How to magnify your uniqueness



Sometimes just simply identifying what makes you truly unique can be the hardest part.


You’ve known yourself your entire life. You have a general idea of what you are like as a person, what your strengths are. You believe you have a pretty good hold of what people are like in general and can observe unique talents that they possess (and even wished you had). So why is it so damn hard to land on and magnify your unique you?


Well, I would ask you this:

  1. Do you really know what unique strengths you possess?

  2. Have you ever interrogated these strengths to understand how they can help or hinder you?

  3. Do you really understand the strengths of the people around you – or are you making assumptions?

  4. Do you know how to communicate your strengths to others so they can get the best of you?

Well if you don’t, you’re not alone. Let’s crack open each of these a little more to discover how you can start to magnify your uniqueness.


IDENTIFY YOUR UNIQUE STRENGTHS

The CliftonStrengths theory is basically this. Every human is made up of 34 innate talents (referred to as strengths) which are grouped into 4 main domains. The strengths that give you the most energy are the ones that you gravitate towards more intensely. These are usually captured in your Top 5 strengths, but they can sometimes extend out to a few more. Focusing on your strengths rather than your weaknesses will help you accelerate success and live a happier life.


To find out what your strengths are, you can complete a CliftonStrengths assessment (by Gallup). It provides an overview of the order of your strengths and a deep dive into your top 5 strengths. Take some time to reflect on your individual strengths and the domains they fall under.


Table: 34 Strengths by Domain (Source: Gallup, CliftonStrengths)


My top 5 strengths are:

  1. Achiever (executing)

  2. Learner (strategic thinking)

  3. Competition (influencing)

  4. Ideation (strategic thinking)

  5. Futuristic (strategic thinking)

When reading through my detailed report, I looked for things that made me unique. The things that correlated with what others had told me in the past. For example, here’s a few snippets:

  • Unrelenting energy

  • Able to work at high energy levels for long hours without burning out

  • Genuine excitement at learning and applying that new learning

  • High levels of confidence in a mastered skill

  • Quick to learn, apply and move on to the next project

  • Competition invigorates you and you love to win

  • Fascinated by ideas

  • Excited about finding simple ways to explain complex concepts

  • Bring a new perspective on familiar challenges

  • People see you as creative, original or smart

  • You can peer over the horizon and see in detail what the future might hold

  • You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be

  • People look to you to describe your visions of the future

My first thought was – that’s nice. I’m not overly surprised. I have heard these things before – just articulated more succinctly in the report.


But then I started to listen to my peers. Their reports sounded a lot different to mine. This made me pause. Whilst I feel completely energised by this list, others didn’t. In fact, many felt completely overwhelmed and exhausted by my list of strengths and their associated attributes. At 40 years of age – it was the first time I truly started to reflect on who I am, what gives me energy and how that relates (and differs) to those around me. It was definitely an ah-ha moment.


INTERROGATE YOUR TALENTS

It’s super easy to only see the good bits in your report and disregard the rest, but every strength has its good side and its bad side, and it can be quite confronting to acknowledge what stage of development your talents are up to.


Achiever

Achiever is the most common of all 34 strengths, with roughly 31% of people globally having it in their top 5. When I first reflected on how this wonderful strength showed up in my daily life, the good bits were easy to see and connect with (refer to Column 1 'The Good Bits'). But then I questioned myself on what happens when these same attributes are not fed or are blocked in some way (refer to Column 2 'My Attitude if Blocked'). Then I considered how I could better harness my strengths for good and not evil (refer to Column 3 'So Do What?').

What does this tell me? If I am more thoughtful in the upfront planning and setting of expectations, I can help you to get the best of me (without the attitude).


AWARENESS OF OTHER’S STRENGTHS

When you understand the accelerators and inhibitors of each strength, you start to understand how you get the best out of yourself and others.


Here’s a snap-shot of the drivers behind my Top 5 strengths and how they compare with the drivers behind other strengths:

What this shows me is that the way I interact with the world and the things that I place value in could be considerably different to the next person.


How do I ask the right questions to best understand what makes others thrive and how do we work together to bring out the best of both of us?


I particularly like the last two comparisons. How do I help a focused strategic thinker to crack open their creative minds to think big before leveraging their strengths to narrow in on a particular area of focus and set the strategic path to get there?


MAGNIFY YOUR UNIQUENESS

I have found that the best way to magnify my unique strength is to focus on 5 simple things:

  1. Self-awareness – Really get inside these core strengths, understand what makes them shine and what gets in their way.

  2. Understand others – Take the time to observe. Ask questions. Understand what strengths others possess. With this knowledge, I can make better decisions, be more thoughtful, considered and inclusive.

  3. Accelerate together – Look for complementary strengths in others, deliberately declare them and leverage them to accelerate together.

  4. Use my strengths regularly – Find projects that allow me to use my core strengths every day in life and at work.

  5. Own it – Be honest and authentic about who I am. Love the impact I can have when I get all my strengths firing at once and in sync with others.


Do you know how to magnify your uniqueness? I hope this has helped set you on a path of self-discovery. Want to learn more? Subscribe to stay up to date with our latest posts.

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