The following is a guest post from Kevin Anthony Williams, a business consultant and career coach. Find out more about Kevin at kevinanthonywilliams.com. I also suggest you sign up to get a free download of his “Defining You, Inc.” guide. It’s an invaluable tool for your personal growth and development.
Now, onto Kevin!
When I was in college, I had an opportunity to join a fraternity. Most of the people I hung out with at the time were either a part of the fraternity scene or wanted to be. The possibility of joining was a compelling social option, not to mention a great boost for my ego.
From my very limited perspective as a freshman, fraternity guys were the coolest on campus. They wore cool jerseys..usually at the same time. They dated pretty girls…usually from their sister sororities. They had pledge names. They had secrets. They seemed to be really tight with their fraternity “brothers” and it seemed like a great opportunity to make lifelong friends. Oh…and networking for future employment and business opportunities was always another popular selling point.
What college freshman wouldn’t want that? Let’s see – pretty girls, nicknames, inside stories, lifelong friends, cool paraphernalia that no one else could wear, networking. I’m all in!
Except I wasn’t.
Something just wasn’t adding up for me, so I decided not to pledge. Maybe it had something to do with the assumption that joining a fraternity was what you were supposed to do. There was a sameness to it that did not sit well with me. Besides, I seemed to always be the guy who did the opposite of what everyone else was doing.
Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to. – Alan Keightley
Conventional wisdom says, fit in. Conform. Don’t be too loud. Don’t cause a ruckus.
Doesn’t that sound boring to you? It sure does to me! But what if I told you that there is a better and more fulfilling way to live?
Let your values govern your life. Decide to be remarkable. Start by being yourself! Decide what you really want and then push it to the edge. Take it to the outer limits of what conventional wisdom considers normal.
Normal people do not change the world. No one talks about the guy who broke Roger Bannister’s record. Roger Bannister was the first to run a mile under four-minutes. He exceeded the limits of what the experts thought was possible and by doing that, he opened a world of possibility for others. That’s what remarkable does.
Here are five simple ways you can add “remarkable” to your own life-story, starting today:
1. Travel to a land far, far away.
If you don’t have a passport, apply for one by the end of the week. Once you get a passport, buy a ticket to a country far, far away. You would be surprised just how much you can learn simply from walking through a foreign airport. Use the local method of transportation, eat the native food, and ask a stranger to give you a short tour of their town.
If you commit to immersing yourself in the culture this way, even if its just for a few days, the experience will become a permanent part of who you are. Memorable and epic life experiences happen when you decide to become a participant in the world rather than just a spectator.
2. Take a strong, controversial stand for something you believe in.
There are too many people straddling the fence on important issues. Some matters in life are black and white. There are absolutes. There is a right opinion and a wrong one. Pick a side! Just be sure you know what you are talking about and have strong evidence to back up your point of view. Oh, and remember that strong and controversial does not necessarily mean that you have to be loud and angry (although there are times when this is also appropriate), otherwise you will just be viewed as a hothead.
3. Be interested and interesting.
Have you ever met someone and after a 15 minute conversation you felt they genuinely cared about you? Isn’t that an awesome feeling? It is hardwired into every human being to want to feel special. People want to be around others that make them feel welcome, wanted and heard. The art of engaging and connecting with others is quite possibly the most important discipline you could add to your life. How many broke and lonely people do you know who have mastered the art of genuinely connecting and relating with others? Chances are the answer is none.
As you become more interested in others, they will become more interested in you. You want to be sure to have something that you can add to the interaction.
So how do you become more interesting? Decide that you are going master the gifts, talents and abilities that were given to you and stop comparing yourself to others. Besides, why would you want to live someone else’s life?
4. Develop the mindset of abundance.
There is enough prosperity for all. No one has to lose in order for you to win. The way to stand out from any supposed competition is by being yourself. This applies whether you are self-employed or if you are an employee of any kind. Discover what makes you unique and let that shine in the way you serve your customers or employers.
I must warn you that not everyone will agree with your decision to be remarkable. Most people are comfortable with being average. It is a major commitment and these steps are just the beginning. Be encouraged. As you commit to living differently than the unremarkably average, you will find that other remarkable people will seek you out and you will discover new ways to be remarkable.
Question: In what ways will you decide to be remarkable?
Kevin Anthony Williams is a consultant and career coach based in Dallas, TX. He helps corporate professionals “pull off the mask” to redefine personal success and navigate the difficult transition of reinventing themselves. Visit Kevin’s blog at kevinanthonywilliams.com.