That is the problem with predictability. It is a two edged sword. On the one hand is the comfort of predictability and all the sense of control it represents. On the other is the curse of the predictability, meaning it has been done before. Done so many times in fact that there is now a well worn path to that destination and traveling that road, however controllable, takes you to the same destination as everyone else.

The lure of control.

As you decide what it is you want to accomplish or what you want to be when you grow up, you may find yourself called to a service, a career or an outcome that has been done before.  There is nothing wrong with that and in truth we need many of these folks. Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers and Engineers are all outcomes with a well worn path that gets you there.  The actions of education and placement after graduation are a well documented and highly predictable process that provide security to the traveler along the way.

Safety in the predictability.

The predictability of the path also provides security to the bystanders along the way. Anyone can stop you on your way and ask where you are going and where you have been, and you can tell them with great clarity and predictability.  Since the path is so well established and predictable the bystander will quickly feel comfortable with your explanation and wish you well on your journey, content that they know where you are going, how you are going to get there and how long it will take. Comfort and predictability for you and the observer.

Predictability is the curse.

The sedative in this approach though, is to fall trap to the predictability. To do nothing to distinguish yourself and your approach as you move down this well traveled road. Because of the predictability of the path and the occupation, you run the risk of being seen or labeled with a common label too. It will require intentional and purposeful repositioning on your part, in order for you to be in the path of predictability and yet not perceived as common or without distinction.

So if you are going to sell Chicken do it as Dan Cathy of Chick-Fil-A says: by advertising with cows, if you are going to be a Doctor then specialize to get distinction and if you are going to fix cars, then give the kind of service that no-one gets: quality service from friendly staff at a fair price.

Two questions then:

  • Does the path you are on have the potential to paint you with a common brush?
  • What do you need to do to distinguish your contribution?