“Be distinct or be extinct.”
—Kevin Noland, CEO of A.D.A.M.
With ever increasing competition and transparency in the business world, buyers of products and services seem to have the upper hand. We are all just a few clicks away from having reasonable, accurate, and objective information on just about anything and anyone.
Have you ever heard of the “So What Test”? If not, imagine going to a networking event in which you are given 30 or 60 seconds to introduce yourself, your service, and perhaps your product. Now imagine if the person you are speaking with actually was rude enough to say, “So What?” aloud, instead of keeping this thought to themselves.
What is truly unique, special, and distinctive about you, your product, or service?
What could you share about what you have to offer that would raise a few more eyebrows?
What are the reasons people may be saying Yes to your competition and No to you more often than you would like?
“Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own.”
—Bruce Lee, 20th Century American Actor & Martial Artist
Image from TED Ideas
Are you an artist, writer, or creator of some other form of content? If so, be prepared to be ripped off, pick-pocketed, and have your work stolen.
Unless you have been hiding your work under a rock or inside a mattress, you have shared it with others. If it is remarkable, or even just good, others will take it for themselves and hopefully build on it.
Protectionism, including trademarks, copyrights, and patents have their place. But with the world of increasing transparency and information just a click away, it won’t be long before someone reverse engineers or tweaks your ideas and makes them their own for a minute or two.
Where and how can you absorb what is useful, discard what is not, and add your own unique ideas to contribute to and stand on the shoulder of those who came before you?
How might you coach and mentor others coming up the ranks, to more intentionally support their development and contribution?
“My life needs editing.”
—Mort Sahl, Canadian-born American comedian and actor
Photo from Flickr by Matt Hampel
Have you ever considered writing your autobiography?
If you did, how many people would lay down some cash to buy it? What if you handed out copies for free? How many people would spend the time to read it?
If your answers fall short of producing a best seller, perhaps your life—at least the life still ahead of you—could use a bit of editing.
Examine the lives of those you respect and admire as a place to begin writing and living the next chapter of your life. Make sure you use your most playful, adventurous, and creative thinking to build on and expand on the good things you see.
You can also do a bit of editing on the life you have already lived. One simple way to do this is to replace all setbacks and failures in the light of lessons learned.
Feel free to reply to the post with any thoughts and insights that come up for you.
“Do more of what makes you awesome.”
Photo from Flickr by Sam Howitz
Awesome is such an awesome word.
For years, I’ve encouraged my clients to be their personal best, pursue excellence, and of course, discover their strengths.
What is it that you do that literally induces awe in others?
Some might describe awe as a heightened sense of admiration or even a reverence for your gift, unique ability, or area of personal mastery.
Whatever it is, doing more of it will most certainly bring you great fulfillment, satisfaction, and most likely produce quantifiable rewards.
Consider asking a handful of people who know you best what makes you awesome. This is not the time to be timid or overly humble. Hopefully these conversations will shed some light on gifts or talents you have overlooked.
Once you come down from the high you will likely experience in these discussions, get out there and let others in your world know about the awesome qualities and abilities you see in them.
“Be who you are, say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
– Dr. Seuss, children’s author
Be authentic. Or, as Shakespeare said it, “To thine own self be true.”
But what if people don’t like us, or even reject us? There has never been a person who pleased everyone. The best we can do is to please first ourselves and then those in our lives who truly matter.
Stop being a chameleon, constantly trying to change in order to please those around you. In fact, it is the natural human state of things to become more of who you truly are.
Determine what you value, what really makes you tick and your fundamental beliefs – and shout them from the rooftops. The people who matter will pick up your signal, and those who don’t were never really tuned in the first place.
“As human beings, our job is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has – or ever will have – something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.”
– Fred Rogers, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
When my children were very young, Mister Rogers was a show we often skipped in favor of the Rugrats or Sesame Street. I regret that I rarely watched an episode – if only I knew he had so much to say.
What parent doesn’t want their children to help and encourage others, to discover their own unique abilities, and to make a contribution to the world?
Maybe I should look for the reruns or at least bring the wisdom of this quote to my daily life.
What actions will you take by bringing a little Mister Rogers into your heart and home?
“Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.”
– St Francis de Sales, Roman Catholic Saint
Envy and jealousy rob us of our power. When we focus on the qualities and characteristics of others, we often pine for what we feel may be missing or lacking in ourselves. Personal appearance, physical abilities, and intellectual capacities are just a few examples.
Instead of wishing to be someone else, what if we fan the flames of our own passions and unique abilities to become our best self?
What if it were all about the journey within – a perfect-fitting life which was intended all along?
What would be possible if you were perfectly yourself?