You might be thinking that’s easy. I mean, who else could you be, right? Nobody. But, don’t we all get caught up trying to act like someone else when we think we don’t quite cut it? Have you ever laughed at things you didn’t think were funny because you knew the person on the other end of the table was trying to be funny? We’ve all been there. It’s OK to want to fit in. The problem arises when we make it a habit of straining to be what we think others want at the loss of our true identity. Let’s break free from the dependence on altering who we are to give others what we think they want. Today, we can move towards offering others what they need . . . more of who we really are!
In order to see how this goal of ‘being ourselves’ in the marketplace can truly work I want to take a look at one of my favorite companies. Nintendo has been in business for well over a hundred years, and they are one of the most loved and profitable video game companies on the planet. So why, having been a high school teacher for a while now, have I heard phrases like, “Nintendo sucks,” countless times?
It’s not because they have a net worth of billions and billions of dollars. I can tell you it doesn’t have to do with the quality of their games, as they are some of the most critically acclaimed available. Through my experience it comes down to one important reason. They are not afraid to be different. In a time when many kids are playing games with half-naked, voluptuous women, Nintendo seems content to continue to star a fully clothed, portly plumber. Yeah, but that’s because Nintendo makes games for kids, right?
Actually, Nintendo has been adamant that they make games for everyone. This 36-year-old gamer can attest to that. In fact, Nintendo has a large and loyal fan base of adults. So why all the haters, and how can that be good for business?
Give me the sandwich on the sign.
The reason many people dislike Nintendo is because they don’t like Nintendo’s way of doing things. They wish the Big ‘N’ did certain things that their competitors were doing . Many people admire Nintendo’s skill at making games, but they wish the company would create things that were more in tune with a different play style. Maybe they want more realistic graphics, better online features, or more mature themes. Whatever the case, Nintendo seems to be stuck doing it their own way.
That’s precisely it! Nintendo knows what they are good at and they focus on their strength with a precision and ferocity like few companies. Could they be better at certain things? Sure, but when you buy a Nintendo game you know exactly what you are getting.
Great companies, like Nintendo, are consistent over time. Take McDonalds, for example. When I pull up to their sign board at the drive-through I know what to expect. I don’t tell them, I love your fries, but could you make me a sandwich like Wendy’s, please. McDonald’s has had its own ups and downs, but the Big Mac remains the same. Why is it then, that we usually think we should change who we know we are as soon as things don’t go right?
Failure is freaky!
Did you know that Nintendo’s new system is called the Wii U? You might have heard of their previous system called the Wii as it was a huge commercial success. The Wii U is pretty much the opposite. Don’t get me wrong, it is a wonderful system, but for many reasons it has failed to sell well. Do you think Nintendo will now start copying what Microsoft and Sony do? Doubtfully. They have had setbacks before, and I am sure they will again. They continue to be profitable because they are good at what they do and they won’t give that up.
Now, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be willing to change if we see something is not working. We have to learn from our missteps. At the same time, we have to be who we were called to be whether it seems to be working in the short run, or not. For example, we are in a social media crazed world, and you and I can take advantage of that. That does not mean we have to become the world leader on hashtags and a master website designer to sell our product. We can be an opportunist without becoming a conformist.
If what you are doing is what you were meant to do, then don’t expect success to come easily. That was never promised. Also, don’t expect for everyone to like you. What you can expect is to reach a place where you are fulfilled. More importantly, where you can be yourself.
Daniel Vasi is a speaker, writer, and math teacher. Dan's column, Relational Selling, can be found at Locoblog. You can also read more from Daniel by signing up for his email letter at: http://eepurl.com/bpdNQP