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It’s Your Duty – To Be Different

It’s Your Duty – To Be Different

Are you fulfilling your duty to be different? In a world of sameness and standardization, why do we need another copy of what someone else is already doing?

It does not matter if you work for yourself, own a small business, or are an employee. Sameness does not get you noticed.

Not being noticed leads to, at best, being indistinguishable from the competition and at worst causing you to shut down your business or even being let go by your employer because you were not doing your duty of being different.

I have sat in meetings where a high-level manager talked about how interchangeable employees were and compared them to screwdrivers. If one screwdriver did not work out then our organization could go find another screwdriver. Sameness is dangerous.

An example of the benefit of being different is that dry cleaner, chiropractor, or deli that you drive out of your way for because they do things just a little different from someone else. Maybe the difference is customer service, maybe the atmosphere in the shop is a little nicer or maybe you can tell that they love what they do and service their customers better than the other shops in the area.

Whatever the reason is that you go out of your way to give that shop your business, being different is what draws people to you or your business.

Being different is your duty.

Setting yourself apart from others can take the form of large or small differences.

My mentor and friend Dan Miller talks about when he would fulfill book and product orders from his best seller, 48days to the Work You Love, that he and his team would put 48 pieces of soft mint candy into the package box before shipping. Dan often talks about the positive feedback that a simple thing like adding some mints to an order would lead to repeat orders and greatly reduced returns. – That is different.

If you have ever traveled on a Virgin Atlantic flight, you can feel and see the large difference in the plane, the crew and their clubhouse. Virgin is not as large as some other carriers are but they have a loyal following precisely because they are different. The people of Virgin view themselves as working in an ultra-cool boutique hotel with the freedom to do what it takes to satisfy the customer. From their owner (Richard Branson) down to the ticket agent, fun and customer service is what they wake up wanting to deliver. The result of Virgin’s efforts is that even those flying in economy class often describe their experience as being more comfortable and enjoyable compared to the competition. – That is being different from everyone else.

Here are my three keys to being different from the rest of the competition:

  1. Let your personality come through. People and businesses want to work with organizations and people who they know, like and trust. It is hard to know, like and trust someone or a business when they sound and appear to be the same as everyone else.
  2. Be true to your beliefs. The more authentic your external materials are to your beliefs and personality, the easier it will be to attract people to want to partner or work with you.
  3. Use your differences as part of your marketing and customer service plan. What makes you or your business different is what will make you successful. Make sure your materials and your message make it obvious that you are not the same as the next person or business in your industry.

When talking with my business and personal coaching clients, I want them to know that being different is what truly makes them memorable to the people they meet. Providing memorable experiences or materials will not only drive new business but most importantly repeat business.

Coach’s Wrap Up:

People and organizations make decisions all the time to select businesses and even employees based on the real and perceived differences between two or more options. When we try to look, sound, and act like someone else, we run the risk of becoming just another bland commodity.

Doing small or large things that set us apart permits our personalities and beliefs to be noticed. This in turn helps like-minded individuals or businesses find us more easily and shortens the gap between only being interested and becoming a satisfied partner.


Are you fulfilling your duty to your customers and network by letting the world know your differences?


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