Want to Make an Impact with Your Business? Develop the Courage to Cultivate Originality
If you want to make an impact, you are going to need a healthy dose of courage and the willingness to be vulnerable. Having the courage to be original really means being brave enough to be yourself. Katharine Hepburn is such a beautiful example of courageous originality. Certainly this can seem daunting and frightening, because to really live as you are means opening yourself up to the judgement of others. Usually, we shield ourselves from others to some extent. To cultivate originality is to see ourselves as authentic, unique, creative and not as perfect or better than others. I believe we are all beautiful works in progress.
One of my colleagues posted a celebration on Facebook recently that he felt like he had really hit the big time because he was getting criticism for his ideas and posts. I laughed at his belief that we will know we are making a difference when the “haters” as he said show up.
Another colleague, who used to be a roadie for a couple of famous rock bands tried to build his own business and stuff himself into a corporate suit and persona. He couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t getting any business, until he realized he was trying to fit into someone else’s mold. Once he claimed his brand and embraced his own rock star status, his business took off and he is making millions doing what he loves.
There are many more examples I could share of famous personalities and business owners who became famous once they embraced their uniqueness. Others seem to be born fearless. Most of us fall on a continuum of wanting to be authentic and being unsure of ourselves.
Imagine what it might be like if everyone truly knew you, inside and out, what wonderful things you’re capable of, and how fully human you are, just like them.
There can be a great, false comfort in conforming and keeping your head down. But you sacrifice ever knowing your true potential. And you risk boredom; when the path is fully laid out for you, there’s no adventure.
At our first Path to Profit: Design Your Roadmap to Success live event last December, my husband spoke about his experience of being an Ironman athlete and how that has changed his life. He was nervous, uncomfortable and scared but his authenticity and vulnerability made an impact on the room that surprised him. I can’t wait to see how his courage to take that first step grows when he speaks again at our next event in March.
Living with originality takes some courage for sure, but the rewards far outweigh the penalties of hiding your inner self.
Being original has a lot of perks:
- Greater fulfilment and personal satisfaction. Life has more meaning when it’s 100% authentic.
- Increased charisma. People will find you more interesting and pay attention to you more. Authentic people are attractive to pretty much everyone.
- Greater ability to take risks and be creative. Your life will have more depth and you’ll experience more success in every part of your life.
- By being original, you stand a chance to change the world. And regardless of what you do, you’ll surely be remembered. Only unique people do great things. Average people do average things.
Try these ideas to cultivate your originality:
- Be aware of who you are inside. This may take some thought, especially if you spend all day working and all night watching television. Regularly spend quiet time with yourself. Contemplate who you are and what you stand for. Journaling is a powerful tool for self-discovery. Try spending 15 minutes daily writing with no particular focus or come back tomorrow for some writing prompts on courage.
- Express yourself freely. Give your opinions without judging yourself, especially when you’re asked for them. Let people know what you think without being unkind. Allow yourself to have your own style, whether it’s your taste in music, your profession, or just what to wear today.
- Avoid worrying about others’ opinions. The big secret is that they’re probably worried about what you think of them. Chances are good that nobody is spending much time thinking about any of us. And there’s nothing more attractive to others than someone that moves through the world confidently and without apology.
- Just be yourself and let the chips fall where they may. You’ll be surprised how easy it is once you try it. It’s analogous to being afraid of the dark; there’s simply nothing there to fear.
Consider famous people like Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, and others. Do you know of another person who is anything like any of them? They’re originals.
People who conform can never really stand out unless they’re in extraordinary circumstances. Maybe you’re not the next Albert Einstein, but how will you ever know if you decide to continue working a dead end job all your life even though you want to quit and study physics?
Being original is about having the courage to be yourself and letting the world know who you are. This isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary to truly experience the depth of your life.
Have the courage to be unique! You’ll live in an intensely fulfilled way and you’ll be remembered long after you’re gone.
What do you have the courage to do differently this year?