Recently I had the opportunity to chat with Srini Rao from Unmistakable Creative. Chief Creative Instigator, podcast host and author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller The Art of Being Unmistakable, Srini has conducted over 600 interviews with thought leaders and people from every walk of life, all of whom share a special trait: in some way or another, they are unmistakable.
What follows is a collection of 6 ways to be unmistakable based on our conversation. But first, what does being unmistakable actually mean?
According to Srini, being unmistakable means doing things that are so distinctive, unique, and original, that they're immediately recognized as things that you did.
It means that you do work so distinctive, you don't even need to put a signature on it - indeed, the work is itself a signature. It's a kind of creative fingerprint, based on your unique set of skills, experiences and personality quirks.
So how do you go about creating distinctive and unmistakable work? Srini has some tips for you:
1. Develop a bias toward action.
People tend to put all of their energy and time into being intentional, focusing on a specific achievement or a certain level of success. The difficulty is, starting out you aren't likely to have the skills necessary to reach that level yet. This can often become a hindrance, as the frustration stifles any progress you might make. It's important to cultivate a bias toward action, even if that action leads to mistakes or things that don't work. Almost every successful project, product or process you've ever seen has left behind a trail of missteps, mistakes and even a disaster or two. What unifies them all is that they were built on a bias toward action.
2. Learn to narrow your focus.
Being unmistakable often means focusing on a specific thing that you're not only good at but that you also enjoy doing. Let's say an online content marketing expert says everybody should start a podcast. If you don't enjoy podcasting, you're not going to succeed at it - it's really that simple. In the beginning, of course, there will be exploration and experimentation. For example, you might make an attempt at podcasting, but there must come a point when you make the decision to commit to a specific project - the one project that you'll pour 110% of your energy into and turn it into something unmistakable.
3. Quality needs to be a moving target.
Creating unmistakable work involves constant evaluation and improvement. If you're at a specific quality level, what are you doing to raise that bar? Are you comparing yourself and your work to the average, or are you setting your targets based on people who are achieving things at the level you want to achieve? It's often been said that art is never completed, only abandoned. What you're creating is your art, and therefore, it's never truly "done." Set your bar, work to achieve that level of quality, move the target. Later, rinse, repeat.
4. Consider everything research.
Author Austin Kleon once said that when you steal from a lot of people it's research, but when you steal from one, it's plagiarism. Just consider it all research. Nothing is ever created in a vacuum, and it's entirely likely that your unmistakable work will be a completely unique take on something that came before. Alternatively, you may see things that came before and come up with a better way of achieving results. It's all research.
5. Write a thousand words a day.
Few things will pay off professionally, creatively and even financially as writing consistently. Not only does it obviously increase your writing quality, but it begins to free up ideas and encourage creativity, which frees up more ideas, and so on and so on. Developing the habit of writing a thousand words a day teaches you the power of consistency, building powerful habits that will increase the quality of your work almost automatically.
6. Detach yourself from results.
It's easy to get caught up in the day to day results. How did that podcast do? How many books did we sell today? It's understandable, but to be truly unmistakable, you have to be willing to play the long game and realize that those things don't really matter in the long run. There's an old adage from Zig Ziglar that says,
The goal should always be to help the people who work with you be better for the experience afterward.
Some of the ideas presented here may seem counterintuitive, but then, being unmistakable is often not about taking the road less traveled, but about taking the road nobody even knew was there.
As a final thought, I asked Srini what legacy he wanted to leave for his audience. What he said was intriguing, to say the least. Srini believes that there's nothing interesting about simply replicating what someone else has done before. He hopes that his work will inspire people to go out and create something original, unique to them and their instincts and intuition. Srini believes that it's important not to confuse imitation with adaptation.
In the end, it's not about recreating the world, it's about allowing people to see the world through the filter of your unique vision and creativity.
That will make you truly unmistakable.
Listen to the FULL interview -->
P.S. Do you want to potentially launch your own podcast?
Discover the Top 3 Myths (BUSTED) for running an award-winning podcast here.