Being YourselfWednesday, August 12, 2015
You're unique. You're not different.
Different is temporary and easy to duplicate. Everyone knocks off your idea, so you change your branding and company's identity. You go through a long redesign and now your website and blog are decked out in pastel watercolored brush strokes instead of a bright chevron pattern. You have a new logo, new fonts and maybe even a new workflow system — more streamlined to deliver better customer service. You're different than the competition.
Until the competition catches up. Suddenly, everyone's website and blog is now awash in pastel watercolors. Everyone's Instagram feeds includes shots of a golden-crusted loaf of bread and a cup of pour-over coffee on Carrara marble — even if it makes no sense for their brand and company. They also have a new logo and fonts (uncannily similar to yours — imagine that) and they've ramped up their customer service as well. Everyone is now different — just like you. You may have been first mover in the marketplace with your fresh look and approach, but you are no longer different.
Instead of striving to be different, focus on being unique. Unique is you. It's in your DNA, it's who you are. No one can ever copy your uniqueness simply because no one can ever be you. They can try, but they will fail, because they cannot emulate your personality (at least not for the long haul), cannot bring your culmination of life experiences to the table, cannot see the world with your particular worldview or perspective. You are who you are, and that is what makes you unique.
As it relates to social media, the entire focus of Instagram, Twitter, blogs and other outlets is to bring transparency to the person who is posting. Don't focus on being different, just be yourself. Don't try to be something or someone you aren't, don't try to write or post like someone else because it seems like what they are doing is working, and don't try to be what you would like to be rather than who you currently are. Just be the person you are right now, in this season.
Be unique. You already are.
The original version of this post was published August 2009