For #FBF, originally posted October 6, 2011

What Is Your Unique Factor?

Virtual Hired Hand - What Is Your Unique Factor

When you think of the word unique, what comes to mind?

  • Different
  • Unusual
  • Weird
  • Uncommon
  • Only one of its kind

This list could go on and on. Are you aware of what sets you apart from everyone else who does what you do?

What do your clients, friends, or family say makes you stand out from the rest?

If you and I were selling a widget on opposite street corners and had been given the same sales training we would still sell the widget differently.

Why?

Because we both bring a unique factor to the product.

Your unique factor is….YOU!

One of my favorite quotes is “No one can beat you at being you.”

So why are so many people copy-cating the way someone speaks, writes, or does whatever it is that they do?

I’m perplexed at why we’re not okay with our unique factor.

Remember when being different was cool. But we still weren’t quite sure what it meant so we looked to others to show us the way.

In the 80’s it was banana clips, one lace glove thanks to Madonna, and mismatched earrings. And for Halloween you may have dressed up like Tina Turner with wild hair and a big sweatshirt dress. Oh how different we were!

Were you a fan of the Cosby Show? The sweaters, the “Gordon Gartrelle” shirt Denise made for Theo, the funky hairstyles were our guide to being different, unique.

The 90’s brought big hoop earrings with a key hanging from it thanks to Janet Jackson. Did you have a pair of parachute pants aka MC Hammer pants?

The guys wore high top fades. One guy in high school used to wear bowling shoes instead of the typical oxfords and I’m sure he was copying someone else. Salt ‘N’ Pepa had us wearing our hair asymmetrically, one side was long and the other short. It took forever for the short side to catch up when you got tired of the haircut. My poor cabbage patch doll also was a victim to this hairstyle. And I cannot forget the mile high stacked bangs. Either way, we all had our own “unique” style.

Welcome to the 21st Century! We’re all grown up and have replaced our favorite singers and TV show characters with our favorite peeps online. We’re copying how they talk, wear their hair, and how they write.

We’ve some how missed the fact that we’ve been uniquely and wonderfully made by God. Unique – different – only one – limited edition – none can match it, yet unfortunately we’re too afraid to be just that.

In school we were told how to write and in what voice to write. We were even told which pencil to use and how to shade in the circle just right so your answer would get counted on the test.

As much as we want to break free we struggle, afraid we’ll be judged or won’t get hired or selected. We want to be social on social media, yet aren’t sure if we should separate and hide our real friends from our online friends.

God forbid someone find out I enjoy loud music dancing and singing and that’s just at church.

If you knew I was a Jesus freak would you still love me? Would you still ask to work with me? Would you still like me, follow me, and retweet me?

Ever felt like you were behind and the more you try to catch up the farther behind you got. It’s because you’ve gotten out of your lane and are trying to run someone else’s race. Of course it doesn’t have to be that way when you’re being yourself in all it’s uniqueness. Including the tattoo you got sophomore year in college because your roommate and her friend were going to get one so you tagged along.

Too often I’m seeing carbon copies of things I’ve read or heard. It’s real easy to do with information being available so freely online.

My desire is for you to stand strong, stand up, and be the person you’ve been created to be. It’s tempting to follow the crowd and copy someone else and on the surface appears to be so much easier. In reality, it’s not. It’s hard waiting to see what the Joneses are going to do next so you’ll know your next move.

Get your voice, your style, and your own abilities. If I were to act like you and you were to act like me, the world would be a mess because we’d bump into each other. No one would ever start after the ‘mark, get set, GO!’ We’d all be stalling waiting to see what the first person was going to do so we’d know what to do.

It seems crazy to think that being ourselves could some how turn people away. And if it does, what? If someone doesn’t think you’re for them you shouldn’t change, instead seek those made just for you and build a fun and happy community.

Can you believe some business owners are hiding behind their logos and stock photos because they’re concerned people will find out what they look like? And people are sitting in seminars and paying money and fed this crap. It makes me upset because in some way shape or form we’ve all been affected by it.

Let’s run the race we’ve been given and run it swiftly gracefully and seek guidance when we need it. And then go right back and continue the flow again and again and again.

I challenge you today, take a look at your website, your product, your social media profiles. Is it a reflection of who you really are, what someone told you would work, or what you thought looked good on someone else’s so you put it on yours? If it’s not you, it’s time to make it yours.

Lots of people are counting on you to show up. Not the person you’re copying or presenting as you, but the real you. The world is waiting in earnest expectation for the uniqueness of you.

This post was written prior to hearing about the passing of Steve Jobs. If there’s one thing we can all learn from him, it’s to: Embrace YOU, crazy and all!

Now it’s your turn. Please share what it means to be yourself in your business and in life.

Join the discussion 18 Comments

  • Lori Bruton says:

    Hi Tiffany,
    Very inspiring. To be myself is having the freedom to do what I enjoy, have flexibility, and the financial freedom make it happen. I want to release my gifts and have them touch the hearts of others. The current steps I’m taking will help get where I need to be.

  • Iva Edwards says:

    Tiffany, thank you so much for the challenge to be our true self. This is such a thinking question, but I am glad you put it out there. Thank you for making me think deeper. Wow!

    • tiffany says:

      My pleasure Iva:) I’m so glad it’s got you thinking. Embrace and love on you!! Looking forward to seeing how this transpires with your blog.

  • Tiffany,

    Thank you for writing and challenging us to be the real “us”. Just a little while ago I had a phone conversation with a friend and this very topic came up, can you believe it? Yes, and I had a major break through, a revelation about who I am…really am. I trying to find my voice here, on social media and the big wide world of the internet I didn’t know where I belonged. As a baby-boomer I was resisting fitting in there…I had this preconceived idea of my grandma…I did not want to read some “geezer’s blog” about a rest-home somewhere. I wanted to read the happening gals stuff. Now, I know you are rolling on the floor because you know me and my voice! Yet, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Ready? I am a grandma of four, I am full of live and sharing that life with others who want to live. By turning back the clock on disease it will keep us out of the rest-home where I do not want to go. Oh my gosh, I got who I am and now the world had better hold onto their shorts cause this fiery grandma is going all out, she found her uniqueness and is sharing it worldwide. You are awesome Tiffany and I am so glad to call you my friend, my business associate and my VA…all wrapped up in your unique self!

    • tiffany says:

      I’m so excited for you Carla!!! Too funny…lol! There’s no way anyone would think your blog is a “geezer blog”:) I’m honored to be a part of your virtual circle of peeps. Much love to you, the forever young grandma;)

  • Olga Hermans says:

    Yes Tiffany you inspired us to be our own unique person. Our values are so important; they shape our character and how we want to be remembered by others. I also never knew much about Steve Jobs. Now I do and I think he is a great man, a great example. Food for thought; what will we leave behind? I am thankful that I know my creator and that I can be content in that very fact. Thanks Tiffany!

    • tiffany says:

      My pleasure Olga! Thank you for sharing:) The passing of Steve Jobs certainly put a magnifying class on what we’re doing with the life we’ve been given. No more holding back!

  • Great article! I agree – you are a gift and have found your uniqueness. Thank you so much for sharing this article with us.

  • Cielo Cloud says:

    Wow Tiffany, you out did yourself with this one. Thank you for reminding us that it is best to be ourselves. There is nothing better than being real and authentic. This forced me to go to the mirror and take a long hard look at myself to make sure I was being true to me. Great article. It was a real eye opener.

    • tiffany says:

      Thanks so, so much Cielo! I had no idea what an impact this article would make. I’m truly humbled and grateful. It’s so freeing when you can just…BE:)

  • Vondie says:

    Tiffany,
    You KNOW I always love your inspirational newsletters! But, this one really tops them all! Thank you for sharing and for being exactly who you are! You inspire me!
    xoxo
    Vondie šŸ™‚

  • Golda Smith says:

    I never really knew much about Steve Jobs but since hearing of his passing I’ve been reading many of his quotes and I love how he just encourages us to LIVE life in the now, to be YOU…the real you.

    What does it mean to be myself in business and personal life? That I’m free to be all that God designed me to be even when I don’t understand it or feel fear, it’s okay as long as I keep moving forward.

  • Sharon O'Day says:

    Tiffany, it’s been a long time since something I read shook me up as much as this piece did. It gnaws at the very essence of whether or not we think we’re okay as we are. Not the veneer we present to the world, but our raw, naked selves. I had a bunch of first reactions. Now I need to think about them for awhile. Wow. I think I thank you … no, I know I do. What better gift?

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