Now, list ten ways you can improve upon each of them.

2. Toss that list in the trash and come up with a real doozy that will make your clients stand up and take notice. Be fearless.


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