Are You The Same, or Are You Different?

Spring has finally sprung into hard launch mode here in Toronto .  No more threats of a late snow (I think), the leaves on the trees are starting to pop out, lawns are green, flowers are blooming, and I finally got to take the snow tires off the car!

Standing outWhile I was giving our lawn it’s first mow of season, I had a thought as I caught myself doing something I often do- doing something differently, just for the sake of being different.  Most people seem to mow their lawn in straight lines. When you do this, it leaves a pattern of those neat, straight rows. Not me. When I realized that when you mow it leaves lines, I started to mow my lawn in a curved pattern.

I don’t do this because I think it looks better, just different.  No other reason. Do you know how much extra work this is? Zero. It does take a little more thought, but it takes no more work than it would to do it like everyone else. It also makes it a little more interesting to me.

Think about this with your business, your personal life, your anything. How many things are you doing just like everyone else? From the way you answer the phone, your email signature, the way you dress, your business cards,  the way you make your offering or your pitch, what are you doing to stand out?

Of course there are times when you should absolutely do things just like everyone else. But how often do you let your personality show through? If you do creative work for clients, like I do, how often do you let their personality show through?  When we see companies let a little personality show, we tend to love it.  Did you see the twitter exchange between AMC theaters and Oreo Cookies?  A win for both companies for sure.

Are you just like everyone else, or are you different? I like different. People remember different. It usually doesn’t take any more work to be different, or any more money. It usually just takes a little thought.  It also takes a little courage. It’s easy to toe the line. We’re taught to conform from an early age.

Standing out means drawing attention. It opens you up to criticism. If you do it a lot, you’re going to miss the mark some too. No one gets a hit every time they bat. No one. I think you have to take that chance though. Wayne Gretzky famously said, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.  I love that quote.

We need an interesting world. Be a little different. Please.