Lessons from an Angry Bird – Generating Personal Gravity for Career Success

Angry Birds

Angry Birds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you played Angry Birds Space yet? It’s really the same basic Angry Birds (“why do people like this – is it fun?” my wife asks frequently as my kids fight over the iPad) but with an added twist – you are launching those birds out in space.

What’s particularly interesting about it is the fact that the birds’ trajectories are affected by the gravity of planetoids (or whatever those celestial bodies are supposed to be). You launch your bird right at those pigs but the arc is curved by the gravitational pull of one or more heavenly bodies. Sometimes you go into a descending, spiraling orbit around the planet/asteroid until you eventually crash into the platform holding those pigs.

Thought of with that imagery, the term Social Gravity is a very telling one – creating the digital gravity to make your social connections (current or yet-to-be) gravitate towards your profile. And this is important in today’s professional world more than ever before.

In these modern times where recruiters are wading through thousands of online resume submissions, it is hard enough to find your own on top of the pile. Factors such as internal references indicate a real-world connection that easily trumps most ephemeral electronic connections.

But how do you stay in the mind of those internal references? How do you build new references, ones that will have them begging you to be part of their team?

A lot of talk out there is about thought leadership – go post articles, speak at events, and go to other lengths to stand out as an expert in your field. Essentially, create a brand for yourself and you will make others come to you.

Certain qualities are getting recognized more than others. Sure, this is a fast-changing paradigm, which might be obsolete by the time this article gets published, but some of the top qualities of future leaders and top performers include:

  • · Conscientiousness
  • · Unique value-add
  • · Open mindedness
  • · Assertiveness
  • · Self-promotion

The ability to display these tendencies is crucial – as well as any other tendencies a particular employer might be looking for. And, just as in so many other areas of the corporate world, the perception that one has these qualities trumps merely having those abilities and acting modestly about it.

The goal is to start to build up your own “mass”. To develop content that, when added together, reaches a critical mass where it starts generating its own gravitational pull. So anything sailing in your general area of space gets caught in orbit around you – and the more mass you create, the farther out your gravitational pull will reach.

It’s a good theory, and frankly, one that has served me well. I began focusing and honing my own digital footprint while I was unemployed, using that opportunity to build my own Web presence, accentuating the strengths I wanted to accentuate. As time progressed, my site began to develop its own critical mass.

The globular cluster M80. Stars in globular cl...

The globular cluster M80. Stars in globular clusters are mainly older metal-poor members of Population II. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t say that my Web publishing was what got me my job opportunity – though the recruiter was pretty vague about where “online” she “came across” my resume – but it certainly didn’t hurt to be able to point to online writing I had done as examples of my work and value to potential employers.

In the end there are no guarantees – space is vast, and the odds of passing a specific gravitational field in your travels can be slim, though leaving signposts out in space can certainly help point folks in the right direction. In the real world a body can have too much inertia, precluding anything more than a slight dip in the projectile’s trajectory. Physics is a cruel mistress, after all, and, forgive the pun, none of this is rocket science – there are a lot of celestial bodies out there also trying to attract the attention of those probes floating out in open space.

Just as in the Angry Birds franchise, there are numerous obstacles in your way, but if you keep an eye on them, they not only won’t hinder your efforts too much, they might even be used to help you eliminate those evil pigs.

Besides, sometimes it’s just plain fun to launch those things and see what havoc they wreak.

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