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Career Coach: Be Thankful for Your Uniqueness

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson dares you to be yourself.

Pamela Kleibrink


During the filming of Some Like it Hot, Tony Curtis (who just recently passed away) pointed out to director Billy Wilder that he was doing an impression of Cary Grant. Billy Wilder replied, "If I wanted Cary Grant, I would have hired Cary Grant."

There is no one else in the world exactly like you. You have talents, experiences and a perspective that make you unique. Be grateful for your unique gifts. Nurture and develop them and utilize your strengths to add your unique vision and insights to the world. Your uniqueness is your most marketable quality. Yet many creative people make the mistake of chasing the latest fad or imitating the newest style.

It's tempting to chase trends or emulate successful people. I fell into this trap. Years ago I worked on a screenplay with a friend of mine I knew since high school. We were 3/4 of the way done with our script and we decided to celebrate and went to the movies. We were enthralled with the escapades of Indiana Jones in the Raiders of the Lost Ark. We decided to rewrite our detective screenplay in the Indiana Jones style. We never finished it.

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." -- Bill Cosby

Don't try to chase the market or try to please everyone. Imagine Leonardo da Vinci painting the Mona Lisa in a storefront window. People pass by giving him feedback on his work in progress. "I think her dress should be a lighter color." "Her smile should be bigger." "The painting should be bigger." "She should wear her hair up." "The background should be the city, not the mountains." "There is too much shadow under her chin." Can you imagine Leonardo changing the painting as people made comments, concerned about whether everyone would like La Gioconda when it was finished?

Those who allow their unique strengths to set them apart from the crowd are those who achieve milestones in science, art and literature.

Whenever you are tempted to blend in and try to be popular with everyone, remind yourself of your uniqueness -- your passion and goals. Dare to be different and you will achieve success. Again, you can't be all things to all people. Rita Mae Brown reminds us: "The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself."

Be thankful that you are different from everyone else in the world. You have a unique contribution to make. Go ahead. Be distinctive. Originals are rare.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is grateful for her family and the opportunity to contribute the Career Coach column to AWN and for all the readers and followers. She is a recruiter, career coach and speaker. You can contact her at