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How To Benefit From Your “Uniqueness”? Check Out These 5 Advantages And Privileges And Take Action

Written by: Christelle Soto-Suarez, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Do you feel “different” to most of the people in your team, department, or company… whether because of your gender, appearance, accent, background, or because of your unconventional past experiences, or way of thinking?

success written on blackboard

Do you feel that this “being different” makes it harder for you to feel integrated, to feel like you belong… and may also impact how often you’re getting opportunities to demonstrate your abilities, and therefore your opportunities for promotions?


What if you looked at this “being different” from another perspective… from the perspective of the advantages and privileges this “being different” (a.k.a. “uniqueness”) could bring you?


Before going further, I want to clarify that “being different” doesn’t always bring advantages and privileges – in fact, in many instances, it doesn’t! But there are many other instances where you could use this “uniqueness” to your benefit, depending on your personality and circumstances


Are you aware of this? Are you getting as much as you can from it? Are you daring to activate these advantages and privileges?


Before going deeper into what advantages and privileges could “uniqueness” bring you, let’s look at the definitions:

  • Advantage: “a condition giving a greater chance of success” – Cambridge Dictionary

  • Privilege: “an advantage that only one person or group of people has, usually because of their position or because they are rich” – Cambridge Dictionary

And now, let’s look at some of these advantages and privileges that may come with “uniqueness”.


Leverage your uniqueness at work


This is even more true now than ever, with younger generations’ interest in diversity of thought, non-linear careers, and emphasis on well-being and work-life equilibrium!


But this only works if both you on one side and the team, department, or company on the other are open to it, with you taking steps to highlight your uniqueness, and with the team, department, or company willing to properly listen, reflect and integrate your uniqueness…


Some of the leverages are:

  • Being easily noticed amongst a group (because of your differences) means you’re more likely to be remembered (hopefully for the right reasons!). Of course, you have to take the first step to be noticed, such as speaking up, voicing a different idea, highlighting potential improvements, etc. And this takes courage!

  • Bringing a unique perspective to problem solving, interpretation, inter-generation, and intercultural communication (and more) is obviously an asset for the company… if the management and leaders are open-minded enough to see and integrate those perspectives! Again, like in the above point, you have to take the first step in expressing yourself!

  • Being one of a very few, if not the only one, with some very specific or uncommon knowledge means you have much more chances to get the position that requires this knowledge –because the pool of suitable candidates is so much smaller than usual… That’s how I was able to immigrate to Canada!

  • Combining technical and language skills is also a great leverage if you work in an international environment… For example, even if English is a dominant language, there are still many people who don’t speak it fluently, and contracts requiring communication in other languages… That’s how I got involved in consulting work requiring construction, contract, and dispute knowledge as well as fluently speaking French, Spanish, and English!

  • Bringing overall diversity to the team, and the resulting benefits that have now been well researched and written about, such as in this Indeed article: increased creativity and innovation; enhanced problem-solving and decision making; strengthened skill sets; boosted profits and revenue; heightened employee engagement; improved company reputation; strengthened team morale.

  • What other leverages can you think of, based on your uniqueness and situation?

Make use of support organizations


Nowadays, many organizations provide support to many diverse "minority" groups, including intersectionality of diversity as well as industry-specific.


These organizations can have a formal structure (company groups, professional bodies, networking organizations, non-profits, etc.) or may exist on a very unformal level (social groups, colleagues who became friends, online discussion groups, etc.).


Some of these organizations provide specific types of support, such as bursaries, mentoring, sponsorship, and networking while others are mostly listening and conversation based…


So, how much do you know about organizations that could support you?

  • Have you researched, or asked about, organizations within your company, your industry, or your neighborhood?

  • Do you know what they could support you with, and how?

  • Are you in contact with them, participating, applying to programs, or speaking to other members?

  • Are you making the best of what they could help, support or empower you with?

Register for training opportunities


Like support organizations discussed above, there are more and more training opportunities offered to “minority” groups, together with financial assistance.


Some of these opportunities may be mentioned by your company or professional bodies… but there are likely many more available "out there" that could be of interest to you that neither your company nor your professional bodies know of…


So, how much do you know about these training opportunities?

  • Have you researched, or asked about, training you're interested in that is aimed at people like you?

  • Do you know what requirements you need to fulfill to apply and be accepted?

  • Are you in contact with people who’ve done these trainings? Do you know what they gained out of participating in training aimed at "minority" groups?

  • Are you making the best out of the training opportunities available to “minority” groups you feel part of?

Become a “Subject Matter Expert”


Who knows best about your “uniqueness” and about the challenges that this “uniqueness” brings? You, of course!


And this makes you the ideal “Subject Matter Expert” for any discussion around the topic – if this is something you want to do, of course! You shouldn't automatically become the "Subject Matter Expert" that everybody wants a "piece of" when they need something related to your "uniqueness", and then forget about you!


In particular, this can be a great way for you to start writing, speaking, and being profiled, be it through your company, professional bodies, journals, other organizations… or on your own via LinkedIn or other self-publishing structures!


Develop resilience, confidence, ability to be “comfortable” with being “uncomfortable”


Most of us are not born being resilient, having a lot of confidence, or being comfortable dealing with (or finding ourselves in) unknown, uncertain, and uncomfortable situations…


Most of us develop these traits throughout our life experiences, and more often than not, through the difficult ones!!! And there is nothing like being "different" from the majority of the people around to be in such a situation more frequently than most people…


So, can you see an evolution in your level of resilience and confidence, in your ability to somehow be “comfortable” in uncomfortable situations?

  • How could you develop these skills even more?

  • How are these skills making you more valuable for certain projects or positions?

  • What could you do with these skills that you haven’t yet dared do something about?

What other advantage or privilege could you “activate”?


The 5 items discussed above are only a few ways in which you could use your “uniqueness” to your benefit.


I have no doubt that they are many more, depending on your personality (what you're willing to do or not), your circumstances, and professional situations… so, keep an eye open for these opportunities, and consider whether these opportunities are suitable for you, and if you're willing to catch them or not!


Now it’s time for you to take action and benefit from your “uniqueness”!

  • What advantages or privileges are available to you right now thanks to your “uniqueness”?

  • Are you making the best out of these?

  • If not, what’s ONE step you can take right now (or this week)? – Repeat this action as much as you can!

  • What other advantages or privileges could be available to you? – You may have to do some research!

  • Do you know others with some “uniqueness” characteristics? How do they make the best of it? What could you do together?

  • What else could you do?

Final Words


Interested in knowing more about my 5-step process to “Empowering Yourself to Create the Life and Career You Want”? Book a free 45-minute Empower Yourself Discovery Call!


Simply curious? Then check out Pistachio-Cassis Coaching website!


Subscribe to my Pistachio-Cassis Newsletter for monthly insights on Empowering Yourself to Create the Life and Career You Want.


Follow me on LinkedIn for inspiration, motivation, and education about how to empower yourself. And please, reach out to me via LinkedIn or email to let me know you’ve read my article. I’d love to hear from you if you have any feedback, suggestions, or anything else you want to tell me!


 

Christelle Soto-Suarez, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Christelle Soto-Suarez is a Personal Leadership & Development Coach who empowers Women in STEM / Construction to create the Life and Career they want, and is the founder of Pistachio-Cassis Coaching. She’s a certified professional coach and a member of the International Coaching Federation.


However, coaching is her 2nd career. Previously, she spent 25 years as a construction professional, working on a wide range of construction and engineering projects and in different roles. She worked and lived in several countries, experienced working in multicultural teams, and speaks 3 languages.


But however fulfilling and challenging these experiences were, the time came when she realized that she actually felt unhappy, unfulfilled, unsatisfied with where she was in her life.


Through her own exploration journey to discover how to create the life and career she wanted for herself, Christelle realized she was actually following a life coaching process. That fascinated her so much that she trained as a professional life coach and she set up her own coaching practice to empower others to also create the life and career they want.


Outside of coaching, Christelle loves expanding her horizons through reading, conversing with people with different backgrounds and experiences, and relaxing in nature.


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