At the Miami Heat dance team tryouts last week, a male dancer absolutely slayed it, making it to the third round of auditions before getting cut from the squad. The amazing video is here if you'd like to view it. You might laugh, but his efforts demonstrate a great point about the power of being unique (or uniqueosity, if you will... and I will for the remainder of this article). After all, he has become a viral sensation and while he didn't make the team, he'll likely at least get some work out of his efforts. "But he's weird!" you might say. And he is different, there's no doubt about that, but his difference just happens to be his secret sauce. So how unique are you as a professional? If you feel like you're blending into the pack, here are a couple of ways to hone your uniqueosity:
1. Your uniqueosity doesn't necessarily have to connect to your business. In Barbara Streisand's first big Broadway audition, she showed up smacking gum and ditched it under a stool on stage in front of mortified producers. She then crushed her audition and after she left, the curious producers felt under the stool and there was no gum: She faked the entire bit, and by doing so, she left an impression that she wouldn't have if she simply smiled and said her name at the beginning of the audition like every other actress. Her risk was high, but she got the part.
2. You don't have to change who you are. Being unique isn't about reinventing yourself to be someone you're not. It's about shining a light on the thing that makes you unique. You like Star Wars? Keep a light saber at your desk. You do a lot of networking? Make your business card a slightly different size than normal. You like streaking? Ah... maybe keep that uniqueosity out of the workplace.*
3. Sometimes, it's the presentation and not the product. Crown Royal may or may not be a great whiskey (that's a debate for another blog), but what is certain is the packaging stands out. The purple bag makes you feel like you're getting a special and unique product. About three or four drinks in, that might not matter much, but at the point of purchase, the packaging often hooks the buyer. How are you hooking your clients?
And three-and-a-half: People may laugh you... at first. Some critics weren't ready for ideas that dared to be different -- Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because his boss said he "lacked imagination," Blackberry disciples high on Crackberry said the iPhone touch screen couldn't possibly work, and Pythagoras preached that the earth was round in sixth century BC but nobody believed him for about three centuries. (As an aside, I hope people identify with your uniqueosity quicker than 300 years.) The point is, if you are ribbed a little for your splash of uniqueosity, take it as a compliment. It might just indicate you're onto something big.
*I don't request this, but usually HR does.
Hey there, you're a unique cat. Let's meet up on the twittosphere and share our uniqueosity.