Sunday, June 16, 2013

Don't Let 'Sameness' Validate You

 “I don’t want that one, NeeNee, it’s different.” Those were the words spoken by my seven year old granddaughter, Olivia, as I handed her a handful of fresh cherries.

“What’s wrong with it”, I asked?

“It doesn’t look like the rest of the cherries; it’s not the same color.” Without hesitation, she exchanged the cherry for one that resembled all the others. “There”, she said, “now they all look alike”.

It was an innocent, yet thought provoking, statement that triggered a red flag. Might she be swayed to take the road less traveled in life because it is wasn’t a popular choice? I wondered if she viewed sameness as a validation of acceptance within her peer group.

I tend to be OCD, so maybe I overplayed the whole cherry conversation; but one thing is certain, following the masses to “fit in” has never been an option for me. I like the idea of traveling the road less traveled. There is excitement in bushwhacking my own path in life and living with a fearless desire to see what lies ahead. Of course, blazing new trails doesn’t come without opposition or obstacles.

There are things to consider before taking the road less traveled.

1.       The road less traveled is narrow and often lonely. You won’t earn popularity votes.

2.       You will encounter plenty of people who didn’t follow their dreams, or gave up; I call them dead soldiers. Avoid their discouragement and stay focused on the road you’ve taken.

3.       Don’t expect everyone to understand your choices.

4.       Failure is not the end. Those on the popular track are waiting for some miracle to land in their lap. Guess what? Miracles don’t happen without hard work.

5.       Set your own challenges. Become the CEO of your own life and set goals different from others.

6.       Success isn’t measured by time; it’s measured by experiences and opportunities that allow you to know what works best for you.

7.       Understand that trailblazers disrupt nature; they overturn rocks, cut down trees and move dirt. If they can’t remove the obstacle they build bridges over or around it. Sheer determination cuts through barriers and obstacles.  

8.       Taking the road less traveled is for leaders; they point the way, take the risks, and have a vision for turning their dreams into reality.

9.       Know your passion and gifts. You need to know with absolute certainty that the path you’re blazing is the right one for you.

10.   Trailblazers create a path where none existed before.

As an online entrepreneur and manufacturer for over 15 years, I’ve learned valuable lessons from the school of hard knocks, both personally and professionally. One thing is certain; an individual deemed an odd-colored cherry, regardless of age, has two choices. They can let sameness validate them or embrace their uniqueness and take the road less traveled.  I want my granddaughter to understand she doesn’t have to be like all the other cherries in the (peer) pack; or, stifled by other people’s expectations and limiting thoughts.

When the time comes for Olivia to venture out on her own, NeeNee will be there with a shovel, ax, hammer and backhoe. She can count on me to mentor, saw trees, chop thorny bushes and build bridges as she blazes her trail in life. And may she find a bowl of odd-colored cherries at the end of her trail; a reminder she took the road less taken.



Soap Works EsScentials said...

Very true. I always go for "a little different". it makes life more interesting and unique :)

Barbara said...

Olivia is blessed to have NeeNee there to introduce her to these concepts. Many of us were left out in the middle of the road all alone and confused. For me, there was only one choice and that was to pave my own road. Your list would have come in very handy! I would add one more thing to the list though... always bring along your integrity. Although I didn't have the rest of the list, I was mindful enough to do that, and I really think it made all the difference between dislodging myself from a dysfunctional family and moving on through the growth process, rather than joining all the other rebellious soldiers out there on the dead end road of doing things differently than their parents, yet continuing the tradition of stagnation.

We have to grow! It doesn't matter so much what we do as it does that we grow through it! Had I known that earlier in life, the journey would have been much more fun.

Denise said...

Barbara, insightful comment. Sometimes all we need is a little nudge in the right direction and someone who believes in us. Email me at with your full mailing address so we can get your mold out this week.

Amanda said...

I wish I would have had someone there to give me the push like Olivia did for nee nee. But joining all these groups and blogs has given me a new found hope that my little soap business will grow and flourish. Thank you for all the positive encouragement.

Delacotta said...

I said this all on facebook, but it's what I think. I retired from photography and blazing new trail in learning melt and pour soap making! What a wonderful creative outlet - I can do art, fragrance and make people happy all at the same time. : )

Angelia said...

It is so refreshing to read statements support true uniqueness. Not the over represented uniqueness that ends up being just a bandwagon trend, as we see with so many of our youth (i.e., multiple facial piercings, certain clothing, dying hair crazy colors).

I was always a my own person from the time I was born (or so I was told) and you are was and is not an easy road...I dealt with many conflicts because of my choices but looking back I would not change a thing...I think those choices actually changed my family for the better and all those lessons learned as a child I was able to instill in my own children. It made me more open minded and not a mold of our generation. :)

Brenda said...

I really loved this blog post, and found it supper inspiring. It really reminds me of my frame of thought a couple years ago, when i embarked on receiving my bachelors of art....i knew i was going into a field that possibly was'nt going to be as lucritive as other careers, but i really chose to do what makes me happy, for me its happiness, over money anyday. I know a lot of my family members though it was a dumb idea, perhaps they wanted me to be a nurse of a teacher, but regardless I love photography, I love art, it makes me happy and so i chased it until the end..i finally graduated last may with my bachelors of art! I am now happily working as a jewelry photographer, and so for me it was worth every second!

Tiffany said...

Denise, my heart shed a tear that you shared this story. As a motherless daughter along the way I had to find others to provide wisdom and insight such as the story and helpful words you provided. Thank you! Interesting how people cross paths at appropriate moments in life, be it family or not. I have recently fell in love with the craft of soap making and all the individuals that share stories and tutorials. I am the lonely that takes the road less traveled, and recently decided to dive in, ignore the naysayers, and start my own business. Thank you watering my seed to grow and for sharing your endearing story.

Denise said...

Tiffany, accolades to you for following your own path. If you need encouragement along the way, don't hesitate to email. We all need someone who believes in us.

Denise said...

Tiffany, please email your full shipping address to so I can get one of our new molds sent out to you. Thanks, Denise

Denise said...

Angelina, thank you for your post. We should always embrace true uniqueness, it's what adds spice to life. Duplicating trends or jumping on the bandwagon is not the road less traveled. I wish you much happiness in the road you are traveling.

Please email your shipping address to so we can get your new mold in the mail.

Denise said...

Hi Brenda, congrats on your degree. I hope that you continue to pursue your own happiness and push through any barricades that might prevent you from following your dreams.
Please forward your full shipping address so that a new mold design can be sent to you.

Denise said...

@ Delacatta, thanks for your post. Please email me your full mailing address so I can get your mold to you. Enjoy!