We are victims of circumstance. We are products of our surroundings. We evolve based on our environment. Any of these phrases ring a bell? Growing up – many of us are told that our dreams are too big – that we’re aiming too high, that we just can’t do it and our expectations should be lowered.
Doubt is a common emotion within all of us – we doubt our own potential for greatness and our ability to do good and rise above. We’re in a constant battle with self-worry, doubt, and confusion – the thoughts that seek to hold us back and limit our potential. What worries us and brings upon doubt within us? It’s the idea that we must be unique in order to be successful. Your potential for greatness is limitless once you realize that it’s not about being unique, it’s about being the best.
Think about it as a blogger. Look at me for example. On Life Without Pants I’ve written about the topics of social media, work/life balance, and personal growth – these topics aren’t anything new, we’ve all read varying perspectives on them from all over the web. But, what I (hope) I’ve done, and what I strive for is to be better than other blogs, to present a fresh perspective. It may be something you already know a lot about, something you might already have a very strong opinion on. My goal is to take those thoughts and opinions you’ve already developed and help you mold them into a more well-rounded, educated idea. Shedding new light and making you think.
Take a look at it from a business perspective. Think about a local coffee shop that you frequent in your home town. Do you make the trip there every morning on your way to work because they’ve invented a new coffee bean? No. Odds are, they’re making a better latte than Starbucks for a few cents cheaper. When you go in, the staff is welcoming and accommodating – they know you by name, you’re favorite Radiohead CD is playing in the background, there’s a little booth in the corner that you love to sit at on the weekends to work on homework. Good coffee + cheaper price + friendly atmosphere = better experience. You keep going back and choosing Joe’s Coffee Shop over Starbucks because not necessarily because they’re unique – but because they do what they do better than the competition.
Conventional wisdom holds that companies must offer their customers something truly unique in order to win their business and loyalty. In truth, successful businesses offer them something simpler but much more important. – MIT Sloan Management Review
You’re limiting yourself by saying ‘It’s already been done before’. Odds are, almost anything you can think of, someone has thought of already. That brilliant idea you have? Someone’s been there and done that. How many times have had an amazing idea only to find there are 10 other people out there already doing the same thing? Stop worrying about what others are doing and start focusing on how to make your idea better than the rest. Spend more time on marketing and promoting. Go above and beyond and really focus on connecting with your readers, fans, and/or customers. You may not be innovative in your ‘product’ but you can always have an innovative approach.
When someone opens their Google Reader – give them a reason to click on your blog first. When a business is deciding what consulting firm they should hire – give them all the reasons in the world why they should pick you over a big agency. Being the best isn’t about being ‘new’ – it’s not even about having the most experience, it’s about being bold, standing out, rising above the mediocrity, and going that extra step.
Your status and wealth doesn’t determine your success. Don’t let your circumstance dictate who you are. Have confidence in your ability to do exceptional things and the sky’s the limit!