What makes you so special?







Has anyone ever asked you what makes you believe you’re so special? You probably instantly knew it was not intended to be flattering. Inherent in the question is the insinuation that there is nothing exceptional about you; that you fade into the crowd.

You have to know in your head and your heart whether it’s a true statement because such claims can weaken your self confidence, which can then undermine your performance. In today’s Notebook4competitive work environment, succeeding requires you to stand out. That means you not only need to be special in some ways but you have to know just how special you are. Workplaces are chock-full of average people with enormous egos whose expectations outpace their contributions. You don’t want to be a part of that crowd. Smart bosses like competent people and you can guarantee your success by developing unique, advanced skills that bring value to your organization and by contributing at a consistently high level.

What makes you special − and valuable − is a combination of two things:

  1. The strengths you learn and then use dependably and regularly to deliver first-rate results.
  2. Talents that are inherent to you but you use deftly to boost outcomes time and again.

There seems to be some disagreement among psychologists and productivity experts as to whether it is strengths or talents that are more important to success. That means it’s probably worthwhile to work on constantly improving both. Too many people focus on their weaknesses. It’s natural to want to want to overcome shortcomings, but too much attention can increase insecurity and become distracting. Look for educational, training, mentoring, and coaching opportunities that will help you identify and minimize weaknesses.

However, whether you are starting your first job or you’ve risen to the senior ranks, understand that you will never improve your overall performance by focusing only on your flaws. You also have to get even better and what you already do well. Direct most of your attention to the strengths and talents that make you special. Doing so will make you happier and boost your self confidence.

Here are some other thoughts:

  1. Know what you’re good at. Everyone, including you, has strengths and talents. I always ask my coaching clients what they think they’re good at and what other people think they
    are. If you don’t genuinely believe you’re good at something, no one else will believe it either. Think of practical ways you can put your strengths to work and then create a plan for doing so.
  2. Pay attention to your uniqueness. Fully utilizing the strengths and talents that only you possess will allow you to stand out. Once you see yourself succeeding you will be able to act in ways that allow others to observe it as well.
  3.  Know how to leverage your strengths. Compare what you know how to do − and how well you know how to do it − against what your organization needs done. Be honest with yourself about what you can deliver. If you can’t perform at the highest levels, look for means and opportunities to improve your skills so that you can be recognized as a high achiever.
  4. Catch yourself getting excited. When you’re doing something you enjoy and you’re good at, your enthusiasm becomes obvious to those around you. Paying attention to those moments can help you better understand what engages and energizes you.
  5. Profile yourself. Asking a few trusted colleagues and supervisors for constructive critiques of your work can help you better understand where your strengths lie and identify areas where you might need additional development.

© 2014 Robert Naylor Coaching and Consulting, LLC. All Rights reserved.


Robert Naylor is a journalist, consultant, coach, facilitator, and speaker who helps people become better leaders, improve workplace performance, and find focus in their careers and life. He is available for on-site training, private coaching, keynote presentations, and commentary. For more information visit naylorcoaching online or contact

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