Someone is going to ask you one or more of these questions one day:
- “What makes you different?”
- “What makes you stand out?”
- “What makes you uniquely qualified to…?”
- “Why should I trust you?”
- “How can you make a difference?”
- “Why are you calling me?”
- “Who do you think you are?”
When someone asks you this type of question, it’s best to assume that they want a sincere and honest answer. Many folks are put off by these types of questions and look like they never expected to be confronted with them. The truth is, though, that we *should* be prepared to answer questions like these. You might ask why these types of questions matter. Here:
- You are a unique individual.
- You have a set of skills and traits like none other.
- The way you put those skills to use is unlike anyone else.
- Your perspective on the world is entirely your own, and no one has had the same experiences as you.
- You are incomplete and ever changing.
- There is always room for you to learn something new and put it to use in your life.
I was talking with someone the other day about the New York Times Bestselling book entitled “Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things nobody told you about being creative” by Austin Kleon. We were discussing the fact that tradespeople have a long heritage of passing their skills from generation to generation. This is done from watching, learning, and practicing. Oh yeah. It’s also done by teaching. In our conversation, we agreed that observing to learn a skill is not the same as trying to become another person. It’s more about learning from the skills (and sometimes mistakes) of others to increase your own capabilities. It’s about having a burning desire to improve and searching out sources of information and inspiration to achieve that improvement.
That said, it is imperative for you to take and update your personal inventory of skills and assets to answer those seemingly damning questions that we started with. Ask yourself those questions and spend quality time answering them. You should know, without hesitation, what makes you different. You should be able to tell someone why they should trust you. You should absolutely be prepared to tell someone who “you think you are.”
Whether it’s in your work life, your personal life, or in service to your hobbies, there are qualities about you that make you absolutely special. Arm yourself with the vocabulary to educate someone on what those qualities are. Know in your very core who you are and what makes you unique.
So, to quote from the back cover of the aforementioned book:
Unlock your creativity.
- Steal like an artist.
- Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started.
- Write the book you want to read.
- Use your hands.
- Side projects and hobbies are important.
- The Secret: Do good work and share it with people.
- Geography is no longer our master.
- Be nice. (The world is a small town.)
- Be boring. (It’s the only way to get work done.)
- Creativity is subtraction.
Go ahead! Steal Like An Artist! Along the way figure out your story and how to tell it. Tomorrow Begins Today.