The #1 way to set yourself apart from the competition
Have you ever heard the saying “Don’t let your food get cold watching what’s on someone else’s plate?” or “The grass is greener where it’s watered?” Both are cautionary tales for what happens we focus so much on competition that we lose sight of ourselves.
At the root of both these sayings is a singular message; focus on your purpose. But you might be asking the million dollar question I, and I’m sure many other still struggle with: What exatcly is your purpose? And how do you figure it out?
As a kid, I remember going to church youth camps almost every summer. At each one there was an altar call that seemed to come with a promise that the clearly defined will of God would be revealed once those hands were raised, confessions were made and Jesus was accepted into your heart (even if it was for like, the 127th time like me). I was probably born again as a christian no less than 39 times between the ages of 7 and 17. Basically every time they had an altar call I raced to the front of the church, thinking God would take pity on me and really show up this time to fix my crooked bottom teeth, tell me which university I was supposed to go to, and cast a halo of light over the choir guitarists I was supposed to marry (spoiler alert: none of the above happened).
I had it all wrong. Being in the will of God, or finding my true purpose was never about me. It was always about what I was supposed to do for others. You see, There’s a formula to finding your identity and it doesn’t involve going to a mountain top hoping Gabriel would appear with a tablet (think stone ten commandments kind, not the Apple Inc. kind) inscribed with the manual for your life.
You know those day dreams you’ve been having about that side gig you’ve been wanting to start? The ones that consume your mind at night and keep you from sleeping? Chances are your purpose is closely aligned with those deep desires. Something I needed to deal with personally was fully owning my desires. I held off on doing this because I was afraid what I was wasn’t good enough to achieve what I desired. So basically in theory I said I trusted God, but in practice I didn’t really. Because If I trusted Him like I told myself I did, wouldn’t I also trust Him to help me use whatever He’s given me?
Instead of being excited about my passions, I was anxious. Instead of being confident I was self-deprecating. Joy Is contagious. As is confidence. When you combine those two together with what sets your soul on fire, it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. Room will be made at the table for you because you are stewarding your own unique brand of value. Don’t underestimate the power of owning up to what you love and being confident in it. That is how you set yourself apart from everyone else - not by trying, but simply, by being. Be who you are unapologetically. Own the desires placed in your heart. They are there for a reason. Stop being selfish with your gifts because this world needs only what you have.
So forget the competition, not because they are necessarily weak but because you need to be so focused on strengthening who you are and living your purpose, that no one else will be able to do what you do. You are one of a kind.