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The Sideline Blog

Just as sports players come to the sideline for rest and guidance, this blog is meant to provide you some insight and guidance as you explore your Strengths journey.

Gallup®, CliftonStrengths®, and the 34 theme names of CliftonStrengths® are 
trademarks of Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.

  • Writer's pictureChad T. Ahern

Our Uniqueness

Who hasn't heard that they are "one of a kind"? We often hear this as kids; sometimes in jest, but most often from our parents trying to get us to understand just how unique we actually are.

As we grow up it can be harder and harder to believe. We constantly hear how many companies treat their employees as interchangeable cogs. We can get beaten down by the job interview process that often robs us of opportunities to highlight our uniqueness because of robotic applicant tracking systems (ATSs).

And yet, let's look at some of the research. According to analysis done on Gallup's Clifton StrengthsFinder (CFS) assessment and model, there is a:

  • 1 in 278,000 chance that you share your top 5 Strengths (in any order) with another person.

  • 1 in 33.4 million chance you share your top 5 Strengths in the same order with another.

What I find really intriguing about the second stat is this...given the current population of the USA (approx. 324 million in 2016), it's quite likely there are only about 10 others in the entire country that share your same Top 5 Strengths in the same order.

Just 10.

What's even more remarkable (at least to me) is that these 10 or so people are not likely to share many demographic similarities with you. It is very easy to consider that one could be a grandfather, another a newborn boy, another a young girl headed for kindergarten.

Adding to our demographics, we each grow up in different places, develop our own stories, work in our own ways, have our own unique path through life, and outwardly manifest our Strengths differently.

Why do I mention all this?

You are unique...just as our parents told you. Yet, sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life, it's hard to remember (or even find out) who you truly are. This is where a strengths-coach can help.

In their book, "Now, Discover Your Strengths", Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton remind us, that,

"What is easy and obvious to you is amazing to others....Many of us find it hard to convince ourselves of our enduring uniqueness. Our talents come so easily to us that we acquire a false sense of security. Doesn't everyone else see the world as I do? Doesn't everyone feel a sense of impatience to get this project started? Doesn't everyone want to avoid conflict and find the common ground? Can't everyone see the obstacles lying in wait if we proceed down this path? Our talents feel so natural to us that they seem to be common sense. On some level it is quite comforting to believe that the "sense" we make of the world is 'common' to everyone."
"But in truth our sense isn't common at all. The sense we make of the world is individual. Our 'sense', our recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior, is caused by our unique mental network. This network serves as a filter, sorting and sifting the world we encounter causing us to zero in on some stimuli and miss others entirely." (pp. 53-54)

If you're interested in (re)discovering what makes you unique, and want to figure out how to use your Strengths and Talents to live a better life, improve your engagement with your work, or enhance your relationship(s) with others, please get in touch.

And if you need one last piece of data, consider this.

The chances that you have all 34 Talent themes in the exact same order as someone else is...

1 in 2.952328 x 10^38 (that's 2.95 with 38 zeros after it.) That's more people than have existed in the history of the world.

You are truly unique. Let's discover how, and celebrate it!

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