The great un-equalizers in life and business.

There are nearly 8 billion people on Earth. Which, according to my quick math, equals a lot of competition.

Every time you apply for a job, promotion, or elected position, someone else will want it too. Just ask Napoleon and Pedro.

Want to woo an attractive mate? Join the crowd. Want to join a team, cast, club, or society? Get in line. Want a pound of that sandwich-sliced turkey breast? Take a number.

It’s important to have an impressive resume. Skillz are good. Experience is helpful. Knowledge is nice. References are respectable. Connections are cool, Jay. But your competitors will have all of those too. And perhaps theirs will be better than yours.

However, the great difference-makers in life don’t show up on your resume, your transcripts, or your personal win-loss ledger.

Online dating sites can’t capture the great difference-makers either. If they did we would have a lot fewer dating disaster stories to share.

Your Way

The secret ingredients that set you apart in life and business are your personality and style. Their importance can’t be overstated. If you have no personality or style you have no chance. If your personality and style are indistinguishable, so are you.

By developing a unique and interesting flavor you stand out. You get noticed. You become memorable. And interesting. And attractive. And sought after. That’s how you win in Nashville, Hollywood, Wall Street, Main Street, and at the Kollege Klub.

Key Takeaway

Embrace your own personality and style. Develop your own voice. Find your own flavor. It will become your unfair advantage in life. And in a crowd of 8 billion people, you could use every advantage you can get.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more life lessons I have learned on my adventure on Earth, check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Are you too vanilla to be successful?

I recently got a phone call from a CEO. He told me that he was worried about his organization’s brand. The company had hired another advertising agency to jazz up their image. But he felt like what they came back to them with was very vanilla. I pondered the idea of very vanilla. As if there was mediocrity, and then there was extreme mediocrity.

He knew his business couldn’t win against formidable foes with vanilla. He knew he couldn’t motivate his considerable team with vanilla. And he knew he couldn’t recruit top talent with vanilla. Vanilla is flat. Undifferentiated. Forgettable.

person holding vanilla ice cream on cone
In business vanilla is the kiss of death. Or maybe it’s the lick of death.

I knew I could help him. I have spent my career helping brands find their flavor. And vanilla is simply not on the menu.

We spoke for an hour. I shared how my team at The Weaponry would approach their brand development needs. Which included developing differentiated processes, products and services so that they truly had something interesting and ownable to talk about. Even if it didn’t exist today.

I enjoyed our conversation. But I was curious how he found me. And why he thought I was the right person to call.

Then he shared the following.

‘Adam, I don’t know much about The Weaponry. Or the type of work you usually do. But I saw you speak several months ago. And I remember you not seeming very vanilla. And I figured you could help us seem not vanilla too.’

Key Takeaway

If you want to be remembered you can’t be vanilla. You have to differentiate yourself in positive and meaningful ways. You can differentiate your personal brand by doing things differently. By breaking rules. And adding extra-anything to your personal recipe. Like energy or thoughtfulness. Or excluding a common ingredient altogether. Like shaving, laziness, alcohol, or pants.

Your business can differentiate itself with personality, product or process. You can stand out because of your pricing or packaging. You can be remembered for your people or your promise. Or simply be doing unreasonable things on behalf of your customers. But whatever you do, don’t be vanilla. Vanilla is the flavor of the crowd.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.