You are Unique, that’s your superpower. Lessons along the way – Part Six

No, “you are unique” is not a cliché. There is scientific evidence to prove that each of us is made genetically, unique. But also, our life experiences, personalities, exposure, and environment also ensure that we are unique.

That we are unique is what makes us special. Yes, there may be things you want to improve about yourself and possibly traits you admire in other people but all of that doesn’t take away the fact that you are UNIQUE. Everyone is unique, I must add.  Beyond knowing how special you are to be crafted as an original, here’s something to think about: That uniqueness is required for your professional well-being and success.

I came to this realization very early in my career and determined that I’d work in a way that had a mark of distinction. It was more meaningful for me to strive to be the best version of myself and work towards the global standard for my profession and industry rather than simply being better than a colleague across the room. I initially struggled with this. I had a supervisor who would often allude to other team members as the golden standard for particular traits. This was difficult for me as I was figuring out how to navigate the sales terrain and succeed. It was at this time that I discovered Blair Singer’s book, “Sales Dogs” and came to the firm realization that my unique personality was an asset I had to utilize in my job, and contrary to what was being portrayed, we all did not have to be attack dogs to succeed! To summarize Blair Singer, there are five ‘breeds’ of sales dogs: the tenacious Pitbull, the inquisitive Chihuahua, the Golden Retriever, the sophisticated Poodle, and the Basset Hound who pushes on at its own pace and establishes credibility. Like personality types, sales dogs differ in their uniqueness and strengths, and each ‘breed’ needs to work to their strengths if they want to succeed. Our unique personalities definitely impact how we execute tasks.

That you are unique should also give you a sense of pride in who you are and what your abilities are. No one is you. However, this should not make you believe you are indispensable. I have had to learn, albeit, the hard way, how to rest and take breaks after burning out a few times. What burnout taught me was that even though only Petra can do what Petra does uniquely, I am not indispensable.

My task, as a team leader, is to ensure goals are achieved by ensuring each team member is supported to play their part effectively. Each team member playing their role also means doing it in ways that uniquely apply to them. The temptation is to expect execution to be aligned with how you, the leader would want. However, remember that each teammate brings their unique set of abilities to a project. How you enable them to bring their unique abilities to bear will impact on their wellbeing and in essence the well-being of the project.

Your uniqueness is your superpower.

Do everything with your stamp of distinction, and predictable quality, and work with this awareness and consciousness. You can be a great team player but that does not mean you always have to think like the group. Intentionally try to set your mind to think what everyone else is not thinking.

Dissent is how innovation is birthed but don’t be disagreeable just because. No one wants to work with someone who is always in opposition. However, don’t be scared to disagree or go against the flow, and stand by your principles. Trust me, even those who chastise you for being principled admire the strength you have. They’ll loop back to you when they need someone they can trust.

I must add, however, that this will not be an easy road. It’s easier to conform. It is harder to stand out and principles are not always easy to defend.

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