Imagine meeting that person. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet and have a conversation with someone that I have looked up to for a long time.

Similar to how a young wide-receiver would study Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (the GOAT) or how Michael Jackson said he studied the dance moves of James Brown and Fred Astaire to hone his craft as an entertainer... I’ve researched and created a foundation of learning from several titans in the field of personal and team performance. 

Who are you studying and learning from?

Who are you studying and learning from?

So when the moment came to learn and pick the brain from one of my heroes, I walked away thinking, “That is not how I imagined that going.” Maybe this individual was having an off day, but their position on this industry seemed the opposite of mine. I’ve had a totally different experience and the cool thing is, we don’t have to agree. I respect everyone’s right to their opinion.

After that conversation, I had a moment of clarity. A bright light bulb went off inside. For several years I’ve been trying to be the next (fill-in the blank), but in that moment I realized I need to be the next Collin Henderson. 

Everyone else is already taken. To gain a competitive advantage, be yourself.  

We live in a day and age where comparing is at an all-time high... especially with social media and the internet. We see people living a “fake-real life” by comparing their highlights to our behind the scenes. We create generalizations of how we should look, dress, talk, and act. However, what I’ve learned is the best leaders, entrepreneurs, and performers have a clarity and conviction that keeps them focused and less consumed about what others think... and that is their greatest power.  

One of the most influential and attractive traits is authenticity. 

How you are different is your strength.

How you are different is your strength.

This reminds me of a story I heard about a young unknown rapper telling the iconic producer and music creator Pharrell Williams that he wanted to be the next Andre 3000 (from the legendary hip hop duo Outcast... shout out to the ATL!). Pharrell sat back, listened, then offered the best advice. He said, “The world already has an Andre. You should be the next you.”

Wow. Powerful. As I look back on what I’ve accomplished, what I strive to achieve, and the lives I want to impact, this recent experience has inspired me to triple down on myself and to just be me. Though I am similar in many ways to my hero that I recently met, I am completely different in more ways.

Instead of comparing, I need to remember to use what I have and play to my strengths. 

So now let’s talk about you.  How often do you find yourself comparing and thinking you need to be like someone else to be accepted and successful? Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that success leaves clues and we should model certain behaviors of the elite performers in our field, but to take your impact, happiness, and success to the next level... you have to find that sweet spot of authenticity now (in the present) and who you are striving to be (the best version of you in the future).

You can be and achieve anything.

You can be and achieve anything.

Don’t find yourself, create yourself.  

The only limit you have is the ceiling you place on yourself. Celebrate how you are different. Stand out for the right reasons. Create a new lane never seen before.  First they will second-guess you, then they will demean you, then they will copy and want to be you. Think of Prince (RIP), the Williams sisters (Serena and Venus), Mother Teresa, MLK, Jeff Bazos, Gandhi, and Dwayne Johnson... thank goodness they didn’t copy others, but used what they had to innovate, impact those around them, and even change the world. 

Now it’s your turn.  

You don’t need validation from the person you admire the most or anyone for that matter. Take some time to think about what traits, experiences, and strengths that separate you. Instead of conforming, start creating and innovating. Don’t obsess over what you do not have, simply use what you have, and grow your skills every day. That’s what I plan to do. I hope you do too.


Collin Henderson is a leader in the personal development space. His books, online courses, podcast, and workshops teach individuals and teams how to have an elite mindset, create high-performance habits, and development a winning culture. Check out his virtual training here.