When we are growing up, all we want to do is to fit in. When we start a new job, we are inducted in the organisation’s procedures so that we can follow them (like everyone else). When we make friends, we naturally seek out those who are ‘like us’….it’s natural rapport.
So….what’s the point?
In business there are distinct advantages to fitting in. But there are even greater potential advantages to standing out. Can you both fit in and stand out? It’s possible I’m sure.
Many people aspire to greater success, at work and in their lives. Greater success is often judged by higher earnings/wealth, greater satisfaction deriving from the knowledge that you are making a real difference, a better reputation, the acquisition of awards and public recognition etc. How many of these things come as a result of ‘fitting in’? Not many, I would suggest. Maybe think for a minute about what ‘greater success’ means to you, and then ask if this can be achieved by ‘fitting in’.
Can greater success be ours if we dare to be different, seek to stand out and nurture our unique strengths so that we become remarkable? I believe so. Seth Godin internationally renowned marketer, thought-leader and author of ‘Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable’ is completely convinced that success and daring to be different go hand in hand.
There is a certain amount of fitting in that has to take place in order to function in our society; we simply have to be able to interact with others effectively using conventional means; we have to be understood, which means crafting messages and using language that others can interpret and act upon; we can’t be too strange & scary or we may scare people off…or can we…?
So what’s the point I’m trying to make? It’s this. As professionals working in organisations and as entrepreneurs striking out to build businesses of our own, there is a certain amount of fitting in that has to happen. But the chance to shine, to be remembered and to achieve greatest success, more than likely comes from understanding your uniqueness, your strengths and your talents, playing to those continually and avoiding the temptation to conform to the norm. This may involve being brave and often being different; it may involve contributing a contrasting view, an unpopular viewpoint or an idea that others don’t yet admire.
Here are 5 things to reflect on as you consider how you can achieve ‘greater success’ through ‘standing out’:
1. What has caught your eye and impressed you recently? What was it that stood out?
2. The last time someone congratulated you for a ‘job well done’, what was it you did? How does this differ from how others do their job?
3. In a line-up of comparable others (work colleagues or comparable businesses), what would you be known for?
4. Seriously? You’d be known for that? Would you remember someone for that? Are you sure it isn’t something else?
5. What’s remarkable about what you do and the way you do it? How can you communicate this more clearly to help you on your way to greater success?
I’d love to know any thoughts or realisations that you have as a result of reflecting on these questions – do let me know. And if you’d like to see a short animation that reinforces these five game-changing reflections…have a look here .