Trey Campbell is a leading authority on utilizing biblically-based principles to help leaders and salespeople expand their influence.

If We Are Going to Stand Out, We Need Something to Stand For

Long ago, I was drawn to a quote that said, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” The person who wrote it was very smart. He was a doctor. Okay, it was Dr. Seuss.

We can fit in or we can stand out. What does this mean to you?

To me, it means conventionality versus unconventionality. To further explain, to escape the humdrum life of commonality means being a little nontraditional. You simply have to be different. We can be different in so many ways. Our beliefs, our fashion, our values, our intentions, our careers, our dreams, our destinies, and our effort are but a few of the millions of things that make us distinctive.

However, in order to truly stand out, we have to know what we stand for. Our values and principles should be what drives us. They will be what makes us atypical. But to stand out on principle, we have to stand firm—especially in the face of adversity and the temptation of complacency.

Will you stand on your beliefs or falter on your assumptions? Think of the foundation on which we all build our life. Do you want your foundation to be solid or full of cracks? A foundation founded on principles is as solid as solid gets. A house built on such a foundation survives the earthquakes of misfortune and the hurricanes of hardships the world throws our way.

When I counsel high school and college students, they often ask what they need to be doing to prepare for their next step in life. I always tell them they need to find a way to stand out. They must find a way to set themselves apart from their peers. This is what employers look for, but it also has a greater reason attached to it. The more well-rounded and experienced one is, the more they have to offer the world, and in turn, the greater their impact in the lives of those they come into contact with. The students can stand tall when they are ready to promote themselves in order to build a bright future.

If we are going to stand anywhere, we might as well stand out. I mean, after all, it’s better than these six alternatives:

  • To stand aside – when we make way for someone else to stand out
  • To stand back – when we allow for others to stand out as we stand in their shadow
  • To stand by – when we wait for an opportunity that may or may not come because of our procrastination or trepidation
  • To stand down – when we pause and shy away from a situation or issue we should have a handle on
  • To stand off – when we are at an impasse or stalemate with others
  • To stand in – when we take the place of another, but it’s just not our fate

Then, there is the Biblical perspective, which I think is particularly wise in regard to standing out. The key message: Be yourself, lose the ego, be a servant.

 Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant.

If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you.

But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

– Matthew 23:11–12

In the world we live in, my experience has been that the best way to stand out from the crowd is to serve the crowd. Make your life count in whatever way you have been called to stand out. Don’t be afraid to stand out even if you find yourself standing alone.

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