When The Chicago Bulls played the Portland Trailblazers in the 1992 NBA Finals, Michael Jordan — when looking back on the series — said that his goal was to “…make sure everyone knew there was clear difference between Clyde Drexler and myself.”
Clyde Drexler was a Hall Of Fame basketball player who could jump just as high (maybe even higher) as Jordan. He had also been a top draft pick and would go on to win a championship and score thousands of points. He was clearly the second-best at their position to Mike at the time. It was no tragedy to be equal with Clyde Drexler in 1992.
Michael Jordan didn’t want to be equal with anyone. And he did make his statement in that series, winning 4 games to 2 for the championship. How? Mike didn’t just miraculously develop some extra skills in a few days before the series — this separation from Clyde was a choice.
You can create a clear separation between yourself and some others in your field. We all have the capability to do it. And it’s not about you learning more or getting another certification or doing extra drills. Those things may all indeed happen as a result… of your choice. A decision you make to separate yourself from the group. From your friends. From your co-workers or teammates of colleagues.
The challenge most people face is that we all have a need for connection — to be a part of the group. To be one of the crew. Many times, we start to take actions that make us stand out from everyone else, then pull back — self-sabotage — because we become conscious of the separation, the attention that comes with standing out. The lonely feeling that comes with being above and beyond our peers. Many a talented person fell short of their potential because they didn’t want to leave the security of being like everyone else.
What you need to realize is that if you’re going to stand out, you’ll have to sacrifice being a part of the group.
It’s your choice.