You’re Not A Snowflake (but you’re close)

A while ago I read a blog that blatantly stated ‘you are not a snowflake‘.  Essentially, many Millennials have been taught that they are special and different, and the author was calling them to face reality before they grow up disappointed and frustrated.  She’s right — but hear me out.

How You’re Not A Snowflake

It’s important to understand that “Snowflake Syndrome” is the idea that no one has ever before graced this earth like you have.  The idea is played out in a lot of ways today.  Soccer games with no winner declared so there are no losers, mothers who refuse to hear any criticism by an authority of their son or daughter, etc.  I’m assuming that, if you’re here, you already know that this mentality is over the top.

In fact, this thinking is rather detrimental.  It effectively stunts growth by blocking the person from hearing even the most constructive of criticism, advice, or seeing how they relate to others.  “Snowflake” people tend to surround themselves only with people who enable them, furthering their world-view and never challenging them.

I think a lot of us go through a similar phase in life when we think our ideas are brilliant and everyone else is wrong.  Typically this is called being a teenager, but sometimes it lasts.  For those who do not grow out of this mindset in a timely fashion, they are due for a rude awakening.  Sometimes that moment comes with a harsh boss, others it’s a bad breakup or financial distress.  When the bubble is burst, it hurts, and the bigger it is the harsher the reality.

You Are Actually Unique

Here’s the thing:  you wouldn’t be an entrepreneur if there wasn’t something unique and driving within you.  You have a passion and are able to do something with it that no one else can.  Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs fail because they are unable to market what sets them apart from others — that is, their value proposition.  In this culture of ‘everyone is awesome’, we have a hard time seeing our own awesome.  But it’s our differences that makes us great business owners.

So how do you determine your unique value proposition?  Consider all the ways both you and your business are different.  Seriously.  While it may seem counter to what I’ve said above, believing yourself and your work to be no different from your competitors will truly hurt you.  Start with why you started your business, what passion drives you, and follow that thought process to what you’d like your business to look like in the next five years.

An example from my own work.

This is what I’ve discovered about myself since founding my first venture in 2010.  I am a fast learner, and my degree in Anthropology taught me to research anything I need to know.  Combined, I am able to find and absorb information like a sponge.  Every venture I have ever started has been on self-taught information.  That includes a 40-page 501(c)3 nonprofit application to the IRS, designing websites for startups, and organizing major events.

But it took several years for me to realize this is a gift that not everyone possesses, such that I was confused the first time a client was taken aback by Google’s ability to provide answers to a question.  It took my own business coach highlighting how unique the skill is for me to realize it as useful to others.  Today I use my skill to learn about other industries in order to better coach my clients and teach Webinars or in-person classes.

If you’re unsure how to get started, try asking others what makes you unique.  Be clear with them, however, that you’re not fishing for compliments.  You’re looking for details that will help you grow and guide your business.  If you’re lucky, they’ll tell you where you need to improve, too.

Another great way to get started is by using the Value Proposition Canvas.  This allows you to jot your ideas and notes on a page that guides you.  It will help you see the needs of your business to make the value proposition a reality, and get you out of your head.  The button below will take you there.