I have been a vegetarian for 12 years. I had to change my mindset for it to stop being a problem. I didn’t want people to know. I didn’t want to go to restaurants. I didn’t want to go to any parties, afraid what would happen if there was going to be food. It was hard in the beginning, until I realized that I had to embrace it. The reason I didn’t want people to know, was because I was the only one. I didn’t know any other vegetarians. I felt that I was all alone; fighting society, looking outside, without ever letting anyone inside.
Every time someone asked; I would look down, smile and say yes, I’m a vegetarian. It probably looked as if I was embarrassed or guilty of something. I would always know the next question. It was only one word, but that was the word I was most afraid of – why?
I know why. I have a “perfect” explanation of why. But, I didn’t want to tell anyone. I didn’t want them to know. They didn’t understand, no matter how hard I explained.
I believe that every human being is unique. I believe that my experience as a vegetarian can teach people something about marketing and being successful in business. If you’ve read the Purple Cow, you know that we need to be remarkable, and we need to be unique – instead most of us are afraid of standing out. It’s safe to be like everyone else. We’re thinking; if it works for them, it’ll work for us. It used to be true, but not anymore.
Think different. Why should they come to you, why should they ask you, if they could get exactly what you represent anywhere else?
Embrace your identity.
I’m not saying vegetarianism is a positive thing for you or for most people I talk to. But, what I’m saying is that it’s different, it’s something people notices and don’t forget. The people I meet keep asking the same question; why? And, when I answer, they follow up with a new question; what do you eat?
I’m very interested in why we eat what we eat. I’m not on a mission to turn people into vegetarians, but I believe that too many people are taking shortcuts, and just going with the flow and doing what is common.
Doing what’s common is not necessary a good thing.
You need to be strong in order to survive in business. The competition is harder than ever, no matter what your business is. As a consumer, we have close to infinite choices.
I’m not eating meat, a lot of people are like me; it’s more common in Norway than ever. I believe that soon, if your restaurant doesn’t have a vegetarian alternative, you’ll be out of business. I didn’t used to know any vegetarians, now, I’m meeting many – mainly beause of the Vegetarian festival.
The process of telling the world about being a vegetarian has been hard. Being different is not easy, no matter what the reason is. You’re afraid that people don’t understand you, and that they won’t appreciate you as much as they used to. The same goes for marketing. You won’t know if you’re going to be successful if you’re doing something brand new. But, you need to try. You need to trust your gut feeling.
The only way you’ll be truly successful, in the end, is by turning purple – being remarkable and unique.
Think about it – why hide, when we’re all born to stand out?