Monday, May 9, 2011

What is Your Unique Factor?

Before we can identify your Unique Factor*, we first have to define it.

A Unique Factor is, simply put, the thing that you do better than anyone else around you, and therefore makes you unique. Your Unique Factor (from here on out referred to as UF) should energize you and those around you. You will have lots of opportunities to practice your UF because people like to make room for you and give you a platform for your UF. Over time, you have the authority to lead in your UF and teach others in your UF.

Your UF is so close to you and familiar to you that you may not be able to appreciate it or even identify it by yourself. A great way to find your UF is to ask three of your closest friends or relatives to write three sentences about what makes you unique. What do you bring to the table that no one else does, or what do you do better than anyone around you? Once you have received all 9 sentences, you should see a common theme emerge. If you don't, it's ok, I still have other ways to help you find it!

For some a UF emerges by the time they are 4 years old. Justin Bieber would be a great example of this. I saw his movie "Never Say Never" and it was clear by his home videos that at a very young age, that boy knew he was born to make music, and to sing his heart out. If you read the book Outliers (by Malcolm Gladwell), you'll read story after story of people who ended up being highly successful in life, literally investing 10,000 or more hours into perfecting their UF. And many of them started investing those hours at a very young age.

However there are some of us that take a little longer to identify our UF. I'm in my mid-thirties now and I feel like I'm really just beginning to understand and define what I was born to do, and what makes me unique. I think some people know at a younger age because they have to start pursuing it sooner, and some people can develop it over time, even into their 50's and 60's and beyond! And let me add here that while your UF remains uniform through out your life, the way you manifest it can change from decade to decade. For example, if your UF is that you are a builder, at the earliest stage it may look like a toddler who's obsessed with legos. Then it may develop in your 20's as a career of building houses. Later, in your 30's and 40's it may change into you building systems that will transform your city. So at the core of who you are, you were born to build. But how and what you build may change through-out your lifetime.

There are so many personality tests out there to help us identify our UF. In many of them they even match you up with careers and hobbies, mates and parenting styles. Here are some of my favorites: (all of them are free and safe to sign up for)

Also, the book "Strength Finders" is very helpful in determining your UF.
Here are some questions I've learned to ask people along the way that helped point them to their UF;

1. What are the desires of your heart?
2. What things inspire you and move you to tears?
3. Who are your heroes?
4. What are your dreams?
5. Where do you have favor?

Now, if you are still having a hard time identifying your UF, I'd like to give you a possible reason why. A great number of people are born to play more of a supportive role in life. They don't have a strong passion or talent because they were born to help someone else's dreams come true. If this is you, in no way should you feel inferior or less than. Your role is just as crucial as the one who has the dream or the strong UF. For example, who would Oprah be without all those people serving her vision? Who would Steve Jobs be without the people serving his vision? Those who were born to support and serve are crucial to the process. Visionaries would never see their dreams materialized if it weren't for this amazing group of people.

As I begin to wrap things up, I want to talk about people who have spent time pursuing the wrong dreams, or the wrong UF. It can happen to anyone, and the reasons are numerous. It can be as simple as "I studied elementary education but now I feel called to high school students." Or, it can be as devastating as some of the catastrophes we see on the American Idol auditions. Some of those people are not only on the wrong track, they are terrible at what they are attempting to do better than anyone else. However people get off track, I feel the best way to protect yourself and stay true to your real purpose in life, is to surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth, to maintain a teachable heart, and to know thyself. Because you will not be great if you are pursuing the wrong dream or the wrong UF, but you will always be great if you can line up with your God-given destiny, the thing that you were created to do on this earth.
Lastly, I want to leave you with some examples of UF's other people have identified in their own life:
  • the ability to live extremely frugally and stretch a penny for all it's worth
  • the ability to preserve memories thru scrapbooking, video and photos and/or journaling
  • the ability to see patterns in mathematics that no one else sees
  • the ability to read people and have the answers they need for life's problems
  • the ability to know things that no one else can sense (sometimes people call this a 6th sense)
  • the ability to cheer people up no matter what they are facing
  • the ability to reach youth and communicate with them in a way that transforms them
  • the ability to write and inspire people with your written words
  • the ability to wait things out longer than anyone else, (endurance) therefore enabling you to get what everyone else gave up on
  • the ability to make people feel welcome in your home (hospitality)
And the list goes on, I hope these gave you an idea of what a UF can look like!

*The concept of the Unique Factor originated from a favorite teacher of mine, Lance Wallnau. Over time I have taught it and developed my own ideas to go along with his.

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