Celebrate The Differences

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Back to Oscar Wilde.

When I first became interested in the power of developing a personal brand, it was long before the Internet took hold and it would be many years before anyone had uttered the phrase, "social media." In 2013, you hardly hear anyone talk about personal branding anymore. We call it reputation and other things. Nearly ten years ago, famed speaker Mike Lipkin would quote Oscar Wilde in his presentations when he would say: "be you, because others are already taken." We spend a lot of time talking about being different, standing out and our appreciation for individualism, but do we really mean it? Do we truly understand it?

This isn’t about business or marketing.

This time… it’s personal. Far From The Tree is a book by Andrew Solomon (special thanks to Julie Burstein for bringing this to my attention). From his website: "He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, as are the triumphs of love Solomon documents in every chapter." Solomon recently gave a presentation at Google. It is amazingly powerful. I urge you to put everything down for a bit and just watch this video. How do families deal with children who are radically different from who they are? It’s a fascinating question and it peers deep into the human condition and how special we can be…


  1. Mitch,
    Thank you for sharing this. This talk was absolutely brilliant and fascinating. The human journey is truly what I love about life, we have challenges, we see triumph, we learn together. I had never thought of things in the way that came through in this talk. Andrew is a wonderful speaker, this talk was truly beautiful and this really is a must see video for anyone who is interested in humanity. These challenges that he covered, the different perspectives that he shared down to his own story towards the end, incredibly rich. So, thank you- that was probably the best spent hour I’ve had in a while. Great find.

  2. Thank you so very much for sharing this.
    The more I pay attention, the more I realize and appreciate the incredible spectrum of differences that make up our world. I am thankful for the challenges and the joys that those differences place before us…each and every day. Increasingly, I cross paths with colleagues, friends and individuals in organizations and communities who are keen to learn more. They want to understand. Even more, they want to be understood themselves; for the people they are and the gifts that they can offer. There are simply too many “grown ups” who feel they cannot be themselves in this world.
    As a parent of three amazingly brilliant and creative misfits (ages 10 to 18), I understand how important differences truly are. I also know how painful and exhausting they can be. Every day, I work to empower my kids by believing in them and honouring their strengths. I suspect that none of them will ever fit into the cookie cutter “expectations” that “success” is so often based upon. I focus my energies on supporting them to become capable, self directed, creative and free individuals who will value and respect the differences and the similarities that make up the world. If I can do that much, I believe I will have given them the very best start I can – even with all of their amazing differences.

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