Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Outlier

Most of the messages "out there" these days have to do with being the unique -- the outlier:
* How does your business differ from all the others in your sector?
* What is your unique selling proposition?
* What are you adding to the conversation about your chosen topic?
* How does your project advance knowledge in a particular field?
* How do you tell a story that's been told a thousand times before in a unique way?

Being the outlier is great. It's how your book gets picked out of the slush pile/it's why customers want to entrust your company with sweeping their chimney/it's what people come to YOUR restaurant for-- when they could have picked any of a zillion others.

As I waited for a medical checkup today, I was reminded of situations in which you DON'T want to be unique. As in, healthcare. If you have a health problem, you want it to be something lots of other people have. You want it to be something that you can change with lifestyle or something they can hand you a prescription for.

Even when the diagnosis is bad enough to treat with surgery or chemotherapy, you want to hear some statements more than others. For example, you want to hear, "Yes, generally bypass surgery holds few complications and returns patients to an optimal level of health," or "Yes, we can remove your tumor and give you this form of post-surgical care, and we've had good results with that." You want to know that your surgeon has done dozens of surgeries like yours--not that you're the first one.

I was fortunate today. For one thing, I have a family practice physician, so between the Canadian healthcare system and my family practice doc, I got the adult female version of a "well baby visit," no fuss no muss. Nothing about my annoying symptoms, however unique (and did I mention annoying?) they are to me, was deemed out of the ordinary. i am so lucky!

The protagonist of this story I've been working on, however--too predictable. Gotta fix that.