There was a gate that led to the beach in the neighborhood where we were renting. The instructions to access the beach were very clear, and access required a key.
I was met by a tall chainlink gate with a deadbolt for a lock. I inserted the key, opened the gate, and headed to the beach. Once through, it was about 115 steps downward to the water level; a switchback set of steps, riser after riser. This was a rugged beach. A Puget Sound area beach. There were seals in the water at a distance, bald eagles perched on rocks, and also flying above. Ships could be seen heading out to sea and at close proximity. Blackberries were everywhere, draped on the vines, swollen and ripe with no competition for them. There wasn’t another soul to be seen while I was there. Not a single person, except for my family.
The best places and spaces require more work to access and experience; a path less traveled. “Blue water” and “empty spaces” are usually hard to find. They make us sweat. They stretch us. They require effort and intention to access and dwell within, but the experience offered is unique.
The same is true in our businesses, departments, families, relationships, and work. Unlocking the gate, working to get to a differentiated space, takes effort. But there’s no crowd. The crowd prefers the easy route. The commodity route, the crowded space.
What effort are we willing to put forth to be unique, to be differentiated, to define as a niche?