How to Stop Fitting In, and Start Winning More

Most of us spend too much time trying to fit in with the people and situations around us. We try not to stand out. I certainly used to do it. I used to be more careful in my speaking. I didn’t tell many jokes. I dressed more conservatively. Basically, I tried not to offend or embarrass myself. But, by acting like “one of the crowd,” the feedback I got from others was as average as I was trying to be. And, so were my results.

Here’s a bit of what I would hold back….

  • I’m an ideas guy. 
  • I’m also a good speaker. 
  • With a sharp and sarcastic sense of humor. 
  • But, I can sometimes offend with my jokes. 
  • I’m not afraid to cry or speak out in front of hundreds. 
  • And, I’m often scattered and unfocused. 
  • I’m impatient and always reaching for more. 
  • Naturally, I dominate a conversation without thinking. 
  • I also have deep empathy and can help you see what your really care about.
  • But, I take charge and like to get started. 
  • I love people deeply. 
  • And, I’m hungry to make a huge difference with my life.

What’s true about you?

I think we should all stop trying to fit in and be more true to ourselves. But don’t mistake being yourself and being unique with permission to be obnoxious. That would be missing the point. I want you to get that being sensitive and gracious doesn’t require suppressing yourself.

We can embrace our uniqueness while also being fully responsible for the impact we have on others. That’s called being emotionally mature and self-aware. I know that my impatience and drive are useful as a coach and entrepreneur, but that I also have to rein it in sometimes, like with employees and my family, or acknowledge it to others so they don’t take it personally. 

I like to wear jeans and listen to lots of dance music. I’m informal and laid back in my style. I love great food, sailing, scuba, flying, biking, running, and skiing, but I don’t like golf and I hate to watch most sports. I love great design and unusual style. I love to collaborate and contribute. I’m usually the first to volunteer. I am enthusiastic. I do annoy people with my enthusiasm sometimes, but I don’t mean to. 

I think you and your business should stop trying to be so like everyone else. Even if you sell a commodity, there’s a way to differentiate yourself from the pack—maybe it is with great customer service, or maybe it is something else. When you are unique you will find yourself and your business doing more of what you truly love, with the customers and partners that love you for who you are. It really isn’t rocket science. But it is hard after blending in for so long.

To help you stand out from the crowd, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What makes you different?
  2. What gets you in trouble?
  3. What have you always struggled to change?
  4. Ask your customers/clients why they chose you.
  5. Consider your life and business history. What do you love, and what do you hate?

You should soon have a pretty good list that describes who you really are. Turn all of that into differentiation and advantage.

Listen to a live coaching session on this, Episode 34 Scaling Up Business here

More on differentiation…