Stand out by being OUTSTANDING. It’s a play on words that I usually find rather repulsing and a silly attempt to get one’s self remembered. As I thought about this on one of my many “venting” drives through town, I began to wonder where excellence, pride and extra effort has gone. Perhaps I like this because I thought of it, but none the less it’s something that has been persistently confronting me over the past few months.
The desire to stand out is great. Recognition in front of an audience for something well done, praise and adoration from a boss or loved one, catching the eye of another across the vast and crowded room… we all have a desire to receive that attention and probably at one point or another deserve to have it. Whether it’s by staying late after work, cooking an amazing dinner or charming another with playful and insightful conversation, the intended derivative is the recognition from someone else. I make no argument that recognition is wrong. We were made to be loved and to love.
But I have observed that the desire to stand out is generally greater than the desire to be outstanding. People want recognition without the work, ethics and discipline that it takes to earn the respect and trust of others. They want to be number one without really being number one. Gone is the day of excellence as commonplace, something to be expected. Think about the last time a business or person really stood out in your mind. Did they do something with thought or something unexpected? Did their effort show? Were they a clear representation of the hard work they put in behind the scenes? Now think about this, how often do you run into businesses or people like this? My guess is not often.
I’ve found over the past few months that big talk isn’t the best way to stand out. It’s yours and my commitment to excellence and the determination to be inwardly complete before outwardly expressing that. It’s a commitment to being outstanding, especially when people aren’t watching. It’s a commitment to being different and not cutting corners. It’s the clearest and most concise way to stand out, by being outstanding.
Wouldn’t it be great if we all aimed for that this week?
Regards, Stephen Rice