New Year’s Resolution: Find your Uniqueness

New Year’s Resolution: Find your Uniqueness

Were you born for leadership? Some people swear that people they know are “born leaders.” Others believe leaders are made, carefully constructed by moral instruction, tests of character and opportunities or challenges of increasing significance.

Consider, if you will, the leadership example of Winston Churchill. Was he a born leader? His oratory successfully buoyed a nation under aerial attack by the Germans. But he started life with a speech impediment.Little Church

Was he an uncanny political leader? He lost multiple elections and spent decades in political isolation. Was he a military genius? Churchill failed the entrance test for the Royal Military College three times before finally passing and being admitted to the school. (When he graduated in 1894 he was eighth in his class).

But as prime minister of the United Kingdom during World War II, he excelled. He said it was as if he were “walking with destiny.”

I leave it to you. Was he a born leader or was he created by his experiences, many of them considered failures, until the time was right for him?

What I think is that Churchill had something unique to give to the world, a mixture of compassion, action-orientation and considerable ability to overcome adversity. And his nation – the whole free world – needed everything he had.  He recognized his uniqueness and was proud of it.


We are all worms but I believe I am a glow-worm.”



In that way, he is like you, or me.  We each have that unique mix of special qualities that is not always easy to define. What if our 2015 New Year resolutions focused on asking ourselves what are we uniquely qualified to offer our community?  What if this year, each of us offered our unique voice and attention to help shape one issue in our community?


Here are some questions to answer that may help you find that issue. Make a quick list of activities that are easy, effortless and enjoyable. Don’t overthink it.
1. Even if you had no time, for what purpose could you not resist helping out or volunteering?
2. What words describe the “personal touch” you add to everything you do?
3. If your physical and financial conditions changed overnight, what about you would survive intact?
4. In what areas are your standards higher than most people?
5. If you could be known for only one thing, what would it be? Why do people value it? Why does it give you satisfaction?

People have a lot of ways of discovering their true selves and singular gift. Some go to life coaches; others go to mentors. Some – the very lucky — develop relationships with peers who will give them the straight scoop about their talents and foibles.

At Leadership Austin we try to find the right mix of coaching and peer relationships to help most of our participants find out something new about themselves or to refine their understanding. It is more important for us to help others discover what are the unique qualities they will bring to our community.

The opportunities our community presents to us are diverse. They call out for all kinds of leaders – leaders with heart and leaders with vision; leaders who encourage action and leaders who inspire reflection; leaders who value order and leaders who value change; those with a “personal touch” for bringing calm and those with the ability to motivate peers out of apathy.

What will that be for each of us in 2015? Let’s go discover it together and act — our community needs our unique voice.