Here’s how to stand out
From the crowd and be an Original
Strategies on how to get noticed for who you really are
“You will never be like your sister”
My sister is only 2 years older. She is clever, fun and lovely to be with. I was a borderline student, stubborn and stupid. We were in the same school and a common teacher obviously liked her more than me.
I used to admire this teacher so much that what he said affected me for the most part of my life, eating into my subconscious, making me believe I am hopeless.
Will I be accepted if I am like my sister?
My rebelliousness must have caused inconvenience to him, guess he couldn’t help but say that to let me know I am a troublemaker. But how was I to know what that really meant?
I was only 13, and those words told me to conform to everyone. It told me to do what I was told otherwise I am a bad girl.
This suppressed my independent thoughts, and I spent years of my life trying to be someone I was not so that I would be accepted, well-liked and be considered a good person.
I wanted to succeed not because I was exceptional and not because I was curious enough or enjoyed the process to learn more. All I wanted was to be loved in the wrong way for the wrong reasons.
I became a people-pleaser, a trend follower, chasing shiny objects without focus that in turn made me feel like an imposter in everything I did. I had such low self-esteem that I never knew I could become any better.
As a child, I used to talk a lot. Until my teacher’s comment, I auto shut up.
“Shhh! Don’t say a word. Don’t let people see you because you don’t look right! You are an imbecile, an embarrassment to people. Nobody will want to be associated with you, don’t you get it??!” — My Past Subconscious
Socialising became a tiring activity because the whole time I was trying to “fit in”. Since then, this made me believe I am born an introvert. I avoided faces and hid behind computer screens instead.
My wings were clipped.
Nobody should live like this.
If you have to defy gravity in order to fly. Don’t you also have to defy the norm by doing something extraordinary and stand out? — My Subconscious Now
Today, I’m sharing 5 strategies I’ve used to snap out of my shit and improve my life and business. You can also use them to get noticed for who you really are.
1. Focus on the process, not the outcome
As Thomas M. Sterner said in his book The Practicing Mind,
“Life is practice”
Each and every one of us is born unique, with different circumstances. What sets us apart comes from how we do things; how we set up our writing process before we write, how we sketch out dirty drafts before we deliver the designs.
We are different in the things people don’t actually see and we are different in the reasons why we want to be seen.
This process helps us figure these out.
That said, outcomes can never be guaranteed.
When you focus on the outcome, you may not learn how to get there. Conversely, while focussing on the process, you’ll start creating your own rules towards your goals.
While leading up to it, you are making up your own magnet to get noticed by like-minded people who have similar beliefs, values and aspirations.
2. Be exceptional in your own way
Nobody is exceptional just because they are. They stand out because the things they do make an impact. If you want that too, ask yourself these questions:
What have you done that made the most difference to you and the world?
What will you do that will make a difference to your life and lives of others?
This has to be answered based on what you think is exceptional to you, not to anyone else’s. It could be anything big or small so long you’ve made a difference in your life or the world.
Next is to ask this question as regularly as possible so that it reminds you to do something that makes you proud as much as possible.
“Thinking big is great, but thinking small is easier” — Ryan Holiday
Even if the things you do are small, do them many times consistently and they will add up.
3. Stop doing the thing everyone else is doing
“When they go low, we go high!”
— Michelle Obama’s motto from her speech in the 2016 Democratic National Convention
My coach Daniel Lim once explained to apply Michelle Obama’s motto in marketing. Since there are many people promoting themselves via the ‘spray and pray’ or ‘low-touch’ method, we should instead go by the one-to-one or intimate way.
He calls this the ‘high-touch marketing’ where you develop a bond and go deep with your prospects rather than scrape the surface and hope for people to come to you.
This is easier said than done. I started off not knowing where to start. If everyone has shown results doing that same thing, why should I do something else? Fear strikes when I am treading uncharted waters.
It’s actually a simple mindset shift. When we do the same thing as the majority, that’s precisely how we “drown” in an ocean of sameness.
Rather than wait for someone to pick us out of that ocean, we should make that first move by doing something different than the rest. That difference is what catch other’s attention.
That difference is where we find our individual unique voice to make our stand.
4. Be uber clear with your values
Author Stephen R. Covey noted:
“People can’t live with change if there’s not a changeless core inside them. The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value.”
I took a few years to discover the values that stick, but the discovery process paid off. Each time I have to deal with difficult situations, such as challenging conversations or even to decide to say “yes” or “no” to my kids, I refer back to my core values.
It was through knowing my values that led me to adjust my behaviours and make a stand. It’s only when I’m clear about them that I make a full-hearted decision in almost everything I do that leads to people around me know I mean what I say.
Without this, it’s easy to do things that are important to society or anyone else rather than what’s most important to you.
When clarifying your values, ask these questions:
Can you come to terms with yourself if you apply this value to everything you do?
Will your behaviour or actions based on these values serve a positive purpose?
There’s no need to cast your values in stone. Revisit them as regularly as possible to stay clear with what’s worth most to you.
5. Always challenge your comfort zone
I hated sales calls.
As mentioned I labelled myself as an introvert, I was so conscious of how others will judge me. Sales calls were not only out of my comfort zone, but the thought of them also makes me so nervous, I can never focus on other things that came before the calls.
I told my coach, Lydia Lee and she said getting over this is like working out a muscle. The more you work it, the stronger it gets.
It’s something I never did well in, but I had to do that to keep the lights on.
Now I’m still a bit nervous, but moving towards the “excitable” spectrum. That’s not only progress, more than that, the change in how I felt gave me greater confidence in myself.
I don’t need to be like my sister or that other designer, or write like that top writer. There’s no need to be like anyone else anymore.
That move away from my comfort zone brings me more courage to think independently. It doesn’t matter if what I think is also the same as what someone else thinks.
What matters is, it was developed from within myself; my authentic inner self.
Ready to be yourself?
Standing out should not be something you want to gain attention for the sake of it. It is necessary because you want to give the world your best. You have something authentically genuine to express, you want to learn how life works and live on your own terms.
You need to do this so that people will also learn more about the real YOU.
It’s time you stand out.
Get started now!
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