Sometimes it feels like it really is a dare, doesn’t it!? Being different isn’t easy. There are so many reasons to conform and copy. So many reasons to take the non-confrontational path. So many reasons to fly under the radar. So many reasons to just keep things the way they are. Why bother voicing your opinion, ruffling feathers and upsetting the apple cart??

Here’s why. All these reasons add up to one result:


That in itself is every reason to fight the urge to conform! You may think you want to be average, but when it really comes down to it, that’s just your inner voice talking, motivated by fear (and that’s an article for a different coach). But here’s the real deal: you weren’t born average! You can try to convince me otherwise, but I’m not buying it. You weren’t born the same as everyone else. You were born with unique gifts, thoughts and natural talents. You were born with potential and your lifetime job is to develop it into your contribution to your family, your community and society at large.

If you own a small business, there’s a good chance you’ve probably been fumbling around in the dark, possibly even experimenting with ways to step outside your comfort zone. You’re working hard and ‘you’re doing everything right,’ and despite all that, I’m guessing that you’re not getting the results you want. You’re spinning your wheels … and either apathy or burnout aren’t far off the horizon if you keep going the way you’re going.

You’ve got to do something different.

This is where I get so excited. I can’t tell you how many times a week I walk into a business that is just oozing untapped potential … my neurons start firing on all levels with the opportunities! So many businesses are literally sitting on the cusp of great differentiation ... but they don’t carry through.

Consider a local coffee shop I frequent (no, it’s not a Starbucks!). It’s only been open for a few months and when I met the owner, he was so passionate and excited to share his vision for this new venture. Like so many others, his vision had great potential. I couldn’t wait for this new coffee-shop concept to grow into fruition.

However, with the competition of at least a half dozen other coffee shops in the neighbourhood, this business owner slowly and insidiously started to compromise his initial vision and fall into the trap of the ‘copycat.’  ‘If it’s working for them, it’ll surely work for me.’  Yes, that’s true, to a point. The shop is busier, yes, but it’s not nearly as busy as it could have been … and it will always be competing for the same patrons as it’s neighbours. What fun is that?

I saw a post on Twitter the other day by @Nnaniquism:

"A slow strategy of genuine differentiation eventually achieves more than a fast-track but short-lived cloning of the market leader."

I couldn’t say it better myself.

I dare you to be different. It matters … and you’ll be glad that you are.