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
Join the discussion 23 Comments
Finally, I am leaving a comment. I love hearing this
“Stalk the subjects of your real curiosity.” and will repeat it to myself all day today. Thank you for your continuing inspiration and creative guidance. You help me make my difference actually work. xx Nancy
Thank you. It’s true . . . we are, just by being who we are, unique. And if we rely on that we’re way ahead of the game. And I (we) will always feel better being real . . . every time I wear something or do something I think others expect I’m so uncomfortable I’m distracted and then who do people see? Certainly not the real, unique person I am.
Thank you so much for this, Tara. As a Movement Therapist, I work in “yoga-type” clothes. I am not a high-heeled, dress for success person. Thank you for confirming what I’ve believed – Be Yourself!
You offer such unique insights, thank you again.
You read my mind! I was going through this dilemma last week. Thank you for talking about this with such clarity and affirmation.
[…] But It’s Not Unique… >>> […]
Thanks for the reminder, Tara. When I’m feeling that my creations or product ideas are not unique, I have to remind my self of all the businesses, music, books, etc. that exist and realize that the theme maybe the same but they all have a style or uniqueness that separates them. Not all rock ballads sound the same. Not all dentists are exactly alike. We all contribute uniqueness when we are authentic.
You know Tara, you had me at, “…stalk the subjects of your real curiosity…” Awesome! But you really nailed it when you told me not to blow out my hair, etc. LOVE! You’ve nailed it again Ms. Poet-Angel-Warrior.!!!
Bullseye! Individual self expression makes everything you do unique. Knowing this is fundamental to “Playing Big”.
Here here! I see it all the time too – and have definitely been guilty of it in the past. I now know with 100% certainty that it always comes back to being yourself and being ok with that … exactly as you are. Thanks for sharing.
I love this point … I have personally been in this journey that I recently turned into a blog because it’s been so meaningful for me and I’ve definitely had moment where I’m like “well I didn’t create the idea of happy days” but I have to remind myself – I’m doing it for me and I’m doing it and have done it authentically this whole time which is why it turned into “life” for me… So I squashed that voice shortly after it popped up but totally resonate with this. Thank you
“When you are courageously true to yourself, your work will be stunningly unique.”
This sums it up so well. Thanks for this piece, Tara. <3
One word… gobsmacked. I opened this and read it at the moment I came back upstairs from putting my next quilt creation on my longarm machine… wondering if it was unique enough. Thank you SO MUCH Tara for your words… my heart is grateful 🙂
I am really glad I read this email. I doubt my moving forward because of there being so many already doing and saying what I want to say but when you put it as you have about being authentic, telling your story your way and dressing in a way that says ‘this is who I am’, you are totally bang on that it will be my uniqueness and simply being me that will do the job without me having to jump through hoops and come up with a totally different concept in order to be heard. thank you – I needed this today.
Babies have already been “done” but that shouldn’t stop us from making new ones 🙂 ?
Can there be too much goodness? Creativity, support, love, inspiration, colour, music, laughter, kindness – whatever we have to share with others, our unique way of doing it adds to the total goodness in the world. And isn’t that great!
It is funny how you always seem to say just the right words at the right time to give me a little push on my own path. Thank you
This is so huge.
Your post is a totally accurate portrayal of this process – the takeover. I say huge because… imagine the all of the work that is halted.
I can definitely relate. What always comes next for me is the let-down; the disappointment in recognizing that I let it win again.
Thank you for reminding us that by being ourselves, simply authentic with who we are, it is already unique.
Sitting here with tears in my eyes. I’ve been having this conversation for almost 20 years now. And I’m exhausted beyond belief. Never thought about just facing into the wind of authenticity. Oddly that feels refreshing and rejuvenating. Thank you buckets for helping us creatives get out of our head and get on with creating.
Thank you Tara, you do touch lives…
Yes! I love this.
I think there’s a lot to the idea that someone can hear something a hundred times and on the 101st time, it finally clicks. We may be talking about similar topics, but the way we filter it, the lens we use, the language we employ may be the key for someone to finally feel it in their bones. I try not to overthink this, speak from my heart and let it get sorted out later.
Thank you for this lovely reminder to just be ourselves.
[…] something I wrote the other day in my post about authenticity that I want to come back to. […]
Thank you Tara, this post made me stronger.
[…] “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.” But it’s not unique… Tara Sophia Mohr […]