The stunning news of the untimely passing of music icon Prince shocked just about everyone last Thursday. Not surprisingly, the reaction to his death at 57 was swift and filled with many tributes to remember “His Royal Badness.”
There is no doubt his talent played an enormous part of what made him special. More than that, however, was the fact that Prince was unabashedly himself and was comfortable taking risks . Whether he was fighting his record label to be released from an unfair contract or gender-bending well before gender-bending was met with a collective yawn, Prince stood out because he was unafraid to be him. Always. Every time.
Perhaps more than his musical legacy, the greatest gift the artist known as Prince gave was that it was cool to have the confidence to be 100% authentically you. Whether you are a musical artist or a salesperson, the most unique point of differentiation is being you. Some people will get you and some people won’t – but that’s really the point. When you have the courage to be you, the people who don’t understand you fall by the wayside as you allow yourself to be embraced and encouraged by the ones that do.
Prince was an innovator and is gone too soon. However, he left a staggering amount of art that will be enjoyed for many generations. Because he had the courage to embrace his differences and break the rules, his art matters today, tomorrow, and beyond. The lesson for all of us: be brave enough to be 100% you every minute of every day.