These are some of the thoughts I have from a long summer of thinking about serious shift.
- The only way to really become amazing is to accept that half-measures won’t work. The only way to grow is to abandon your strategy of doing what you did yesterday, only better. What worked before won’t work for much longer. Commit to something new.
- Amazing isn’t defined by you – it’s defined by me (or your audience.) Is your audience going to say “Wow! That’s amazing!”? If not, then you’re average, and average is for those who want to become a commodity and compete on price.
- Being noticed isn’t the same as being amazing. If all that your effort is going to achieve is to get people to notice, you’re wasting your time and mistaking action for achievement. Amazing is amazing.
- Passion is a requirement for being amazing. You have to believe in the importance of your work and its benefit to others.
- Amazing is found on the fringe. Think about it. We all get comfortable with the accepted norm, and then we hear about a new idea, a new band, a new show or a new way of doing something familiar that makes it amazing. By the time amazing becomes an everyday occurrence, there is something more amazing on the fringe to discover again.
- Most people won’t understand why you want to be amazing, and they’ll try to talk you out of it. This shouldn’t surprise you; most people are so lost defending the status quo and hiding in what makes them feel safe and powerful that your desire to do something meaningful and amazing will frighten or offend them. Remember that you are not trying to please everyone. Your goal is to please only those who actually care, speak up and spread the word. Average is for people who know what things cost but not what they are worth.
- Part of doing something amazing is to do something first and best. If whatever it is you do can be found in a manual, or if it’s accepted wisdom (this is how everyone does it), or – heaven forbid – you can find it in a “For Dummies” book, then it’s boring, not amazing, and people will pay as little as possible for it.
- Being amazing isn’t as scary as you think. The defenders of the status quo (your manager who brings nothing but noise to your life) will threaten you will all kinds of imagined devastating outcomes if you shake it up too much, but check the score card. When companies make layoffs or whole industries collapse, it’s the average people who get blown up. The amazing people who are comfortable on the fringe always find, or make, new opportunities.
- Smaller is better. I’d rather have the attention of a few people who are obsessively focused on what I do rather than having thousands of people who are sorta/kinda/a little interested in what I’m working on.
- Repeat. Whatever you did that made you amazing is now the status quo. You can ride it for a little while, but not for too long. You have to commit to being remarkable again, and sooner than you think. See Radiohead’s complete body of work for a wonderful audio example of this.
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