When you're a vegan amongst a family full of meat eaters, you're the exception. When you're the non-drinker at the brewery, you are the exception. When you're the freelancer amongst the employees, you are the exception.

Being the exception can be lonely. Being the exception can entice you into evangelism, justification and debate.

There's only one rule to being the exception: most people will think you're wrong.

I realised that over the last two weeks of retiring from social media, it's ended up taking up more time than it did before. Why? Because I'm talking about it. I'm sharing my hypothesis, asking for critical feedback — I want people to tell me why I'm wrong.

And it's unproductive.

When you're doing the exceptional — when you are the exception — there's less proof that you're right.

That's the advantage. That is the exciting bit. That is your opportunity to stand out amongst the crowd.

When you're taking on a new challenge and when you're changing direction, do it quietly.

The best way to guarantee success is to focus. Don't look left, and don't look right — look forward.

Identify that you're the exception and feel comfort in knowing that you're leading the way.