As the gasps turned into titters, then into full-blown hilarity, I turned around slowly to face the mirror. A cold creeping horror washed over me as I realised my nightmare was in full swing.
I’d arrived at the party without putting in my contact lenses, without putting on my makeup, and without putting on a pretty dress.
There I was, in my full ugly-glasses, spotty-face, style-less glory, in the spotlight at the Christmas disco.
And there was my entire judo club peer group, including the girls I admired and the boy I fancied, laughing at me.
I was experiencing the worst possible thing that could ever happen to a teenager: standing out and being punished for it.
This was my nightmare.
Thankfully, it never actually happened to me, but I had a constant low-level anxiety about going to parties. This exact scenario was a recurring nightmare and, when I’m feeling low, it still crops up (at the age of closer-to-40-than-I’d-like). A wave of hot embarrassment and anxiety is spilling out of my brain just thinking about turning up to a party wearing my glasses and an inappropriate dress and with my hair looking like crap.
Our teenage years are all about fitting in with the group.
And for teenage me, with my ugly milk-bottle glasses, that was my main goal. I did not want to be noticed for having awful glasses, bad skin, and terrible hair. I didn’t want to be noticed at all.
And who could blame me? After all, 3.8 billion years of evolution has driven us to fit in above all else. Sticking our heads above the parapet and being noticed isn’t just terrifying, it could mean a death sentence.
Fitting in is crucial if we want to survive in polite (or impolite) society.
But in business, blending in will destroy you.
There are a lot of businesses out there all doing more-or-less what you’re doing. What you’re offering isn’t unique; not really. What I’m offering isn’t unique.
There are a bazillion other copywriters and marketers out there, doing similar stuff to what I’m doing, when we get right down to it.
There are a bazillion other accountants and life coaches and business coaches doing similar stuff. And there are a bazillion other personal trainers out there, helping people get fit and lose weight.
If you want to sell more, to the best customers, you need to stand out like a flamingo at a penguin party. Find what makes you different. What makes you unique?
Find a way to flamingo your business.
A new book coming out in June explains exactly why we struggle to stand out — and what you can do about it. Pre-register at www.vickyfraser.com/flamingo.