When I first heard the quote from Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”, I thought it was one of the most brilliant things anyone had ever said.
Maybe I was just ready to hear it.
I was fresh out of college, working in my first job as a merchandise buyer and ready to take the world of retail by storm.
Of course, growing up I know people had echoed that same sentiment to me in many forms. “Be yourself honey, don’t try to be like someone else.” my favorite aunt used to say to me. “People will like you for who you are. And if they don’t, they’re not your true friends.” said Fergie (a friend of the family, who was “Fergie”, way before the singer “Fergie” or Fergie the Duchess of York became famous.)
But for some reason it never quite rang true until I heard the quote from OscarWilde.
I think it was the “everyone else is already taken” that really clicked with me.
I remember thinking to myself “yah they are already taken”. And it was in that moment that I felt like someone had given me permission to be myself.
So if everybody else was already taken, I may as well be me and enjoy it!
It made sense.
I started thinking about this the other day, when I was thinking that maybe I should switch from pronouncing the word niche (rhymes with switch) to niche (rhymes with quiche).
You see I’m interviewed a lot on the radio about the topic of niche markets. And over the past couple years, I’ve noticed more and more, the people who interview me are pronouncing the word “niche” like “quiche”.
So on interviews it sometimes feels like a game of “niche-niche tennis”. The interviewer says niche (rhymes with quiche) and I reply with niche (rhymes with switch). 🙂 And I can just imagine our audience listening in and laughing at the niche – niche banter.
A few years ago no one, except my friend Robin Cowie, former president of Worldwide Brands and producer of the Blair Witch Project pronounced niche like quiche. But with Rob it sounded good, because he grew up in South Africa and has one of those totally awesome accents that makes plain old English words sound like something special.
However, over the past few years, I’ve noticed that everyone seems to be now pronouncing niche like quiche. Maybe it sounds more sophisticated.
So a few weeks ago, I decided in the interest of radio interview compatibility, I’d better start pronouncing niche like quiche and not niche like switch.
The first few interviews, it went OK. I had to stop myself from pronouncing niche like switch a couple times.
But it was fine… until this afternoon. When I gave a 90 minute energy filled teleseminar called “15 Creative Ways to Make Money on eBay”.
I started out saying niche = quiche, but then I got so wrapped up in showing people how they can think our of the box when it comes to making money on eBay, that niche just automatically popped out like switch.
“Great “I thought, “now I’m having a game of niche-niche tennis with myself.” LOL!
90 minutes later I wrapped up the teleseminar totally psyched because I knew I’d expanded people’s vision of how they can use eBay to make some money.
And you know what?
They didn’t care if I said niche = quiche, niche = switch or niche = nicho (the Spanish pronounciation). What people cared about was that I gave them 15 great ideas about what to sell on eBay and how to sell on eBay.
And it was at that point I thought of Oscar Wilde’s quote. “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”
Right then and there I decided I was going to pronounce niche = switch like I always have. I was not going to rework the pronunciation.
Niche = switch is who I am. My favorite food is pizza. I don’t like “nouveau Northwest Cuisine”. But I do like to shop at Nordstrom. No rhyme or reason. It’s just who I am.
How about you?
Are you being true to yourself in your business? Or are you trying to be someone you’re not?
Are you trying to copy someone else’s style because you think they have “it” and you don’t? Or do you think there’s only one persona you can adopt to “make it” online.
There’s a big difference between observing a successful person’s behavior and modeling what they do within the context of your own personality. Versus completely squashing your true essence in the name of “success”.
So are you building an online business that reflects your authentic personality? I hope so. Because it affects the kind of customers you attract. And if you attract the wrong customers your sales will suffer.
Something to percolate on. And if you ever feel yourself tempted to be someone else in your business other than who you really are… remember – everyone else is already taken.