When the Beatles were at their prime, John Lennon was a front man, but he was also one of four. He was a pop musician, a gifted lyricist, and he was famous, but he as an individual was probably not on a path that most would say was legendary. When he broke away from the Beatles and started to chill with Yoko Ono, he certainly wasn’t on a path to being a legend. In fact, a lot of people accused him of going nuts. Somewhere along the way though, John Lennon became a legend, not just as a popular musician, and in fact in spite of being a popular musician. How did that happen?
In thinking about that question, it occurred to me that much of what separated John Lennon into what we know today are the same things that can separate you from your peers in the online world. Now, this is not a post that pretends to give you 3 tips to rule the world or 5 tips to become the greatest tweeter of all time. But in watching the online world for awhile now, I feel safe in saying that these methodologies will help you stand out. They will help people remember you better and connect with you more. They might even improve how you approach your business or even your offline world. Let’s dig in and see if you agree.
Have something important to say
For much of his career, even before he met Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s message was peace. He didn’t approve of a lot of what Britain was doing militarily around the world and despite pressure to stay quiet about it, he didn’t. Another legend, Abraham Lincoln, only saw his career skyrocket when he was motivated to combat the idea of “popular sovereignty” that Stephen Douglass was passing around. This is not to say that you always have to talk about that one thing, or that you can’t ever talk about anything else. But having “a thing,” a message you strongly believe, are passionate about, and are knowledgable about, can really help separate you from so many other people who will simply follow the tide of whatever is popular at that moment.
Hold true to your beliefs
There is a lot of waffling in the online world. People preach things for years, then randomly change their minds without expectation. These sudden changes inspire people to question the credibility of that person. Did they ever believe what they were saying? Do they really believe what they’re saying now? This doesn’t mean that changing your mind over time is bad, but support your rationale. Explain at least to the point where people know you’re not just rolling with the tide.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable
So much of the online world is about presenting ourselves at what we feel is our best. Pictures of giant houses, fancy cars, luxury vacations and more pepper the online experience. But these things are not the way to peoples’ hearts. In fact, playing the role of super star can make you seem intimidating, inaccessible, or in another stratosphere of existence. Where John Lennon truly left his mark was on peoples’ hearts. His songs about his loss, his doubts, his wishes for the world – those things made people see who he really was, beyond the Beatles experience, beyond his larger than life persona. People felt like they could relate to some of what he was singing and talking about. That connection, and then seeing the greatness he reached, motivated people to admire him. This doesn’t mean you should “bleed all over the internet” or share your most secret thoughts. But be human in the truest sense of the word. Let people see you for who you are, and trust that that will be good enough.
Differentiate yourself online
These are just three things that came to my mind in thinking about people I have seen separate themselves from the rest of the online world. What traits have you noticed in such folks? I’d love to hear your thoughts!