Let's face it, being an AUTHENTIC human being: someone who knows who they are, and what they have to offer in this world...IS TOUGH. As great as it sounds when we use phrases like:

"Just be yourself ..."

"Let your light shine..."

"An original is worth more than a carbon copy..."

...Anyone who's doing these things soon realizes that the actual process of living these things daily comes at a cost. Before I go any further, let me assure you, YES, you do need to walk in authenticity. You should raise a standard in your life that celebrates your positive qualities. You absolutely deserve to have those around you who truly love you for YOU. I simply acknowledge that in doing all of these things, you WILL stand out from the crowd...sometimes like a sore thumb!

For me, being different wasn't really a challenge. My individuality, the things that make me unique, have always been painfully obvious. I don't blend in. Even in those moments when I tried to compromise to try to fit in, IT DIDN'T WORK! Have you ever had that person who just LOOKED like they were trying to be someone they weren't? Yep, their name was probably Cynthia :) I've done it in my younger years more than I care to admit...so much so that it became old very quickly.

I know that a part of my life purpose is to encourage people, to help them see the best in themselves & root for them to reach their fullest potential. It's ingrained in me to be extremely welcoming to people, to ask them how they are REALLY doing, and listen intently. I'm not a fan of the shallow & superficial nature of today's friendships & relationships. Somehow, small talk is overrated to me...of course! Why would anyone want to talk about the weather when there are far more pressing topics to discuss: your entire life story & my inquisitive nature, for instance? Lol. I truly believe that every person I encounter is important. I believe that we're all capable of achieving great things, it's a part of our make-up... But as you can imagine, as great as these things are, and as great as it sounds in a written bio, these qualities & traits are not that common! We live in a generation that is extremely self-absorbed, obsessed with success, driven by carbon copy examples of how we are to live, think & behave. It's actually considered a weakness to be nice nowadays, and deep conversation...many feel that it's a waste of time. Networking is more about raising profits than it is about making connections that can change the world. Competition is often favored over collaboration. At least, this is to be said about a good number of instances, not all.

I'm sure that your individuality; the qualities that make you unique, aren't always the easiest to display & bring forward. It's sometimes much easier to fit into the program than to let your voice be heard & to make an impact when no one else seems to care. There may even be times when you'll experience flat-out rejection because you don't quite fit in, and you're too much for many to digest. This, my friend, is the cost of being uniquely YOU. Some of the greatest people in history were not understood by their peers. They were those who were ahead of their time, so to speak. They were willing to speak up when everyone else backed down. Their actions & audacity to operate in their strengths literally changed the lives of those around them. Some of them weren't understood or embraced until generations after them recognized their brilliance in hindsight.

I promise you I'm not rambling, all of this has a purpose. I want to encourage you: Dare to Be Different! Dare to live a life that honors your values, even in a culture that scoffs at them. Dare to be a Christian that truly lives the way God is leading you to, even amongst those who straddle the fence. Dare to begin a new trend in your bloodline, one that exceeds limitations & sets a NEW standard. Dare to be positive amongst all of the negativity. Someone has to set the standard. Someone has to pave the way for others like you who will follow your lead. Someone has to show the world that it can be done...it might as well be you! Don't squelch the huge passion that you possess because those around you can't seem to stomach it! If you feel that you're hurting the eyes of those you're shining amongst, you're probably amongst the wrong audience.

It takes tremendous courage to stand your ground when everyone else is following trends. Don't let this discourage you. Know this friend, there is always a need for someone to set & uphold a standard. In your STANDING OUT, you give others permission to do the same. Know that everything that is truly meant for you...it will come to you when you are operating as the REAL YOU. Imagine this, if your destiny were a person out searching for you, it would be incredibly hard for it to find you if you're in a sea of white shirts, wearing a white tee. However, when you allow your positive qualities to shine, you attract the right people who are a great match for your life. You'll impact those that you cross paths with, because you aren't quenching the flow of what's in you. You'll find that flowing from who you really are opens up doors of opportunity for you, at precisely the right moment...

Dare to Be Different. Not because it sounds good. Yes, I know it's not always easy. But who ever said being a LEADER was easy? I guess I forgot to mention that part...when you are uniquely you, you're a leader in your own right. Your courage to walk boldly has the power to unleash that within another... and trust me, there is always someone just waiting for confirmation that it's ok to JUST BE THEMSELF. Give it to them!

Have you ever found it hard to stand out? What advice would you offer to someone who's struggling with this? Let's talk about it!

thanks for lending me your ear!

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