We all play many roles in life. Wear many hats. A mother. A spouse. A friend. A colleague. The academic one. The sporty one. The reliable one. The challenging one. The ambitious one. And so on and so on…
Identifying with certain roles and titles can give us a sense of self and a sense of security. It can help us to understand our role within a social order and fulfil the fundamental human need to belong. But the very act of trying to define complex, nuanced, and multifaceted human beings in such a one-dimensional way can also be restrictive and limiting. The professional world is fueled by systems, processes and norms. It is set up to yield productivity, efficiency, and mass output. But that often results in the suppression of individuality.
No two people are the same. We are all uniquely shaped by the beliefs that drive us, the way in which we see the world, the strengths we bring and the difference we make to those around us.
So how can you reclaim your uniqueness? How can you stop yourself from getting lost in the system and trapped within a metaphorical “box”? How do you let your individuality shine?
I believe the answer to this is in understanding and believing in the value of who you uniquely are and bottling this essence up so you can leave your mark on the world. Here are a couple of fun exercises you can try to help you master the art of being you.
Did you know that your strengths are a bit like fingerprints? Totally unique to you. Yes, on paper, other people may have the same set of strengths but how they show up and the impact they have is completely individual to you.
Try a bit of weekly 5 minute journaling to help you to spot yours.
Focus – What got you jumping out of bed this week? Where did you choose to focus your time and energy?
Feeling – When did you feel happiest and most energized this week? When did you get lost in the moment?
Flying – When did you feel at your best this week? What positive difference did you make?
Draw your future
How often do you stop to think about what you want in your life and career? Not what you think you should be or do or have. Not what other people think you should be or do or have. What you want.
To achieve change, you must first be able to see it. Patti Dobrowolski did a brilliant Ted Talk on this topic and shared that we remember things 65% better when they’re attached to a picture.
Imagine you are stepping into the future you want. How do you feel? What are you doing? Who is around you? What difference have you made?
Each of our stories is individual and each of our paths is individual. So go on, embrace your uniqueness, and go create the career you really want.