Some years ago, the comedian Billy Crystal told me a story that forever changed the way I thought about my work in both the business and entertainment fields.

Billy described an incredible opportunity he had while getting his start in New York. He performed a show where a major producer was in attendance. This was someone who had already produced several Woody Allen films and had the leverage to take Billy's career to the next level.

According to Billy: The show went great and the crowd loved it. In my dressing room after the show, I got a knock on the door. It was that major producer. We started to talk and I asked him what he thought. He said, "The crowd loved you. But it wasn't for me."

The producer went on to tell Billy that he didn't get a sense of who he was as a person when he was onstage. He didn't "leave a tip."

This forever impacted the way Billy Crystal performed from that point on.

Think of those people who dominate their industries and notice how they manage to imprint their personalities on everything they can.

Ask yourself if you really feel like you know who they are as a person, or if their public persona is a mask they slip on and off.

Think about Robert Kiyosaki, Tiffany Haddish, Tony Robbins, and Oprah Winfrey. Are these people concealing aspects of their personality when they engage with others in their field?

A big resounding of course not.

They all leave a "tip." A "tip" is the something about you--your personality--that's memorable. It's that little bit extra you give of yourself.

With some clients, it can be easy to discover what someone's tip is--sometimes it's a raucous voice, other times it's a dry wit, other times it is a sweet grandfatherly manner (I once coached an executive who looked like William H. Macy's grandpa).

Realizing and accepting your tip allows you to elevate your work from good to great.

This is because you are allowing your inherent uniqueness to excel and that will always give you an advantage.

Often with people I coach, they say things like, "I need to make my voice sound less brash" or "I need to not throw in sarcastic one-liners during this meeting" or "I need to seem more powerful and less like someone's cute gramps."

The problem is that all these instincts are wrong. In fact, I wouldn't even refer to these ideas as "instincts" but more like panicked thoughts that tell you that being more generic, more like everyone else is the answer--and it's NEVER the answer.

When you figure out what your tip is and embrace it, resisting all urges to suffocate it, people are going to trust you more. This is pivotal. The reason they will inherently trust you more is that they think they know you or have an accurate sense of you.

They think they've gotten an idea of your internal landscape of who you are, and they have an idea of what to expect. This fosters the foundation of trust.

Keep in mind that embracing your tip is sometimes no easy task. Some clients I've worked with hate their tips, the way some people hate their profile or their height.

One of my clients, the one with the brash voice, hated the sound of her voice. She was always trying to sound more feminine and more "likable." I said her demeanor was likable enough. Her voice was a bit throaty and deep, but it was so unique. It was engaging. When she spoke, you always felt wide awake.

Hence, if you view your tip critically, it's likely that the rest of the world does not.

Of course, this doesn't mean you're going to land every account, woo every client successfully, or inspire every employee towards greatness.

It also does not mean everyone is going to like you, just as not everyone liked Joan Rivers, or not everyone likes Seth Meyers or Mark Zuckerberg, or Elon Musk.

The goal is not to be liked. It's to embrace the uniqueness of yourself, knowing it's not everyone's cup of tea.

Doing the work of discovering your tip and accepting it is always better than the alternative. The results you'll have in your career will be concrete proof.

Published on: Nov 1, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.