I have a confession to make: I started my company not knowing exactly what I was going to do. OK, I feel better now that I got that off my chest.
Truthfully, I spent a long time thinking about going off on my own, but not actually starting anything. I was frozen by the dreaded MFA_ and IGN acronyms. Don’t know these particular gems? Here they are:
- MFA_: My friends are ___ (bigger, better, bolder, smarter, etc.)
- IGN: I got nothin’ (unique to say…)
This is a big problem for many of us: we want to have a new and unique position, but we compare ourselves to every person we know, including our former selves. We think that what defines our success needs to be compared to the success of others. We seek to be defined by the same standards (and same things) as our peers and friends. For many, while we want to be unique, we want to do it from the safety of being like everyone else.
For me, I had all my identity focused on what I used to be, and what I once did. I was comparing my potential with my past, and the trajectory of those that remained in the media realm. Of course I didn’t have a unique idea if I was trying to remain a production company executive (in mindset but not in position). What I forgot was that I left that track because I was ready to try something new. But now that “new” was part of my acronym-induced stagnation, one in which I was not able to see the uniqueness that is Patrick Jager.
So let’s dive into the idea of being unique, and how I adjusted my perspective, and if needed, how you adjust yours.
I love the above definition: “unlike anything else” (synonym: unparalleled). Each of us can claim this. Every person is one of a kind, but like noted above, we seldom truly look to this as an asset or strength devoid of comparisons. Ironic that when asked about those we admire, we almost always point out those distinguishing factors that are unique. But in ourselves, not so much.
Remember: being unique is infinitely better than being perfect, or being like everyone else. Understanding your unique DNA and the core of who and what you are is all it takes to succeed. Your DNA is indeed irreplaceable. If you are not sure what your strengths are, you have to dig. I’m a fan of coaches and masterminds. I’m a fan of consultants, staff or mentors who can help direct your focus and energy. I’m also a fan of personality and strength testing.
I recently took the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment, and while there are many assessments out there, this one is at the top of the analysis heap for me. Specifically, I like that it is solely a ranking of 34 abilities in the order of each person’s strength. The possibility of another person having the same exact order is 1 in 133 million. When you look at that number, I’m pretty unique, and so are you.
Understanding what makes you unique (should be) the number 1 priority for every person and every business.
Once you understand what your strengths are, your job is to lean into that which makes you unique. Do this and you have the potential to flourish. Focus on your strengths and you no longer worry about the acronyms: the “what do my friends do better than me” or, “I don’t have a unique idea that compares” moments. If you truly want to excel, you only need to worry about your unique “1 out of 133 million” self.
My uniqueness is my ability to help at the macro level: strategy partnered up with the ability to translate ideas into concepts that elicit growth. It makes me and my services unique. So I no longer think about the acronyms or my similarities to others. I focus on my skills and how I can best serve others with my unique abilities.
How do you embrace your uniqueness? What do you do to get to your personal DNA and narrative? I’d love to hear your stories, and your Gallup results.
Here’s to you and all that makes you unique!
Patrick Jager is the CEO of CORE Innovation Group – expert strategy and implementation in media, communications and business development across a wide spectrum of industries.