How to stand out in a world that asks you to fit in

Nothing is more liberating than being yourself as fully as you know how.

You can stare down the potential for rejection with less fear than what is stirred when you stare down living as an imposter.

Real people do not allow that fear to prevent them from being their own, unique person. And they are constantly focused on being true to themselves. Every moment of every single day.

To be bold takes daily practice and it is a choice. It means choosing not to hide when things get weird, and – in turn – becomes a gift in that you will feel confident in being yourself in front of anyone.

How badass is that?

It’s easy to feel intense amounts of discomfort when we are expressing how we feel. No, I have never met anyone who enjoys being uncomfortable. But the people who face this and move forward anyway are the ones we like to call bold.

They are the people who live big, bold beautiful lives.

There are several ways I’ve noticed these people differentiate themselves from the pack, and I’m going to list them here. If you’re reading through this list and you begin to talk shit to yourself, just know that feeling like you aren’t bold right now doesn’t mean you can’t get there.

Again, it’s all about the work you’re willing to invest in yourself.

You want it? Go get it, sister.

I’ll explain how afterward.

1. Stop apologizing for, or hiding how, you feel.

Don’t EVER pretend you feel any way when you, in fact, feel a totally different way. Pretending to be someone else (or feeling like you need to apologize for being you) means you aren’t sitting with that fear we’ve already talked about.

You will shine when you let yourself be vulnerable.

In a dizzying world, there are wonderous moments of beautiful life you couldn’t make up, but there is also a shit ton of imperfection. Often, we apologize for thoughts and feelings without even knowing if they are detrimental – mostly because we don’t want to displease anyone. When we do this, we are sacrificing our own voices and saying someone else’s feelings are more important than our own.

We are diluting ourselves for the comfort of others.

But through it all you know you’ll change, you’ll learn and shift paths again, and you’ll meet people who will completely transform your life for the best and worst.

Make sure you’re not changing for the sake of another person’s comfort. You don’t have enough time on this planet to worry about what others think. In the end, if you truly feel like you’ve done someone else a disservice, apologize for your mistake, ask for forgiveness (or forgive others), and choose to still feel completely and totally proud for never apologizing for something that doesn’t deserve apology.

2. Challenge Convention

According to the 2014 Forbes article, “Why the Future of Work is All About Challenging Convention,” Jacob Morgan explains that challenging convention actually means going against the commonly held assumptions our generation’s businesses are built on. Because, for the greater part of the last century, our business strategies and standards have sat stagnant.

With five new trends shaping the future of our work force – whether in entrepreneurship or not – these are things you need to be aware of as you build your own business.

The ease of finding information online, building communities and connecting with others makes your business much more public, more of the time. Plus, we have smart phones that make this information even more readily available.

With a generation of people cropping up and showing us their own expectations and standards, we’re going to need to learn to work with the Millennials. Technological improvements and the globalization of business are the last two of the trends he discusses. The first few seem obvious and it might seem easy to question whether or not they are trends, still businesses have seemingly adapted well.

The last few, however, are still questioned and overanalyzed.

Regardless of your thoughts on those trends, know new trends will continue to pop up. New user-friendly platforms will show up to help you with scheduling appointments, keeping track of all of your calendars, and hiring those weirdos who seem to be named Flower and Mable because it’s chic, but I’m getting away from the point…

Even big corporations are considering the monotony and practicality of their former daily practices, and they’re making big changes to the way they work.

So how does this relate to small business owners who are just starting out or wanting to make a big shift in their services?

If what you want to do means you’re going to have to move against the grain, then do it.

Common assumptions happen in day-to-day life and business. We see how someone else built their business and believe that’s the exact route we should take to build ours. Except the problem is you’re starting out at a disadvantage. You are not someone else. And you have no idea how or why that system worked for that person.

Could you possibly make it the same way? You betcha. But you’re going to have to put in the time and you’re probably making it 100 times harder than if you just trusted your own gut.

Let’s be real: Successful people put in decades of time before reaching star status and they certainly don’t follow someone else’s strategy.

The good news in this is also what scares us most. In today’s society, there isn’t one way to do anything. The world is dynamic and rapidly changing.

Collaboration is important. Research is easier than ever. Building a community and connecting via social media has changed the game. And everyone is sharing content constantly.

What does this mean?

Use those things to your advantage and stop believing you MUST do anything in a step by step process.

3. Use your damn voice

Speak and be unafraid when people hear you (yes, even when you’re giving an unpopular opinion). By taking a stand, you’re letting other people know of you and showing them what you’re about.

Make your points loud and clear, avoiding any kind of tone that might lead people to believe you are meek. Use language that conveys exactly what you are trying to say, instead of weakening your message by using words that dilute the power of your voice. No more “just” doing this or “only” certified in a certain way.

Talking shows the world you believe you count and you matter, and it makes you more visible (so finding others who are likeminded won’t be so hard).

4. Mess up

You simply can’t learn if you don’t make mistakes. You’ll never know what doesn’t work and what should be avoided. Stop feeling embarrassed by failure and start learning from it.

And the more you do this, the easier it becomes and the more resilient you feel, making your next move a little more graceful. Eventually, something will stick so beautifully, you’ll be glad you didn’t give up when a tinge of rejection made you feel like an asshat.

5. Take Action

All of the knowledge you have in your brain doesn’t do the world any good if you don’t put it to use. I see so many entrepreneurs buy course after course and hire countless coaches, only to stay in the same place.

They are looking for some magic pill that will eventually lead them to Emerald City. But the truth is constantly researching doesn’t leave much room for actually DOING anything.

And if you don’t DO, you certainly don’t build.

Stop reading books and try the theories you’ve read about. Hell, try something you’ve never read about but feel in your gut might work. This is what I tell my people – and those women act and see results.

6. Trust Yourself

You won’t follow through if you don’t trust yourself, and you can’t succeed if you don’t follow through.

It’s a bitch, right?

So mean and do what you say, and start trusting you’re doing it because you’re going to figure out the entrepreneurial world.

The bonus of doing this is very simple: When you start trusting in yourself more and knowing you can get the job done, you’ll likely start building trust in other people and giving them the opportunities you’ve always wanted to give.

7. Do what you would if you couldn’t fail.

Expect that you will succeed. Believe and envision it happening. See the money in your bank account, hear your voice on the TEDx stage, feel what it’s like to write the last line of your first book.

If you can convince yourself that the best is yet to come, then you can build the endurance and audacity to get up, try again, and brainstorm whatever the hell you want.

Never (ever) give up.

Opposing being yourself and using your God-given, useful and powerful voice is being dishonest (read: fake).

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