What’s the big deal about standing out, being different? Does it mean you’re an ego-maniac or that humility does not live in your heart? In my humble opinion, I think not. I talk about this a fair bit and I believe that being unique comes naturally to us when we’re young. As we get to grade school we begin the training towards sheep-ism. We’re born individuals, not carbon copies, right?
In order to MAKE a difference we need to BE different. If we were the same as everyone and everything else, there would be no reason to crave for or facilitate change, now would there?
One message that can tend to occupy the ‘stand out mentality’ is our North American culture that says, “Notice me, I’m special!” That’s not what I’m talking about. I dare say I’m referring to a lifestyle alternate to that.
7 Simple Different-Makers:
1. Say more than ‘Happy Birthday’ in a card, on Facebook or other social media outlets we participate in. We can stand out by taking 10 extra seconds, remember a special moment or connection. When we make another feel valued, we are standing out!
2. Fight the sheep-y mentality. Just because everyone else hates Monday, doesn’t mean we should! Start a Monday Love Revolution….now THAT would be different!
3. When we come across a grumpy customer service associate or a visually disturbing driver (you know, the kind that extend certain digits), be kind and extend a smile or ask a caring question. We are so conditioned to sneer or judge unhappy others yet when we have a bad day we certainly want some grace, right? Who knows, maybe they just got horrible news or their lives are in turmoil. You better believe we’d be making a difference by extending a little kindness.
4. My official signature includes a happy face. That stands out. People look at it sideways all the time…and then they smile. Do you have a unique marker that people know you for? Have one thing that everyone knows is your thing. For some it may be a particular colour, for others it may be their unique socks or choice in golf pants – I should find some photos! For me it’s my smiley face, monkeys and coffee. Not coffee-drinking monkeys though….
5. Be non-judgmental. Shock and awe at its finest! No, I mean it….non-judgmental…just for a day. People remember when you treat them with respect and don’t try to use ‘you should’s’ in the conversation. When a person doesn’t have to hide part of who they are to accommodate you, they’ve found someone special. Be THAT person. Feeling safe at the mercy of another human being – novel concept to be that for someone.
6. Believe in others’ dreams. There isn’t much that is more powerful or different-making than encouraging someone to follow their bliss. Not in a pie-in-the-sky manner but, “Hey, I know you have wanted to do ———- for a long time. How can I help you get there?”
7. OH oh oh – I know! How about putting technology away and really being present in the moment with your family or whoever it is that’s sharing with you (I have not mastered this one…yet…but I’m working on it)? I have a friend who doesn’t bring her phone in to the restaurant when we get together. It’s brilliant because I know she values our time together and it actually IS different than what most of us do.