I think it’s fair to say that we all like to think that we’re different to everyone else (and we generally are!). As business owners, we also like to think that we are different .. and better than anyone else in our line of work. Yes?
However, in the cold, hard light of day, can we honestly say that we are different .. or better? Or perhaps our rationale is that we have a belief that we are better than our competitors.
If so, that’s mistake number one!
Have you heard the old saying – “Being the best is great; I’m number one. But being unique is better; I’m the only one”?
Have you ever been told by someone whose opinion you respect that – “I don’t mind if you’re not the best; just do your best, try hard and be yourself”? Don’t misunderstand me at this point. Competition against others can have its good points, such as in some sports. However, the overriding consideration always should be whether or not you are bettering yourself, as distinct from beating others at something.
Nowhere is the benefit of taking such a stance in your personal and business lives as the example of kids at school and in their social activities. Look at the kid who arrives at school with say, a “new” hairdo. All of sudden, their classmates start imitating them to “gain an advantage”.
BOY – have they got that wrong!
Now those same kids are being inducted into a “dog-eat-dog” type of world and in fact, are competing to be the best by being the same! Sad .. but true. Unfortunately, this mindset often then carries through to their adult lives, for instance – “I’m getting a tattoo to be ‘different’.” “I’m getting my belly button pierced – to be ‘different’.”
And then there’s the perceived need to flout authority – another by-product of wanting to be “out there” and “different”. It is all a “lose/lose” situation. An inevitable slide down to the depths of oblivion.
Consider the collective attitude of the members of your favourite team that they carry onto the field with them. Whatever the sport, players set out to be “the best.” They have to; it’s the only way to win.
Compare that to your favourite musician, dancer, or actor. People in the performing arts don’t reach the top of their profession by crushing the opposition. They do it by being creative, by developing unique identities and approaches to what they do. One of my favourite actors is Tom Hanks, such that I make a conscious effort to see any film in which he stars. Why? Because EVERY role he plays he “makes it his own” or, if you like – he “owns” that role. In essence, he is unique and plays a character with such verve and integrity that it is virtually impossible for someone else to take on that same role at a later time with success!
No two singers have exactly the same voice. Each actor, each musician (e.g, David Bowie), each dancer (remember the ice-skating champions – Torville and Dean) can develop an audience and successfully create unique value for their customers. This generates a self-sustaining, flourishing field in which everyone can win.
It’s the creative, “performing arts” mindset – that pays healthy dividends, both in educational endeavours and in the world of business.
PLAY BY YOUR OWN RULES.
You needn’t be part of the “in” crowd to succeed. Actually, the reverse of that, more often than not, applies.
This is not to say that you have to be an intentional “rebel”. Rather, you just need to have the confidence in yourself and your own abilities to do it your way.
At this point, I am going to “borrow” an extract from a blog article that I wrote back in 2019 on my other site – The Manhire Consultancy…..
“Within today’s society, there is so much push and attention given to being “PC” (Politically Correct) that it’s easy to be distracted, even converted, from being and/or showing your true self to the world. To my mind, this makes for a way less interesting world to live in.
Imagine what it would be like if we were all the same? BLEH!
On top of that, what would the world be like if we weren’t exposed to original thinkers, the innovators? Horrible!
Personally, I love music but in recent years have despaired somewhat at the lack of musical innovation. By that I mean tunes that have lyrics that you can sing along to (not like most of that rap crap [musical carnage]), a beat that you can dance to, a great hook and overall is different!
My faith that musical genius still exists was recently restored by the advent of “Dance Monkey” by Tones and I. WOW! What a monster of a song.
So, given that we are all different, what’s your own point of difference? The same question must be asked of your business. Again – what is its point of difference?
Are you keeping that proverbial light hidden under a bushel? WHY? Let it out and put it out there! A little story for you…
During what seems a lifetime ago (but really only about 20 years or so), I had a highly successful financial planning practice. Much to the chagrin of many other advisers, I was a consistent award winner. Why were they upset? Because according to them I was a “hippie” (ponytail) and therefore couldn’t be a professional in my (and theirs) industry.
But here’s the rub – apart from the fact that I really was good at what I did, for which my clients loved me and were loyal to me (and I to them), I know for a fact that many of them were secretly (and some not so secretly) chuffed at having someone who didn’t quite fit the mould looking after them. You know, the “don’t worry about the fact that he’s got a ponytail, he’s really good!” type of thing.
So, do your own thing too! As I said earlier – “Let it out and put it out there!“
I still do things my own way today. Hence the unique tag – #UnicornConsultant. By the way, the tag applies to someone who isn’t just a Business Coach .. or a Mentor. It applies to that rare beast who has both the skills and experience to offer clients the best of both worlds.
To gain a greater understanding of the differences (and similarities) between a Business Coach, Mentor and Unicorn Consultant, go to The Manhire Consultancy’s Home page and my Why The Name “Unicorn” blog article.
Want to know more? Just click here for direct access to me.
PHIL MANHIRE – Your personal Business Coach, Mentor & Unicorn Consultant.