How do I make a mark when it seems everything that can be created, said or done has been created, said or done by someone else?
No field is too crowded to make a mark when you’re remarkable. Click here to tweet!
In fact, the very existence of a robust market filled with competition and a near cacophony of voices is a signpost of demand, which in business, is a good thing as long as you do one big thing…
Become the signal, not the noise.
There are two things you really need to own, hone and cultivate if you want to burst onto a massively crowded scene.
Embrace your eyes, ears and filters.
The way you see the world is unlike anyone else. Put 100 people in a room, surprise them with a dramatized alarming incident, then interview them after and you’ll get 100 different stories about what happened. 100 people see the exact same thing, but experience it and process it differently. The filter you bring to any experience literally alters what you believe you see and hear. Often on the level of gross distortion.
This may not serve you well in eyewitness scenarios, but in everyday day, the unique perspective you bring to any situation can be become a huge asset. Your unique world-view and life experience makes you experience circumstances differently. It allows you to see possibilities and connections that nobody else sees.
This blends with the “fact” of a circumstance to fuel a synthesis of ideas that are unique to you and only you. In a conversation with story guru, Robert McKee, as few years ago, I asked McKee how he defines talent. His answer – talent is the ability to see how two ideas blend together to create something bigger than both that nobody else sees.
So, truth is, it doesn’t matter how many others are operating in the same space as you. They are not you. They don’t experience that space the way you do, or bring the same world-view, filters, mental models and lenses to it. They don’t see what you see, nor assemble the pieces and come up with the same conclusions.
That’s advantage number one. Our unique experience intake and synthesis process.
But it won’t get you where you want to go. There’s something else…
Cultivate your authentic voice.
This is where craft becomes a core differentiator. It’s not enough to take things in and process them differently, you’ve also got to be able to turn that into output that not only clearly expresses your unique point of view, but does so in a voice that is unique to you.
Here’s where I see so many entrepreneurs, writers, artists and creators go wrong. They have something extraordinary in their heads, but they don’t trust in their ability to share it in a compelling enough way through their own authentic voice. So, they either dumb it down, bor-ify it or find the 5 people in the space who seem to be kicking ass and adopt an amalgam of those peoples’ voices.
We all have influences we’re drawn to. And, it’s not unusual that we draw pieces from those influences along the way to cultivating our own voices.
But, long term, borrowing from others is death to differentiation. And, it’s death to the maker looking to make a mark.
You MUST cultivate both the confidence and craft to be able to express what’s in your head in a voice that is fully aligned with who you are, not with the 5 people you want to be. If you don’t, people will dismiss the quality of your ideas as derivative. Not because they’re bad, but because the voice you’re using to share them is just an amalgam of other, already known voices.
So, to wrap things up, own your lens and your process, cultivate your voice, align them with your authentic self when you bring them to the world in the glorious story that is you. Doesn’t matter whether you’re selling doughnuts, creating online content, building businesses or starting movements that change lives.
This may take time. Months, maybe years. But it’s time well spent.
So, what do YOU think?
How have you worked to emerge in a crowded field?
Share your thoughts in the comments below…
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