Week 11: Vol. 11. Embracing Your Uniqueness

20 Mar

VOL. 11

"Be a first rate version of yourself,
not a second rate version of someone else."


-- Judy Garland

flow dimension shaded. spiritual

I have been a student of peak performance and leadership my whole life. I’ve sought answers to the tough questions posed to peak performers, exceptional teams, high performing organizations, and healthy communities with the quest of identifying “the formula” for greatness.

Does it exist…? Yes, but the formula is uniquely yours—it requires you to discover it, not to copy it from another person, organization or community—it’s your formula.

The lives of great men and women: George Washington, Mother Theresa, Aristotle, Joan of Arc, Gandhi, Helen Keller, Abraham Lincoln…especially the greatest of these—the prophets, sages, and guru’s throughout history, are living models worthy of emulation, but not to copy. To copy denies you of your unique journey of success, failure and personal progression.

In our quest to “fulfill the measure of our creation”—seeking day by day to tap into our flow, which only we can discover, we must grapple with the dualistic notion of “perfection” and “uniqueness”.

In most performance arenas, we often have models and standards for excellence—even perfection: “No unenforced errors (tennis); 7 Sigma quality (manufacturing); “The philosopher king” (philosophy). We often compare ourselves to these ideals, discover our gaps, and seek to move the needle that much closer towards excellence. Is there something wrong with this? Of course not. The trap emerges, however, when we use others as our benchmark—enter uniqueness.

Comparing oneself to others is a common practice—one designed with good intent but negative results. It’s not that we can’t learn from others—we surely can and should. However, seeking to become “like” somebody else who may be demonstrating his or her version of excellence is a slippery slope towards personal mediocrity. Your formula for success is completely your own. It requires self-knowledge, understanding, testing and re-testing, refinement, flexibility in approach, and a deep seeded commitment to learn, grow, and evolve in ways that are specific to you.

Regardless of your arena, discovering your potential is a personal process. Finding Your Flow is about embracing this uniqueness. It is about being grateful for this process of self-discovery and owning every aspect of it.

I’ve met so many students and professionals who have thought that they would be happy and content if they could just have the talent, skills, money or pedigree of someone else. Their quest lies outside of themselves with another person as their standard of success. These people are doomed to failure no matter how close they become like their role models, because they "miss their own mark"—which is the actual meaning of "sin".

Looking at this from a spiritual perspective, there is a fundamental lack of gratitude that comes from looking to your left and right and comparing yourself to others. This not only denies you the fundamental truth of your individuality, but it denies your capacity for full growth and the unique value that is yours to add to the world at large.

Whatever your MLA’s, consider the unique contributions that you can make. Discover your perspective, your voice, your unique contribution—your personal brand. By doing this please do not discount or discard the value and uniqueness of others. Instead, celebrate the uniqueness we all possess. Stop competing for the same territory and instead seek to make your contribution. Even if you are competing with another for the same prize, honor the competition; recognize that Coke needs Pepsi and Microsoft needs Apple to foster greatness.

Above all, stay the course of your own game and your own journey. Own it: the good and the bad and the ugly, and seek to fulfill the measure of your creation by staying on the path that is uniquely yours. It is through this perspective and mindset that will help you find your flow and move closer to your full potential.


  • What Makes Me Unique exercise
  • Within multiple MLA’s identify where your uniqueness adds significant value
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