“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” — Mark Twain
Of all the beauties of life, innovation sure stands out. As a concept, it has truly changed the way we live. Check out what a former American President, Barack Obama, said when Steve Jobs died: “Steve Jobs is one of the greatest American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.”
President Obama also stated that Steve Jobs changed the world we see. It is on this premise we shall be discussing how we can separate ourselves from the crowd. In a nutshell, you can’t expect to go far in life by just fitting in.
As human beings, we are all unique; we are all made in different shapes, sizes, compositions, and genes. However, the most interesting part of our being is our lifestyle. In a different context however, life is about how we package ourselves. If you’re in business, you ought to know how to make your product not only attractive but unique. If you’re a marketer or sales agent, you must know how to use personal relation skill and emotional intelligence to sell your products.
Separating yourself from the crowd can be understood in different ways, but for the purpose of this article, we shall be looking at it from the vantage point of making not only ourselves unique but also our products. If you truly want to make a name for yourself, you have to separate yourself from the bandwagon. We live in a world where there are so many competitions and envy. This feeling is not only limited to individuals, but it is also applicable to business, leadership, field of academics, entrepreneurship, and family in general.
According to an African proverb, if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to far in life, go with a team. This is an indisputable fact which underscores the power of teamwork. However, there’s a twist here, according to some schools of thought, the one who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. This is true because sometimes, following the bandwagon might lead you to the wrong place/direction in life. Imagine driving a car on a highway, you’ll always have the tendency to follow the popular route as opposed to the less-traveled route, but if you truly know where you are headed, you won’t be bothered about the popular route of other commuters. That’s simply how life works in the real sense. You simply have to carve a niche for yourself in order for people to take you serious.
Let’s take the conversation a little further; if you take a look at the species of birds you’ll notice that they all have feathers, but none can go farther than the eagle which is regarded as the king of birds because it can fly higher than other birds. The interesting thing about the eagle is that it takes its game higher when the needs call for it and it’s not easily swayed by little things. This ability makes the eagle to focus more on important issues.
A distinguishing quality of every business or organization is the kind of value and services they offer. As the saying goes, there’s literally nothing new under the sun. This is because you cannot really reinvent the wheel. Every business, organization, school, and the government has some level of similarity in what they are doing, the only difference is how they do it. For example, if you are in business, a critical skill to have is emotional intelligence. A lot of people lack empathy and this has led to the fall of many businesses, associations, and organizations. Whether you are in business, a teacher, pilot, or even a hotelier, an important question to ask your customers or guests is, what do you need; how can I help you? Always look out for them, in that way they’ll know you are not only interested in their money but you are also interested in giving them value.
If you are in business, your ability to give your customers more than they require like using the double-platinum rule will go a long way to make your customers loyal and more trustworthy towards you. You can do this by giving value to your customers. Questions like, how are you feeling? How was your day? Take it easy, can go a long way to attract loyal customers. Every business has a secret; your ability to read the writings on the wall in addition to having the right strategy will go a long to make your product unique. Potential employees also need this knowledge in order to be gainfully employed. In order to stand out, some students burn the midnight oil/candle, limit social outings, and the varieties of life which nature has offered them.
Furthermore, you have to separate yourself from the ordinary by working on improving yourself on a daily basis through learning new skills, trade, acquiring new certificate, and training, working on your talents and networking with the right people amongst others.
The question now is, how do you separate yourself from the crowd?
1. Define Your Value
Think about the value and experience you are offering people. What do they see, hear and smell when they walk into your office or business area? Think about your target audience; Think about the vision and mission you will like to be remembered when your time is up on earth. By so doing, you’ll be creatively making a name for yourself. You must define and differentiate yourself if you want to make a real impact, and also if you want people to take you serious.
2. Define or Create Your Personal Ambition
Without a definitive personal ambition, self-branding will lack direction. Having a definitive personal ambition will ensure you do not build a controversial brand i.e. a brand contrary to your actions. To avoid this, you need to define your mission and roles in life. Consider your dreams in life and how you intend to achieve them. Then, formulate a goal that will encapsulate what you want from life. Secondly, have an action plan (mission) that will help you achieve your goal in life.
You have to be consistent and proactive for people to take you serious. It’s worthy of note that inconsistency is not consistent with the lifestyle of greatness. You can be consistent by setting a pace you can maintain. Once people know that you’re sharing something unique and valuable consistently, they will show up in droves. However, that only matters if you keep it genuine.
4. Develop a Personal Balance Sheet or Score Board
Your scoreboard needs to put a few things into consideration: your goals, strategies, monitoring methods and feedback. It is meant to measure your day-to-day activities against your brand promise. In that way, you’ll be keeping track of your performance.
It is not really easy to stand out in business or in life generally due to the many push back you may face, that’s literally how difficult it is to be yourself. And as Ralf Waldo Emerson stated, “Do not go where the path may lead, instead go where there’s is no path and leave a thread”.
Conclusively, note that being unique can be challenging, but at the end, it will stand the test of time.
Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success.