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Be Remarkable Or Be Replaceable

I’m not short on quick sayings, quotes or analogies to get my point across. Especially in the tech world, I find this to be a great communication method to help get clients up to speed with strategies or tactics that are often confusing and complicated.

One that I use frequently and that has applications on many levels is “Be remarkable or be replaceable”.  Believe it or not, this might actually be my quote.  I read hundreds of blogs and articles a month and get a lot of material from them so I was surprised to Google this quote and give someone proper credit for it … but all that came up was an interview I mentioned it in back in 2011. Huh, just maybe it’s mine?

I  gave a quick speech at an industry event this week with an audience that was comprised of college seniors and many young professionals just starting out in our world of digital marketing.

The event and the Spyder Trap office was full of great energy and many bright minds in the room were already awesome networkers and soaking up new connections and insight. I was surprised at the amount of conversation I was engaged in after my talk on this simple saying.  I wanted to take it a few layers deeper.

Where Does This “Be Remarkable or Replaceable” Thing Apply?

As I mentioned, it’s a mantra for me on multiple levels and I want to break a few of them down.

1. You It has to start here.  I also refer to this as my internal “shit filter”.  It has to be higher than everyone else’s filter.  I see so many people gage their success, outcome, failure or grade on what someone else has drawn as the line. Don’t.  Draw your own line, have your own expectations and put them higher than anyone else is willing to.

I can tell you that I evaluate, fine tune and pick apart just about everything that I do searching for how and what could be better.  I don’t do this in a self destructive way, but I fully realize that you need to constantly evolve and improve.  I try to apply this many places in my life, not just work.  I want to be a remarkable Dad … but that position I know is not replaceable!

2. Your job I read an article that was interviewing the CEO of a larger company on what makes a great employee.  He had a quote that has forever stuck in my head that was something to the effect of “My best employees come to work everyday worried they might be fired, my worst employees are surprised when they are fired”. Wow.

This quote isn’t to imply you need to scare people into doing great things, it’s to outline that those who place the goal of being remarkable on their shoulders are constantly driven by it.  Those that accept the average and are seemingly unaware are caught off guard when someone else evaluates their work as sub-par.  They are surprised to replaceable.

So after you’ve set your own internal bar high, apply that to what you expect our of yourself and your job.  I’m guessing your peers and higher ups will take notice that you are remarkable and not someone they could replace.

3. Your work In digital marketing there are many ways to measure if you are being remarkable, which is a large part of why I love this industry. I also realize that clients hire vendors and partners to be remarkable.  It is the expectation whether stated directly or not.  When have you ever had a client state “We just need you to be average or so-so on this project for us.”. Yup, never.

If you’re not remarkable in their eyes, then there are another dozen companies lined up to take that work from you.

I’d look at it from all aspects too.  Your relationship, your communication, your process and of course the results should all have the goal to be remarkable.

It’s Not 100% Achievable, But It Is 110% Effort

Are you going to be remarkable in all phases, every time out? No.  Can you out work, out hustle and out smart the majority by holding yourself, your position and your work to a higher level? Yes.  Let the rest constantly settle and feel rewarded for doing “Just enough”, while you couldn’t even stand the thought of starting out at that level.

Lastly, don’t forget while you’re busy being remarkable to smile. It’s a lot of fun and rewarding to work that hard.

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