Your edge is probably the most important tool you have. An edge is not something you do a bit better than others; it’s THE thing that sets you apart entirely. The thing you become synonymous with.

Maintaining your edge is a constant battle against complacency. It requires effort, focus, and a deliberate commitment to excellence. Not good. Not great. Exceptional.

The caveat to this is that edges cut both ways. A blade without a hilt is dangerous and unpredictable.

Knowing your edge is the first step.
Dedication to honing it is the second. 
But both are useless without the balance required to make that edge effective.


While writing (re-writing) this, I came across Jeff Bezos’ final letter to investors as CEO of Amazon. He’s a great writer and it’s worth reading the whole thing, but the end is particularly relevant, and I’ve added excerpts of it here:

How much work does it take to maintain your distinctiveness? To keep alive the thing or things that make you special?
We all know that distinctiveness – originality – is valuable. We are all taught to “be yourself.” What I’m really asking you to do is to embrace and be realistic about how much energy it takes to maintain that distinctiveness. The world wants you to be typical – in a thousand ways, it pulls at you. Don’t let it happen.
You have to pay a price for your distinctiveness, and it’s worth it. The fairy tale version of “be yourself” is that all the pain stops as soon as you allow your distinctiveness to shine. That version is misleading. Being yourself is worth it, but don’t expect it to be easy or free. You’ll have to put energy into it continuously.
Be kind, be original, create more than you consume, and never, never, never let the universe smooth you into your surroundings.