Continuously striving to achieve perfection must be an exhausting exercise. It’s suspected that one can almost correlate the experience to trying to capture some type of fabled, elusive beast.
Like a Unicorn perhaps. Or maybe a Minotaur.
And like perfection… does either exist?
And perhaps it’s rather unfair to unleash such a bold question on an unsuspecting Thursday, but nothing legendary comes from treading lightly.
So, let us venture further to say that being great isn’t great enough.
Sure, that may seem like an intolerable thought for some to ponder, so let us pose this question instead: If being unique isn’t the greatest asset we have, or the stuff legends are made of: Why is a horse with a horn on its head such a magical creature?
So don’t be better. Be different, here’s why:
“The best” is temporary
Being considered the best at something is a rather flimsy advantage that can be surpassed in a heartbeat by someone with a bigger following, or a lower price point, who flashes a fancier degree or has the nicest car. And somewhere along the road in your career, there’s always the risk of that technically better fit person popping up like the plague with their better technical skills ready and willing to be bandied about.
But here’s the thing about those things: People do business with people, and they do it with the ones they like. Anyone can offer a similar product or service, but no one can deliver the same experience. How you make an employer, coworker or customer feel during the interaction is what’s going to make you stand out.
Being better can hold you back
It’s easy to be blind to innovation when you’re scared to push the boundaries, but “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” didn’t invent the iPhone. Fear manacles you to mediocrity, and if your mind is set on being the best at the old way of doing things, someone else will be the one to discover a way to do it differently. And he or she is going to be the one who will be remembered. So don’t invest all your energy in being like everyone else. Carving out your own niche and positioning yourself as an early market adaptor will set you ahead of the competition.
If no one knows, no one cares
You can have a really good idea. Like… a really, really good, mankind changing, world-evolving, earth shattering, post-apocalyptic cure for the human race type of idea, and no one will care if they don’t know about it. The best ideas—or the best people—can’t win if they fail to stand out in the first place.
Allow us to relate a tale: Two similar Candidates, with two similar resumes, applied to the same role. Candidate A’s resume was sent through email along with 250 other resumes. She was a perfect technical fit, with exceptional experience and an impressive portfolio.
Candidate B’s resume showed that he wasn’t as great as a technical fit as Candidate A, but he also had exceptional experience and an impressive portfolio. Instead of sending in a resume however, like Candidate A, this magical Unicorn of a Candidate stapled his resume to the top of a pizza box and sent it on over to the agency during lunch time. If you don’t stand out, no one remembers—even if you’re the best.
Who do you think got the gig?
The moral of the story here folks, is not that everyone likes pizza, or Minotaurs or magical Unicorns, it’s that standing out and being different is what will get you in with the same like-minded, mad individuals that make the impossible possible in our world devoid of such fabled elusive beasts.