How being unique leads you to success

May I share with you one of my core beliefs? I believe that every single person has something deep inside of himself or herself that makes him or her extraordinary. Every single person has unique talents and abilities. Every single person has the opportunity to use his or her own personal story to make a difference. What is it that makes you extraordinary? What do you hear if you listen deep inside of yourself?

“Honestly, Ilja,“ people say to me a lot, “I can´t hear anything, and I´m neither special nor extraordinary.“ Does this sound familiar to you? I can relate, because there was a time in my life when I thought the exact same way. I had a job that frustrated me, was driven by external circumstances, and was constantly finding plausible excuses why I definitely wasn´t able to change anything.

The question that changed my life

This change happened after my personal declaration of independence. I had decided to finally take responsibility for my life and quit my job as a store manager to go for my dream of becoming a professional speaker. However, the corresponding results were a long time coming, because I was still searching for my mission, my uniqueness, my personal purpose in life.

And then I was saved by television. Yes, I´m serious. I had just started my own business when I saw a show with the famous German comedian Mario Barth one evening in my hotel room. It was a performance in front of 70.000 people in the Olympic stadium in Berlin, which earned him the Guinness World Record in the category Comedy show with the largest live audience. Initially, I was mainly fascinated by his performance. Mario Barth had managed to make it from a small theatre stage (where he performed regularly in front of thirty people) to the biggest sports arena in Germany. I thought this was more than impressive and was asking myself what kind of mindset might be part of such a path. I can´t remember exactly what impulse was responsible for it, but suddenly another question popped into my head.

If you had the opportunity to speak in front of 70.000 people in the Olympic stadium for ten minutes, what exactly would you say?  

It was another one of those questions that would prove to be a turning point in my life,because, in order to answer it, I had to start searching for my inner core, brush all insignificant details aside and find the very message that I was convinced other people should hear. I pondered for weeks and months, sorted through and thought about possible answers. And, step-by-step, my thoughts solidified until that one day came and I was clear about what I would say if I ever got the chance to speak in front of 70.000 people. Do you want to know what it is? Here´s my message, summarized in a single sentence:

 “Every single person has huge potential hidden inside of them that´s just waiting to be discovered. The key to this kingdom is individual uniqueness; the path to get there is change.“

Since that day, it has been my big mission in life to support people to become the best version of themselves and not to see change as something that´s threatening, but as a huge opportunity to actively shape their future, grow as a person and achieve lasting results. From one moment to the next, all pieces of the puzzle fell into place. I had discovered my individual uniqueness and I gave myself permission to express it, to be awesome every single day.

The key to your full potential is your uniqueness. The path to get there is change.

If you met me at one of my speeches or seminars today, many years later, you would feel how passionate I still am about my message and my mission. My job gives me the opportunity to express this inner passion on a daily basis, every moment and with every fiber of my being with what I say, write and how I conduct myself. All this leads to a combined package that others like to describe as authentic or charismatic. Personally, I prefer the word extraordinary.

The best thing about it is I have been lucky enough to see and be a part of this same transformation of many other people. Maybe you´ve heard this corny saying before, that successful people aren´t born, they are made. For me, that’s the biggest BS I´ve ever heard. People are never made from the outside, they develop from the inside out. You go down your individual path to uniqueness and then you live it with every fiber of your being. At work. In your daily life. Always. This formula for success is pretty simple. Allow yourself to recognize your own unique personality, bring it out and make it your biggest motivator. Because after all you alone are the only factor you can rely on in an ever changing world.

Become extraordinary by tapping into your uniqueness

Jobs, crises, companies, trends and changes come and go, but you will always be there, and the more solidified your individual identity is the easier it will be to weather bigger storms, head winds and challenges. Therefore, you should invest in your own individual uniqueness as much and as often as possible, in your knowledge, your abilities and your personal development. The risk has long become the new safe.

For that, it´s crucial that you set out on your way. Your own way. Not one that others have chosen for you, but one that brings you closer to your goals, your expectations and your dreams. It doesn´t matter where you are today, what business you are currently in, what starting point you are at, or how good you already are today.

Let the change begin!