Here’s a question for you. (It’s one I ask myself when my visibility efforts are feeling a bit meh.)
The question is this; what am I doing differently to everyone else in my industry?
Obviously, there’s a time in every career where the most important thing to focus on is understanding and mastering industry standards. There’s so much collective knowledge in every industry and it’s imperative to draw from that when you’re new to that space.
But that period doesn’t last forever. Eventually, you’ve learned enough to step out of that period of initiation, or really active learning role.
Then you’ll be ready to step forward as a leader. As a new voice or a change-maker. (Incidentally, becoming a change-maker is the third phase in the Visibility Rites of Passage which you can learn more about here.)
When you’re becoming a change-maker, the question of difference is essential to sit with. You don’t need to be wildly different and you don’t need to be doing 100 things differently to everyone else. You just need to be unique in some way.
Your uniqueness might be expressed through:
- THE WAY YOU WORK Perhaps you’re far more consistent than most people in your industry, or you’re more efficient, or you follow the path of the feminine when everyone in your industry is unquestioningly following an old masculine model.
- THE TOPICS YOU DISCUSS Here at the School of Visibility we weave personal development expertise with feminist philosophy and a comprehensive understanding of, and background in, social justice. We do that through the lens of visibility, to support women-centric businesses and communities to be more impactful in the world. That’s a pretty specific weaving of topics which for a long time I felt quite afraid to fully embrace thanks to a visibility fear around bridging worlds but which now I realise, is our superpower.
- THE WAY YOU APPROACH A COMMON PROBLEM If you examine large and very successful businesses, you’ll find that this is often the key to their success. They looked at a problem in the world and came up with a completely different way of resolving it than had previously been thought of. Remember the way you used to manage your music collection before Apple invented the iPod? It’s a classic example of looking outside of your industry, seeing a problem, and using the expertise you’ve developed within your own industry to solve it.
- THE TONE OF YOUR WORK Perhaps you’re funny when everyone else is serious, or vice versa. See Hannah Gadsby’s ‘Nanette’ as a brilliant example of this. She disrupted the way comedy shows were perceived by daring to introduce extremely serious social commentary right in the middle of her comedy set. Her approach was so unique that Netflix took note and she was catapulted from well known local comedian to an internationally recognised industry disruptor.
So, that’s my invitation for you to ponder this week; what are you doing differently from everyone else in your industry? Or what could you be doing differently?