During a recent trip to Chicago, I found myself approached by an austere, elderly security guard. By his positioning and his posture, it was evident that I was the focus of something serious. Without addressing me directly, he leaned toward me and said, “You know you’re wearing that hat.” It wasn’t a question, but a statement. I was confused for a moment, until he added, “And you got it on just right.” I thanked him and moved off to ponder the import of the moment.
Wearing my newly-purchased, Donegal-made cap is an homage to my ancestry (as evidenced in the picture above). I take pride in perpetuating the spirit of adventure that led my great grandfather to leave Ireland and move his family to Canada, then to America.
But I also recognize that, when done artfully and intentionally, without looking for attention just for attention’s sake, such differentiation can help set you apart. All of this to say, find what makes you unique. It could start with your style, but dig deeper and nurture those facets of you that demand attention from the world because they are worthy and valuable, not only to you but to those whose lives you touch.
We sit up and take note of the innovative, the fresh, the clever, the adventurous. If your version of “The Hat” is an idea or a novel approach to a problem, don’t sit back and wait for someone else to have the courage to voice it, stealing your thunder. Be confident in what’s within you and how you express it.
Am I the same guy without the hat? Of course–but I have grown attached to the idea that I am “tipping my hat” to generations of adventurous souls who grabbed a suitcase, hopped a boat or a train, and struck out to face a world with their greatest assets…themselves.
Wear That Hat!