In my freshman college dorm, I was known as “Soccer Pete”. The reason for the name was pretty obvious. There was another guy named Pete who lived in Pocomoke Hall and it cut down on the confusion. Since I was on the soccer team and mildly obsessed with the sport, it stuck. The nickname spread to the point that when I would meet new people, I sometimes heard “Oh you’re ‘Soccer Pete'”. This all happened organically and through no influence of mine. However I knew the importance of standing out from one of my soccer coaches earlier that summer.
My coach, Tom Zingale, had a successful soccer career and was trying out for the United States Olympic team. On the first day of tryouts, each player was given a white uniform and a red uniform. Tom knew the competition was going to be tough on the field, so he did something to make himself stand out on the field. He did his laundry right away! This was a stroke of genius! The reason that it was brilliant was that he washed his red uniform and white uniform together. His red uniform’s colors ran and turned the white one pink. So when Tom stepped out on the field, he looked like walking cotton candy. The other trialists gave him plenty of inventive nicknames but at the end of the tryout he had the last laugh. He made the team and in a conversation with the coach it became obvious to all that his strategy had worked.
Coach: “We’ll need to find someone to help you with your laundry.”
Tom: “I know how to do laundry.”
Coach: “Yeah right! Then why is your uniform pink?
Tom: “What’s my name?”
In that silence it became evident that Tom had made himself standout. Now obviously if he had no soccer skill, then his plan would have failed. However with the right combination of skill and individuality, he was able to get exactly what he was after.
So my suggestion to you is to be a definite article! Be THE one that people think about when they think of your thing. This should be a combination of skill and individuality. Make yourself the undeniable choice for one reason or another. DO NOT JUST DRESS UP IN PINK unless that’s you’re thing. You can stand out by being the definitive best in your field. Being the only one who is using technology to solve problems in your industry may be your way to standout. Own it completely and be comfortable with the choice to be you. This may include having to say “I’m not for you.” Punk rock is my favorite type of music. When given the choice, it is THE one that I pick most often. However it’s not for everyone and embracing that fact is better than being a watered-down version of everyone else. So go out today, in your work, in your relationship and in your life and be THE YOU that you want to be. The world won’t know that they were looking for that you until you’ve shown up!
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