There’s something troubling I’ve heard a lot over the past several years, doing this work of helping women share their voices.
A woman wants to create something – to write something, or tell her story in some way, or create a new product or service. She feels some sense of calling, of pull, of inspiration.
But a rather insistent voice in her head says, “But you have nothing new to add here. What you’re saying (or doing, or creating) isn’t unique.“
That belief becomes a barrier to her sharing her voice.
Let’s slow down the process enough to see how, if a woman is ever having this But-Is-It-Unique? conversation with herself, something has already come between her and her creative flow.
There was a moment when she looked at herself from the outside: How will this fare? Will they like it? Will they feel it’s different enough from what they’ve already heard?”
When we are in the territory of “I have nothing new to add here…I’m not unique” we are in the dangerous territory of self-assessment and self-objectification.
First, this conversation with ourselves is never productive or helpful. I have never heard of an example when someone concluded from the But-Is-It-Unique? conversation with themselves that their work was unique, or discovered some ways to make it more unique.
Sure, if we want to influence people or grow a business, we need to discover what’s compelling for our desired audience. But we do that best through clear-eyed, emotionally neutral experimentation – putting different creations into the world and seeing what resonates. That’s quite different than sitting at home worrying your work offers nothing “new.”
Second, here’s the thing: we don’t produce unique work because we thought about it, or because we tried to make our work more distinctive. In fact, the uniqueness of our creations is not something we can ever increase or generate directly, by focusing on it.
Uniqueness is a product, or a byproduct. It’s an outcome.
Uniqueness is a product of authenticity. Be authentic, and you will never need to worry about your work’s uniqueness. Period.
Share your real ideas. Share the stories from your journey; they are unique when you tell the truth about them. Notice the wispy and whispering insights that pop up inside you, especially the ones that seem a little odd at first. Stalk the subjects of your real curiosity. Bring all your strengths to the table; you have a singular set.
And don’t get your hair blown out straight for the big professional event, and don’t wear the uncomfortable thing you think you should wear. Talk and look like the real you when you show up for us.
When you are courageously true to yourself, your work will be stunningly unique.
photo credit: Sydney Rae