How To Gain The Courage To Be Different

How To Gain The Courage To Be Different

One of the most interesting questions I’ve received is, “How can we gain the courage to be different?”

That’s a great question. Many of our problems in business and life come down to fear. Fear protects us and, unfortunately, it limits us.

Most of my readers now recognize that “different is better than better.” But it can be frustrating when you or the people you work with aren’t willing to take the steps necessary to step out and be different.

So let’s look at what it takes to be different and how we can muster up the courage to be our unique selves.

On Being Different

Looking at it from a sociological perspective, our society both shuns and glorifies those who are different. Our society is kind of bi-polar that way.

You can love Kanye West’s music, but also think he’s a completely insane person. You can glorify some of the ways he is different and vilify others.

You can walk into any high school and see just how those who stray from the norm are treated.

When you think about it, being different is a minefield! Why would anyone take a chance and try to be different?

So, when you walk up to an architect and say, “we need to be completely different than any other architecture firm…”

…He or she will probably agree with you on principle.

But ask that same architect to do something wildly different and she/he will probably decline.

It’s actually been drilled into our head not to be different.

So, Where Do You Get The Courage?

You test being different. And you test in “Low Consequence Environments.”

For example, if you want to test being different in your proposals…

…test it when the odds aren’t in your favor.

If you are an engineer that wants to be better at networking…

…test it at a networking event where there are no possible clients.

In Low Consequence Environments, if you fail…there’s no real consequence.

Once you test it, ask yourself, “Is this what I’m afraid of?”

Like anything else, once you do it a few times, it’s not that scary.

Now it’s your turn. Submit a comment and give us some examples of people being afraid to be different.


  1. I think my business does much better when I don’t worry about being different. The example is ME. I do worry about being different and think that no one will want what I offer. But when I take a good look at how I am different and how that benefits clients and potential clients, I embrace the difference. It’s a struggle, though.

Speak Your Mind