Can you articulate your unique set of talents? If you are a consultant, you might say “yes” because you’ve spent time on your elevator speech. But, have you really gotten to what makes you special? If you work in an organization, my guess is you are even less likely to be able do so—because the focus is on results and some quick buzz-words about your skills.

My top three reasons for knowing what exactly makes you unique, and therefore special, are to:

  1. Be clear for  yourself, to personally honor what you do and how you do it.
  2. Identify your highest and best use in any role or organization or on any project or client.
  3. Distinguish yourself and feel strong in your ability to advocate for yourself.

I’m not talking about the vanilla set of core competencies in your HR guide (although that same guide can one tool to stimulate your thinking).

I am talking about 3 to 5 to 7 specific scenarios in which you shine. What do you do to create that remarkable result?

Your Career-Life Timeline can be an excellent place to start. Think about when, on what problem or opportunity, and with whom did you succeed. Identify at least 10-20 scenarios. Pull the thread through those scenarios and describe exactly what someone would see, hear, etc.

In my work, I regularly ask clients to tell me what has worked particularly well in an assignment. It’s amazing to hear what people say.

As an executive coach, I might say off the top of my head that I’m good at assessing client needs, coaching for results, developing new business…so average…so not special.

When I’ve asked clients, what I often hear is that they experience that I “get who they are” very quickly and I’m not “judgmental about their foibles.” At first, you might think “well that’s not much to say” and you certainly couldn’t find those two on a competency chart. But, the more I’ve heard people say the same thing, I’ve begun to feel honored and own that way of working with people.

So take a look:

  • How do you work with a team or individuals that helps them perform well, feel aligned with the organization, or whatever?
  • What kinds of problems do you really like to sink your teeth into—and, how do you do that?
  • How can you connect the dots between what you know about people and how your can influence the room?
  • On what topic or body of knowledge do you have deep expertise—and, how do you leverage that knowledge?
  • Or, do you see the systemic patterns of the industry or organization in a way that develops insight?

If you take the time to work backwards from your results and tell the truth—what others would see— you will be able to put together a short set of talents that define your value here, there or anywhere.

Let me know how you craft your unique talent set!