How To Stand Out Without Looking At Others
Knowing what makes you stand out over the long term, becomes the path to follow, not someone else’s.
When it comes to creating and building your space, for many people it’s either a case of taking from what has already been done, or feeling uneasy as ‘there is already a me out there.’
When you lean into your own intuition and not emulate, you start to realise that you’re not competing with anyone. You’re just trying to push what you do to a better place.
What I want to share with you here are the ways that can help you stand out. As long as you can engage an audience and be interesting, you can build on that. Let’s look at what it takes to be the person that people want to join in with.
Sharing The Proof
Standing out can be tricky. Trying to stand out too much, can mean that people are ready to call you out.
This is why it is easier to play it safe. Watch below to see what I mean. Looking back now, the reason for fitting in was so I would be taken seriously and as a way for others to accept me.
When I started You Are The Media, I had no reference or benchmark to follow. It wasn’t taking inspiration from something else. When you have a blank piece of paper and nothing to copy, it is difficult to know if what you are doing is right. It is the audience you build that decides for you.
Over the years, the more active I have been, the more it has helped me reflect, document and share with you. It has also helped my confidence to push myself.
For instance, You Are The Media Lunch Club was our first step into the live event space (from 2016 to 2020). It followed a format of many in-person events, where there was a topic, a guest and an interview. What made it different from other events was the high energy and looking to create a show element to it (this became easier when we moved to YATM Online shows in 2020). This now has its mark in 2022 for YATM Game Nite.
It was more about people leaving knowing they had an enjoyable time with others than it was around the central topic. From crowd surfing to different people taking turns to present, it became the YATM way to stand out.
We did all this as no one else had done it. It was a blank sheet of paper.
Don’t believe me, watch this.
You don’t need to follow the rules as they have existed.
Why This Matters To You
When you have nothing to compare yourself to, you have no one else to emulate.
Earning attention for the work you do is hard and takes a lot of effort, but it will also be the most rewarding.
Your audience is seeing more messages in front of them than ever before. However, there are pockets around them that are unserved. This could be centred on sharing knowledge to just enjoying being around others that are like them.
When there are interesting problems for you to solve, there is a place for what you do and to stand out.
So, Why Do People Fail?
Success has told us we have to follow the standards set.
If fitting in is your objective, there is an army of advice and support waiting for you. Alternatively, when you lean into your intuition and look in closely at what you do, you start to realise the threads that you need to address.
Standing out means paying attention at what is surrounding you, rather than someone else. It doesn’t have to mean exuberance or shouting loudly.
Trisha Lewis highlights in ‘The Mystery of the Squashed Self’ when people stop being themselves and follow the rules. ‘You have a strong personality that is bursting to come out and play. You are just not quite owning that personality or your ideas enough. So when they do pop out to play, they immediately go and join the popular gang and agree with everything the leader says! The anger you feel when you ‘wimp out’ or ‘get led down the wrong road’ is likely to be frustration at yourself for not being yourself.’
What Can Work
Standing out means looking at the work you do and then choosing to do things your way, that feels right for others.
Here are some suggestions on standing out that is more about your style and your own stamp so others want to join in.
👍 Varying the type of content you create.
Sticking to one rigid format can be limiting. I am currently testing different formats and seeing what resonates. Trevor Young shared this idea of breaking your content into different themes. Trevor says, ‘There are different types of content, they serve different purposes and, for best results, it’s a good idea to mix ’em up!’
👍 Finding your voice and becoming comfortable with it.
This means being transparent and finding a connection between you and someone else. It means that when someone comes back you’re still the same person and not a version of yourself you want to show. Your voice is what makes you stand out and to someone else, they know you care.
👍 Learn from outside the business world.
If you are influenced by what your peers have done, your work can start to replicate what is already available. Learn from entertainers or musicians as that shows how others have built around their craft. For instance, when we delivered YATM Online (2020 to 2022) it wasn’t a webinar, it became a show with different segments. Our YATM Game Nite would have been called networking, but we have a huge element of play where people bring board games.
👍 Learn from the people you reach out to.
When you can pick up on feedback from your audience, it helps you to focus. It’s about your message or experience aligning with others. You start to put your finger on what matters to them. This encourages your style of delivery and to open up and deliver your best work.
👍 Champion the up-and-comers.
Standing out means putting the spotlight on people who are not necessarily industry superstars, but possess so much knowledge and capability. This means you leap out in unison. For instance, YATM Good Bad is where other people get the chance to host on LinkedIn Audio and ask others how their week has been. This has brought out talented presenters who may never had the opportunity.
When you stand out, you do it in a way where people say ‘you’re speaking to me.’
With the work you create, you have a choice. Are you doing it to fit in, or doing it to stand out?
The willingness to be different and lean into your own style is what can become a huge upside to what you do.
Trusting your intuition is what keeps you away from the industry roadmaps and adhering to past successes of others. What you are doing is finding patterns from showing up and fine-tuning, over time. This is what makes you stand out, by practicing and getting better at being you, so you’re not competing with anyone.