“What’s unique about you?”
I used to hate that question with a passion, and it came up in so many training courses that I attended!
Now I’m asking you the same question! 😱
But I hope I can do it in a way that doesn’t feel quite so scary.
You see, I’m not challenging you to sell yourself to me as I was being asked to do. I already know that you are unique, so my aim is to help you connect with and feel proud of your uniqueness so that you find it easier to show up and let it shine through.
How are you different from the people around you?
This was the question that helped me start to get comfortable exploring the concept of uniqueness.
I knew that there were things that made me different from those around me – being a woman surrounded by male colleagues was a start, but there were other things too:
- I had a maths degree in an engineering company, so I took a different approach to the way I solved problems
- in my team, I was the people person that enjoyed getting people to connect and exploring ideas together
- I was younger than many of my colleagues, so I had a different perspective of life outside of work
- I was interested in connecting detail with the big picture and enjoyed translating between the two.
I found it relatively easy to notice things that made me different from those around me, but I was still uncomfortable with the idea of being unique.
What makes you special?
I think this is the core of what made me feel uncomfortable.
For me, being unique seems to suggest I was special in some way, and I didn’t believe I was.
Being different from those around me was one thing, but claiming that I was unique and special in the world felt conceited and arrogant.
However, over time I started to notice more things that made me different, and as I put them together I found it more and more difficult to spot anyone else with the combination of experiences and skills I had.
I started to see my uniqueness in a different way.
There is nothing special in being unique!
As I sat with this for longer I started to notice that I am the only person in the world who has lived through all the experiences I’ve had.
I realised that even two identical twins are unique once they are born into the world. While they might have the same genetic make-up, and do everything together, they would still see things from slightly different perspectives and these experiences would affect their reactions and interpretations of the world around them.
That insight made me realise that we are all unique. So claiming your uniqueness is not arrogant or conceited, it’s just the way life works!
Noticing uniqueness in nature...
As I started to look around me and get interested in how life expresses itself in nature, I started to notice uniqueness everywhere.
Every flower has its own unique structure, every blade of grass, every leaf. Uniqueness is everywhere, and nature isn’t ashamed to show it off.
But it’s not about showing it off in an arrogant sense. It’s more about showing up and saying “Hi, I’m me, and I’m proud to be!”
Do you show off your uniqueness?
Your combination of skills and experiences makes you just as special as everyone else in the world.
But that’s not a reason to hide away. It’s a reason to stand up and speak out.
All those people that you look up to – you are just as special as them! You deserve to be out there, sharing your message in your own way and making your difference in the world in the way that makes sense to you.
Because that’s what life is about, and that’s what you were born to do!
How do you feel about being unique and letting that uniqueness show?
If, like me, you struggle to feel it, start by getting curious about the way you think about it:
- does changing the word help? What if you started out by noticing how you are different instead?
- how about the scale of uniqueness? Could you notice a few small things that make you stand out against your colleagues or friends?
Notice what you notice and give yourself time to explore. As you do you’ll start to find yourself identifying the places where you bring your unique value to the world.
If you have any questions or need any help with getting comfortable with your uniqueness, come over and join the discussion in my Facebook group for women in tech, or if you’d like a more in-depth exploration you can book a one-off Visibility Strategy session with me at any time using this link.
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