Are you living an exceptional life? Are you exceptional – in your job, as a student, as a friend, and as an individual? Are you the exception?

If you want to be exceptional, you need to figure out how to invest in yourself and how to stand out. Keep reading to find out how.

Be the Exception

Michael Jordan was an exceptional basketball player. But what exactly does that mean? He’s rated one of the greatest players in the history of the game because he made himself stand out. He’s different from everyone else that played the game. There are other great players, but he’s a unique exception.

You can’t be exceptional, without being:

  • The exception to the norm
  • The exception to the rule
  • The exception to what everybody else is doing

Being the exception means being different – and when your exception really stands out, you’ll reach that high pinnacle of success.

Being Different is Better

Billionaires like Bill Gates, Ray Dalio, Warren Buffett, and Steve Jobs are all exceptions. They are exceptional individuals in their careers, because they’re different – and because they make themselves stand out.

In today’s world, you’ll see people doing everything like herded sheep, just moving along and doing everything that everybody else is doing. We often get caught up in trends – people from the same neighborhood might drive the same cars, do all the same things, and be a part of the same clubs.

That’s not what you want to aim for. Being different, and having a unique perspective is better. What makes you unique is what will make people interested in you – and makes you an exception in some way.

What Makes You the Exception?

This is a really important conversation that I have with clients all the time.  To become exceptional, you need to figure out what makes you the exception to the rule.

For example, maybe you’ve been able to save a lot of money and live with the financial freedom to guide your life. You might notice that most of the people around you are not in that same position.

You don’t want to be the only person that can’t afford to pay your mortgage. That’s a negative exception. You do want your exception to be that you’re working to pay your mortgage off sooner than the 30-year norm.

What makes you different?

What makes you the exception?

What are you exceptional at?

What, specifically, do you do every day that makes you feel like being the exception is a huge win

When you figure out the answer, you’ll be able to look in the mirror and say, “Wow, I’m so grateful and lucky to be different. I’m so exceptional at x because I am the exception to the rule.”

If I’m the only bald guy in the room, I’ll use that to my advantage. I might make a joke about it and have fun with it. I’m going to find what makes me different and leverage it to find success – and to be exceptional.

How Can You Make Yourself Stand Out?

1. Set up goals. When my kids complain that their friends can do x, y, and z, I always tell them that I don’t care what everybody else is doing. I don’t care what time they get to go to bed, or how long they get to play on their Xbox, or that they have this freedom or that.

Our family is going to be the exception – because we’re setting up goals that will ultimately help them be exceptional. We want our children’s uniqueness to be something that helps them reach exceptional in some way.

2. Aim to reach your fullest potential. If you have a special talent or skill, put some work and effort into it. If you recognize that you’re different from other people, and you can guide yourself to it, you can learn from that difference and you’ll feel really fulfilled.

3. Be the leader in your field. There’s a reason why there are generals in the military. Someone has to stand out, step up, and be out there leading.  That person will make decisions that are often challenging, and probably extremely difficult.

No matter what your profession, whether you’re a general, teacher, doctor, lawyer, banker, or sales rep, else, the important thing to remember is that you have the ability to stand out.

Find something that helps you do that! For example, if you’re a teacher, your “exception” might be that you connect to the students in a way that nobody else can.

Spend more time focusing on the exceptions that you have – because you can’t be exceptional without standing out in your field.

Invest in Communication

Take the time to focus more on communicating with others. In our time, we are so focused on social media and our phones. If you separated from always having your phone in hand or your head down, I can 100% tell you that it would make you an exception.

 Knowing how to put away phones, distance from social media, and have a conversation is a great way to be exceptional for many reasons, including:

  • You’ll know how you find new jobs and new relationships.
  • You actually learn something about people when you make eye contact.
  • The best nuggets in life come from real conversations with people.
  • You’ll learn how to invest in your relationships.

 To have an exceptional marriage, you need to invest in communicating with your spouse. To have an exceptional business, you have to communicate and build relationships with the people that work with you, for you, and around you.

To build better relationships with others, it’s important to know more about their lives, and understand them on a deeper level. What makes them tick?  What makes them exceptional? Investing in them will allow you to put them in a position to be exceptional.

What Makes You Exceptional?

It’s important to remember that you are an exception. What makes you exceptional is your ability to digest the information you’re seeing and make it your own. Make your own decisions, make choices in life that impact yourself and your family, and be an exceptional version of who you already are.