Have you ever been described as walking to the beat of your own drum? I don’t actually know if anyone has said that about me, but I definitely do. I’m a very square peg.
There was a time when people applied the term “unique” to someone, they didn’t mean it in a complimentary manner. Rather it was offered as an explanation as to why they did not fit in or act or react like “normal” people. A case of this “unique” one isn’t like us… If you don’t understand someone or something its easy to just put it or them in the too hard basket.
So, aren’t we all unique in our own way? Yes. No. Maybe. Sometimes. Always.
We are all unique, each and every one of us.
It’s NOT the case that the majority are mainstream and the odd few are exceptional – it IS the case that many of us don’t let our distinctive and rare qualities shine through. Letting your uniqueness be visible can take courage.
I like to think of our individual traits as strands of colour, that we are all human colour palettes. You add a bit of this and a bit of that and you make one colour, you add a pinch more and its very different. Pantones of ascending and descending shades – all have value, all are relevant, but some stand out more than others. But then again, it comes down to personal preference and personal power.
I have a story of my childhood that I believe first made me aware of my unique self-lens. I knew that I saw things differently, but I didn’t know that it was my superpower. I do not look or sound or act in any exceptional way, but I do have a distinct way of viewing outcomes.
When I was about 9, I went to my first school swimming carnival. It was a brand-new school, and it was the first time that I was chosen as part of a team – any team. For context, I was a tiny child, gangly and outwardly timid. My team was entered into the medley relay swim and they asked which stroke I wanted to swim, I picked backstroke. I hopped into the pool, braced myself ready to push off at the gun. I did. And sank. 3 teachers jumped in to rescue me, the race was in chaos and everyone was either screaming or crying. Except me. You see I was the only one that knew I couldn’t swim.
I wasn’t traumatised or overwhelmed – the 3 teachers were, but they couldn’t very well punish me, I mean I had nearly drowned after all.
I just knew that the odds didn’t matter, the lack of ability didn’t matter.
My lack of fear also didn’t matter (it does now when I see my baby nephew jump in the pool) because that’s what was and is unique about me.
I wanted to do my part for the team, backstroke looked like I could manage it – no diving, and what did I have to lose? Of course, I was only 9 so drowning didn’t occur to me, and I think I assumed that I could manage it. I am shrugging casually even now with the emotional memory of that day.
I do not fear what I don’t know or haven’t done. I just take a deep breath and push off from the wall and start the journey to reach the destination.
If you don’t nourish your individuality and explore it, then it will dim. You don’t have to be the same as anything or anyone, and you don’t have to be dramatically different either to be unique. And your power of self has you its sole source.
So, it stands to reason that to be an authority, to have influence and clout you must tap into the power of your unique self or your USP, if we give it a business twist.
I’m not suggesting that you are the only authority with influence and clout, but I am suggesting that to achieve what you want, what you really really want deep down, regardless of how significant or insignificant it may seem to others, you must harness your unique self.
Imagine the loss of not realising your potential, of not sharing your gifts and never quite filling that empty space inside. Just imagine that moment where you choose to unleash the possibilities or the one where you do not. There is freedom in embracing your truth, of discovering what makes you tick. The expectation of what others think you should do rarely terminates in a satisfactory outcome for you, but it does give them control over your outcome and destination. But it’s not so much as what part others play, but rather what your contribution is that’s the deal maker.
Its always going to be about you. Just you.
Its our individual capacity to live and experience this life that in the end will deliver the uniqueness we allow ourselves to have. The power lies within you.
FYI – I was awarded best effort for my “swim”.