I was having a bad day. And my partner was copping it.
I was feeling less than, not good enough, under average, crippled by comparisonitis, overwhelmed by what I needed to do and scared to start.
In an embarrassing, woe-is-me voice, I asked him, “but how do I know I’m good enough?”
“You don’t have to be the best,” he replied. “Who’s the best? Nobody knows? You just have to be the one they want.”
His response was perfect. My perspective shifted. My angst, stuck on the same groove, abruptly stopped. All of the impossible things, the too-hard things, were sudden very ordinary.
Being an expert at what you do won’t make you more successful if you can’t conquer marketing. (In fact, the better you become, the worse your marketing tends to be.)
My clients tend to be over-qualified and continuously learning. They are masters at what they do and often have a decade or more experience under their belt.
Standing out in a sea of sameness is more important than being the best
I’m not discounting experience. Nor am I undermining education or professional development. But being the best, or even being better than your competitors, isn’t enough in business. Our competitors may well be less skilled than you and be attracting more clients.
Standing out in business is not about using different, non-trendy colours in your branding or on your website, writing a book, or getting featured by particular media. These things may contribute towards your credibility or authority, but that’s not it.
What makes you different is free
The only thing that enables you to stand out and be different is also totally free – and that’s your opinion. Yet over and over again I see people sitting on their hands or swallowing their words.
How do I know this? Because people talk to me in hushed tones, to share their articulate, interesting, provocative, useful opinions. Opinions that they wouldn’t dare dream of putting on the internet.
And these nuanced opinions aren’t easily acquired from the opinion shop. It’s a rare individual who contemplates their industry and work and, with passion and eloquence, come up with ideas that start their own movement.
Standing out and being different in business means that your prospects and clients don’t fall back on the old dependables, “I can’t afford it” and “I don’t have the time right now.” People will make the time and find the money, because you’re one-of-a-kind, and they only want you.