Let me explain an amazing irony.
Most people want to be themselves — to express their uniqueness and true identity. We admire people that are bold enough to stand out from the crowd and live with authenticity.
But no matter how much we admire, aspire, and yearn for that kind of independence, we have so much trouble achieving it for ourselves.
That’s the irony. Being unique is viewed as a positive, but it is seldom practiced. Instead of being unique, we act as if conformity is the goal. We spend without hesitation and work without stopping so we can look just like our peer group.
I promise I’m going somewhere with this psychological moment of reflection.
The point I want to make is this: Being unique is the key to a powerful personal branding.
There is enormous value in growing one’s personal brand. The value isn’t just psychological. It’s economic as well. You can use your personal brand to improve the lives of those around you, grow businesses you care about, and create a positive force in the world.
But you can’t build a personal brand to begin with unless you are willing to be unique. Being unique is the path to personal branding effectiveness. Let me share with you the power of unique.
Being unique makes you memorable.
The only way to be remembered is to be different. No one is going to remember someone who looks like, acts like, dresses like, speaks like, works like, and thinks like everyone else.
Branding authority Marketing Donut explains, “to build a brand” you must “think of it as a person.” When you are building a personal brand, all you have to do is define who you are as a person, then live it out as authentically and unrelentingly as possible. The result is that you become memorable.
What does it mean to be memorable? It means to stand out from the crowd. It means that people remember you. It means that you come up in people’s conversation and thinking.
Being unique gives us an edge. It helps us stand out, above the noise instead of amongst it. If your personal brand is missing something, could it be uniqueness?
Being unique makes you truly appreciated. It’s a fact of human existence that we want to be appreciated.Humans who are appreciated work better, act better, live healthier, and thrive.
You want to be appreciated don’t you? We often fear to be unique, because we fear that we will be rejected or unappreciated. The reality is found in the opposite. When we assert our uniqueness, then we are appreciated.
People appreciate bold difference-makers. There is obviously a negative kind of different — criminals and morons. The vast majority of the time, however, you won’t be criminal or moronic; you’ll just be you. And when you do, you can expect appreciation to follow.
Being unique makes you valuable.
Few people are willing to stick out their necks and be unique. When someone finally does so, it creates an enormous source of value.
Whatever you want to be — an entrepreneur, a thought leader, a hot job candidate, or a mover and shaker — requires that you be different. The world doesn’t need more of the same. It needs different. It needs you.
The world’s most successful people are those who have decided to reject the status quo, rise above the masses, and be free with their unique talents, gifts, and skills.
Liz Ryan’s well-written essay on personal branding helps to unwrap the worn-out ways we try to fit in: If you describe yourself as a Results-Oriented Professional with a Bottom-Line Orientation, then you have really lost track of who you are. You’re slapping the same tired adjectives on your resume or LinkedIn profile that millions of other people slap on theirs. You’re saying “See, boss? I know the lingo!” Your real self disappears under the weight of all that corporate zombiespeak. We can’t even see you. You could be anybody, one of the faceless masses.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Not a member of the faceless masses, I hope.
The true way to achieve personal value and value for the world is if you’re different.
Being unique takes some guts, but it’s the only way to personal branding power.
Perhaps one of the reasons why many entrepreneurs continue to struggle and to burn out is because they are trying to live their life in the soul-sucking pursuit of conformity. There is a certain mold, the ideal “entrepreneur,” and they try to fill it.
Trying to fill a mold is a fast track to disillusionment and failure. I’m here to encourage you to assert your uniqueness. It might feel weird at first, but soon you’ll be more comfortable with yourself than you’ve ever been before.
When you are finally free to be unique, you’ll reap the benefits — memorability, appreciation, and above all valuable. So what is your unique preposition?