Fly your freak flag! (Or, how to discover your winning difference)
I was having a really bad day. You know the kind – where you question everything (including the ground underneath your feet), where nothing you do is good enough, and where everybody else appears to be succeeding at life while you’re festering in self-loathing.
Of course, my partner was copping it. I’m embarrassed to share that I asked him, in a wobbly woe-is-me voice, “but how do I know I’m good enough?”
“You don’t have to be the best,” he replied. “You just have to be the one they want.”
In a single moment, his response ripped the needle off the broken record playing in my head.
And it immediately got me thinking of all the business owners I work with who are intent on becoming the best in their field.
My clients tend to be over-qualified, keen students, and often have decades of experience under their belt. But does this make them successful at business?
Do their qualifications and experience mean they consistently book out, with a wait-list of clients, have more support, earn more money, are asked to speak at events, and are approached with awesome opportunities? In a word? No.
Because standing out in a sea of sameness is far more important than being the best, more qualified and most experienced in the business.
Yes experience matters – but different is better than best
Now, I’m not discounting experience. Please don’t misunderstand me – of course, I’m not undermining experience, qualifications, or professional development.
But being the best – or even being better than your competitors – simply isn’t enough. The first? Who cares? You’re not the first for long.
Here’s the brutal truth: your competitors may be (far) less skilled than you and attract far more clients than you do. God forbid, even your clients.
Because they stand out. Something about them is different – and that’s what people are attracted too.
*You* are your unique selling proposition
Standing out in business isn’t about using different colours on your website, being cheeky on social media, writing a book, or getting featured by a particular media. Yes, these may enhance your credibility and increase your authority, but they don’t make you stand out.
What makes you different – the thing that renders your competitors irrelevant – is because you are you.
You are your unique selling point. Your opinions, your approach, your perspective. Your language, your voice, your long-term vision and goals. They’re all yours. And when you fly your freak flag – turning up the volume to become more of yourself – you attract the attention of those perfect-fit people who truly appreciate it. This is when your efforts in business are rewarded.
Yet, over and over again, I see people swallowing their opinions or echoing popular, beige viewpoints in an attempt to be ‘likable’. They’re trying their best to fit in and do business the “proper” way.
How would I know this? Because, for years now, I’ve had people confiding their interesting, provocative, articulate, thoughtful opinions – opinions that they wouldn’t dare dream of sharing with an audience of more than one.
Boosting your confidence, courage and creativity
Standing out and being different in business means that your prospects and clients don’t fall back on the old dependable, “I can’t afford it” and “it’s not the right time for me right now.” People make the time and find the money because you’re one-of-a-kind, and the only one for them.
They don’t believe they’ll find something similar with a few clicks of the mouse, because they appreciate that your business is special. They’re not treating you like a commodity but instead, as a trusted advisor, teacher and confidant.
When you practice the confidence and courage to be authentically you, you commit to embracing and loving what makes you different. You flex your courage muscle and, in so doing, you gain clarity and direction in what you’re doing and why.
We talk a lot about building confidence and growing your professional reputation inside the Hustle & Heart program. Our amazing community helps ease the isolation of being in business by yourself. And the one-to-one coaching with me, and group coaching calls help you find your unique direction that we so often lose when we’re working on our own.
PS: Want to talk about the program with me? Book yourself in for a call here.