Embrace Your Inner Extraordinary
You are unique. Think about it: There are over 7 billion people on our planet and not one of them is identical to you. Study up a bit on the science behind DNA, and you’ll quickly learn just how different you are from co-workers working alongside you. While understanding what’s unique about you can give you a leadership edge, even better is learning what’s extraordinary about you — those unique traits or abilities that are super special to you. Consistently work to emphasize, develop, or leverage those, and you’ll eventually carve out a clearer, greater leadership advantage.
I’m a firm believer that there’s something extraordinary about everyone, and it’s crucial to surface that if you want to change and grow. When you figure out what’s uniquely out of the ordinary about you and are able to align that with achieving your goals and vision as a leader, it can create not only incredible satisfaction but also joy — both of which are powerful and motivating.
What I find, particularly when I’m hiring or mentoring someone, is that people don’t always know what’s extraordinary about them at first. However, there’s a process of discovery that I like to use that often helps both of us figure it out. If you’re not quite sure, here’s what I suggest you consider:
Examine what you love to do. This is about exploring your passions. What gets you excited about work or life? Why are those things so meaningful and fulfilling to you? If you know you love to sail, don’t just settle with, “I love to sail because it’s fun.” Dig deep to get to the heart of what you love and determine what specific aspects of it lift your spirit or make you feel good. Whatever your passions are, these are part of your unique identity. They come from your heart, not just your head. They trigger your most positive feelings and emotions, making you feel like there’s a real reason and satisfaction behind living. The more consistently you match your passions with what you do, particularly by creating habits and sustaining practices that support doing what you love, the more likely you’ll achieve your true purpose in life.
Determine your best skills. To figure this out, simply ask: What do you do better than most other people you know? So often in life we tend to carry out a lot of negative self-talk, so it’s important to regularly and proactively think about what skills you have that do make you effective and yet different. Maybe you’ve got exceptional people skills, are super analytical, or have worked hard to become astute at organization. Your best skills are whatever you’ve clearly learned to do really well in life. If you don’t know, ask people you know and trust to give you feedback. Because others might not have the skills you have, this will help you to see how whatever skills you have contribute to making you unique. It will also help you see perhaps how you could better apply your skills or make changes that will take better advantage of what you’ve learned to do well at work or in your personal life.
Know your true gifts. Gifts are different from skills. While skills are learned, your gifts are innate. You were born with them. What have you always been good at, even from the time you were a child? If you were extremely verbal and chatty, perhaps you’re a natural-born communicator. If you were agile and strong, perhaps you are a natural-born athlete. Like your fingerprint, your unique gifts are so personal and tied only to you. If you fail to recognize and sufficiently use your gifts, you will probably feel like you’re missing the mark in life. Things just will never feel quite right.
Embracing your inner extraordinary is all about determining and fully tapping your passions, your skills, and your gifts to develop both personally and professionally. It’s about maximizing your potential, sharpening your personal edge, and staying true to the real you. And, it’s about disciplining yourself to identify and use the best of who you are to become the best leader you can be.
What makes you different and how has leveraging that impacted your leadership?