Stand up and stand out

As our world becomes smaller and our vast amount of choices becomes greater, you and I become invisible. There are multiple reasons for our camouflage.

First, in efforts to blend in or become well rounded (colleges like to promote this one) we become just like everyone else that has a degree.

Second, fear has made us invisible. Fear of success. Fear of failure. Both keep most people from standing up and standing out from the sea of faces in the ocean of humanity.

Every time I drive to my father-in-law’s, Rodger’s, house I am reminded of the importance of standing out in positive ways. He lives on a busy residential road, cars racing past the 35-mph speed limit sign. Several years ago, he painted his mailbox in a zebra scheme. Too often, his visitors kept driving past his home, never noticing the marked driveway until it was too late.

Seeing the turn off at the last minute, the guests would slam on the breaks, often igniting road rage in the tailgaters behind them. And this was during broad daylight, imagine the scene at night. Who could blame the visitors for their inability to find the house from the cookie-cutter mailboxes dotting the road from end to end, hidden in plain sight like shells along the beach rather than identifying landmarks.

Tired of blending in, my father-in-Law decided to become visible. Now, no visitors ever miss the turn. The great part is what has happened since. His neighbors now use his mailbox as a point of reference to find their houses. Rodger has become the beacon for his neighborhood.

Too many people & organizations are trying hard to attract new customers, be discovered, get hired, or make a bigger impact, but their efforts are buried by overwhelming amounts of spam (human and electronic) and other interruptions, so we simply ignore it all. Traditional advertising doesn’t work anymore. Mass tweeting your system of success doesn’t work. An 8 1/2 x 11 resume listing your qualifications doesn’t work anymore either. It all blends into the background of white noise that surrounds us.

What are you doing to make yourself prominent? Do you challenge mediocrity and the status quo? What makes the world notice you in a positive way?

I’ll leave you with this thought from my friend Chris at Lessons from the Cockpit:

Unless you thrive on anonymity, we must take the reigns of our own destinies by standing up and standing out, ensuring our faces are seen and our voices heard.

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