Every business article seems to talk about what you should be doing to stand out from the pack. Get noticed. Be different. Yet every time I browse online or stroll through social media it seems like more of the same.
So lately I have been struggling a bit, wondering what I could do to stand out from the pack; to be conspicuous, to be different. This is not about being unhappy or insecure in my abilities. Not in the least. In today’s social business world comprised of quickly moving streams it is simply getting harder and harder to get noticed.
Yet in reality, making such a concerted effort to stand out would mean trying to be something I am not. I do not stand out from the pack. Never have and never will. Typically I don’t make a concerted effort to stand out, nor to fit in. That is me, even if it is not always enough.
Coincidentally (or perhaps not) the other night I was having that internal debate with myself once again as I wrote this post about saving vanilla crops and as I watched my son devour a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Then it dawned on me. You know what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with being vanilla.
Though it may get a bad rap in these days of 31,000 flavors, vanilla is in its natural, original state. It is associated with comfort, well-being and simplicity. Vanilla is the primary note in most fragrances. It has calming effects, known to reduce stress and anxiety in others.
Generations ago, vanilla beans were even used as an antidote for venomous bites. Today it is added to recipes to reduce the acidity of the other flavors. And despite the vast assortment of ice cream flavors on the planet, vanilla is still consistently voted the favorite.
Maybe for vanilla folks like me we should stop attempting to display qualities which we do not possess and focus on being more of who we already are instead. We can be strong and valuable while being consistent with our true selves. After all, vanilla is more versatile than it gets credit for. It has the ability to please all on its own or to enhance the flavors which surround it.