“He was a unique artist – an original in an area of imitators.” – Mick Jagger

I could not let today go by without acknowledging the anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. I grew up 2 hours from Memphis and was very much aware of who Elvis was, his music, his movies and I am the same age (and birth month) as his daughter. So today, driving to teach a workshop, I was mulling over in my head all the memories I have of Graceland and Memphis. And being totally honest it made me a little homesick for Memphis. This time of the year is a huge deal in the city and people from all over the world come to Memphis for what we refer to as “dead week”. Memphis is indeed a huge part of my history and so much a part of me.

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What can we learn from Elvis besides the most obvious? 

He was an individual who only knew how to be himself. He was an original, unapologetically so, and that made him even more special. So for good or bad, he was himself.  Many people try to be something they are not, or think that they need to be like everyone else.  So, the biggest lesson to learn from Elvis is that you want to stand out from the crowd.  Each and every one of you has something special, something different, some combination of talents that make you special and that set you apart from everyone else. Search inside yourself and listen to what others say about you. Stop trying to fit in and learn to stand tall and proud, unique in what makes you, very much YOU.

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When I started my photography business, instead of trying to copy and fit in with all the others, I used my southern roots in Tennessee to set myself apart. I routinely bring up my birthday being on Leap Day because that helps people remember me. And I always connect my years in the intermodal transportation industry with teaching to show my diversity and my ability to use my skills to transcend any one specific industry.

Regardless if you are an individual looking for a job, a small business trying to stay ahead of the competition, you can both learn from “The King”.

Now… tell me what makes you (or your business) unique.

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