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a blog by Chris Barrow

Not so unique

I’ve been thinking and writing recently about my “Unique Ability®” which I identified in my last strategic coach workshop as: “To inspire and lead people to recognize and achieve their full potential, through authentic communication” There were 30 people present at the workshop during which we completed the exercise, which involved writing to 20 existing relationships and asking for clarification on why they have a business relationship with us. The key words in the replies were distilled into an “essential message”. Although I am very pleased with my result, I also noticed as each individual was invited to stand and read their result at the workshop — that although there were financial planners, consultants and even a dentist in the room — their results were all very similar to my own. In essence, each of the said that through the use of our technical skill we were able to help our clients to solve a particular problem — whether it be confidence around their financial planning, confidence around their appearance or confidence around their future direction. So we are all in the business of selling “confidence”. I just finished reading a book called “Stumbling on Happiness” which is a fascinating examination of the way in which the human mind processes information and deals with situations. The author reaches the conclusion that we are all very much the same and that we try to express a sense of individuality when, in fact, there is very little difference between us. Responses to given situations are remarkably predictable. I finished the book about a week ago and have been reflecting since then that many of the purchases we make are an attempt to establish individuality or to confirm that we belong to a particular affinity group. We all need a car to travel but I have to buy a bright yellow American sports car to establish my individuality. We all need a briefcase that I have to buy Mulberry to establish my individuality. We all use a laptop but I have to buy a Sony VAIO to establish my individuality. We all wear shoes but, as you know, I love my Oliver Sweeney’s. I’m not complaining about this — I’m simply understanding it. I’m not so unique after all.

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