This is a great question that can be answered with many answers.
Simply, and as cliche as it is, it is to believe in yourself and promote your true self. Simon Sinek wrote a book called "Start with WHY" and it is about finding out WHY you do things and start with telling people why you do things instead of what you do.
Mostly everyone promotes WHAT they do and HOW they are different from everyone else who does the same thing they do.
I firmly believe Sinek is correct when he says to start with telling people WHY you do what you do then tell them how you do it. Once you start to apply this to everyday life, you will notice yourself become different from your peers. It will be subtle but this is a way to stay true to who you are and what you believe and you can be a leader with that.
Alec is spot on with his description of tapping your "why."
I would add that another big potential differentiator is being sharply attuned to your audience--how they define success, where their pain points exist and the dynamic of their world.
When you make discussions--whether they're focused on networking, prospecting or sales--about them, not you, you will stand out.
If you wish to discuss, send me a PM through Clarity for 15 free minutes.
Living authentically is what happens when you operate out of presence. Many "character" flaws are rooted in old and inefficient mental programming that may be discarded once you separate your true self from your "learned or socialized" self.
When you live in harmony with what is right now - inspiration comes to you and you automatically are able to discern what you're meant to do within each moment. This is where true insight comes from.
Just be yourself! Even when they are you peers that doesn't mean that you are all the same.
You are unique, be authentic, if you think something is not right say it , raise the voice, dare. Be confident.
I don't know where you work but don't just try to be faster and better, that is simply NOT sustainable. I am not saying you shouldn't strive for excellence, but it is like if every business would try to compete with pricing and in today's world it is about value, your value, what you bring to the table.
By being yourself you will always add that value.
Have a wonderful day and I hope you get where you want to :)
Start by asking yourself: What do you want people to say about you when you are not in the room?
How do you want to be known? When people talk about you, how do you want them to describe you?
Now go back to your business: how do you become that person? And how do you manage your actions to always reinforce that person?
As part of this exercise also consider:
- What do you enjoy doing?
- What do you enjoy learning?
- What comes naturally to you?
Use this information to create a description that can apply to you and only you (it may not be one single trait, but it is a combination of traits). Then be that person, and project it clearly.
It also helps to do all this with a brainstorming partner, so you can talk it through out loud.
If you look at competitors or books from branding experts or even books written by professionals wanting to help others in their industry, you'll see the same kind of language:
"wide range of services"
"meet your business needs"
Everyone looks and sounds identical.
And the value proposition boils down to: "Hire us because
To differentiate yourself, you need to change your language. Stop talking about "the thing." There's a saying about doctors: they fall in love with the disease, but forget about the patient. You need to remember about the patient.
I made a video blog discussing exactly this: https://www.jasonkanigan.org/what-to-do-if-you-are-a-commodity/
Perception is reality. You have to position yourself as the celebrity authority. You have to be the go to guy/lady. In order to be viewed as different and hence possessing more leverage over others.
It's all a matter of how you position yourself, your brand, your service etc.
You differentiate yourself from your peers by being who you were meant to be - and no one else. Here's a way to think about how to get to where you want to go...
First, decide you are worthwhile and then discover what makes you special and unique in the world. Take whatever time to uncover your true interests. Then, find a way to express your interests and/or share them with others out in the world - and look for ways to match your combination of abilities, values, talent and skills to support your interests.
It might help to think in terms of "interests", not "passions". Passions, even the deepest feelings about things, will come and go, and one day you'll find yourself asking whether you should continue on in a direction because you don't "feel" like it anymore.
When you lose your passion, there is nothing set and ready to replace the wandering feelings that inevitably creep into your head. Aloneness, confusion, and fear can take hold.
When you live with passions and not interests, there is no "why" to fall back on. No formed structure to build on or grab hold of in any way when times are rough.
Take the time to uncover your deep interests, and then layer on top your uniqueness + time + efforts, etc. Living and moving forward in this way allows you to (almost always) wake up from a crappy night of sleep - or failed startup, or broken relationship, etc. - and still have something to hold onto that is real. Aligning with interests always provides you with a pre-defined sense of direction to fall back on.
By aligning with and working from a real set of interests (also called your "why") people will see you (as differentiated). Your differentiated self will grow from what you learn about yourself and what you do and how you act with what you know.
If you are in business, apply that same thinking above to business. Start with the center ring and move outward. Ask yourself: What do you like and believe in? What can you do better than others? What does the world need?
Then once you have answers, look for ways to move forward and talk about what makes you unique and the problems you can solve and how you can solve them better than others.
Hope this was helpful. - cm
Human beings live in groups for survival, pleasure etc. and that is just fine. But in order to truly be you, you have to have the courage and freedom to step out of groups every once in a while and be very much alone with yourself, your thoughts. Only then you have a clear shot at exiting group think and connecting to your core as well as applying your own mind thoroughly.
Then ask yourself: what do you think to be true that very few people agree with you on? What topic do you really care about? And how does your view of that topic differ from mainstream? Elon Musk said in an interview that where you disagree with society/general belief lays your opportunity for creating differentiated value.
To do create that value you need to go back to the very first principles of your topic ("reasoning from first principles and not by analogy") and work your way up from there until you reach an idea that is based on facts, but different from what's already out there.
To come up with original ideas and the "original you" I'd also suggest to combine topics, interests, traits that do not usually co-exist/meet. For example: In martial arts training I've overcome a "stubborn" plateau by going to some ballet classes. I did not need more muscles or technique to get stronger kicks, just more balance!
Last but not least it's about mental toughness and consistency. Fundamental change and discovery do not come easy. Peer groups as well as society as a whole are used to putting people into boxes because categorization leads to order- which we all crave in this chaotic world. So if you start differentiating yourself you will encounter adversity of some kind. Face that openly and with humility, but at the same time with much confidence. You should learn from others and appreciate them, always, everyone knows something you do not- but at the same time their limits are not yours.
All the best!