Everyone is unique.
Each of us have unique skills, strengths and qualities that make us who we are and what we offer unlike any other professional or business.
When we do the work to uncover that uniqueness and let it drive our actions and choices, we create a monopoly on what we offer because no one else offers what we do in quite the way we do it.
IDENTIFYING & COMMUNICATING YOUR UNIQUENESS
The process of uncovering one's unique value is rarely quick and easy. It takes asking yourself the right questions, using the right tools and most often getting support from those trained to help guide you through that journey. If attaining that clarity were that simple I suspect there would be many more self-realized and professionally satisfied people roaming around in the world.
Given a recent statistic that 87% of Americans hate their jobs and will be looking for new ones in 2011, it's clear that in at least a few parts of the world some people do not realize or do not know how to identify their unique value and let it drive their career choices. If they do, they aren't communicating it in a way that allows others to fully recognize it and hence are being passed over for job or business opportunities that are a great fit for them.
COMMUNICATION IS CRITICAL
Effectively communicating your uniqueness is critical to making sure that your approach and offerings are indeed seen as distinct and people can easily see the value you can create in the world. This is what leads to expat careers where a professional's potential is being fully utilized by an organization that truly appreciates the value they create. This is how expat entrepreneurs thrive even in difficult times because their differentiated offerings are not only authentically delivered and create real value in people's lives, but attract those who need what they offer most.
SUCCESS IS DIFFERENTIATION, NOT IMITATION
However when we have not done that work, or we don't feel confident enough in our own unique value to truly be ourselves, we tend to search for external inspiration to tell us what we should be saying, doing and choosing. We look to those who are successful and believe if we do as they do that we can be successful too.
Sadly this is more common than not. And what is even more unfortunate is that those who choose to do this often recommend this approach to others. This is how the falsehood is perpetuated that not everyone has something value to offer and that staying a generalist and attempting to present yourself as a high-priced commodity is going to increase your chances of success in global marketplace.
ARE YOU IMITATING INSTEAD OF DIFFERENTIATING?
If you are an expat professional or are pursuing an expat career, do any of the following apply?
- Your resume or CV looks like most of your competition's career marketing materials. You would struggle to find something that was unique to you other than you are not a country national.
- The language you use to describe yourself and what you do sound like it could describe many other people equally well.
- If someone asked you what your strengths were, you would tend to respond with strengths you think you should have given your current or target job rather than what your unique strengths actually were.
If you are an expat entrepreneur, do any of these describe you?
- You offer products and/or services that you think will sell rather than those that are aligned with your experience, training, skills or strengths AND your target market's real needs.
- Your products and/or services and the language used to describe them mimic those of your competitors.
- Your writing, website copy and blog topics/categories imitate or copy those of your competitors.
- When you are talking about your product and services, it feels like selling rather than you authentically sharing about how what you offer is unique and can create value in the world.
WITH DIFFERENTIATION COMES FREEDOM, FULFILLMENT and SUCCESS
If you believe you are imitating instead of differentiating, I am here to tell you that you don't have to anymore. You don't have to feel exhausted trying to be something that you are not. You don't have to spend so much time trying to convince others (and perhaps yourself) of this either.
I am also here to tell you that staying on that path is not only exhausting and ultimately unfulfilling, but will rarely lead to the kind of success you are looking for.
Elvis will always be the best Elvis there is. Elvis imitators will always be just that - imitators. They will never be able to be a better Elvis than he is. So if you are trying to imitate others, the best you are going to do is be a great imitator.
So why not...
- leverage your unique combination of experience, skills and strengths to offer something that maximizes your full potential and impact you can have in an organization or people's lives?
- eliminate the competition by becoming a monopoly on what it is that you do in the unique way that you do it?
- avoid becoming an commodity (and all the work that comes with not standing out naturally) by choosing not to compete by promoting yourself in the same way as your competition?
- achieve success by being who you are naturally - creating more ease, fulfillment and flow in your life?
EXPAT CAREER and BUSINESS SUCCESS TIP: Whether or not you are an expat professional or expat entrepreneur, if you desire to differentiate rather than imitate, I encourage you to do the following:
- Take the time to understand is what is truly unique about you. Reflect on your experience, passions, skills and strengths. Use the tools and get the support to do this properly.
- Do the research to determine who you are truly best meant to serve (and who you are not).
- Identify what you really have to offer of value rather than what you believe the marketplace demands.
- Learn how to communicate that in a compelling and differentiating way so you will attract those who need what you offer most.
- Rather than mimic your competition and promote yourself as just another option, demonstrate that you are the candidate or business of choice because you offer what others do not.
- Most important, embrace the idea that YOU ARE THE SECRET TO YOUR SUCCESS!