inspiration & influence personality and story

Creative and Connected #8 – Ways to honour your unique life blend

August 4, 2017

Onlyness is that thing that only that one individual can bring to a situation. It includes the journey and passions of each human.

Nilofer Merchant

unique blend

Inspiring resources to keep you creative and connected – this week with a focus on ways to honour your unique blend or onlyness.

Here’s a round-up of what I’ve enjoyed and shared this week on various social platforms on finding and honouring your unique blend of passions, skills and experience. A term for this, created by Nilofer Merchant, is ‘onlyness’. Whatever we call it, it’s about how you bring the threads of your unique personality, experience together so you can shine and have impact as only you can.

Finding my unique blend

I’ve been on a journey of transition over the past year, seeking to shift to a life focused around Life Coaching and Writing and feeling more wholehearted each day.

In going through this journey, I’ve really had to do think about the unique skills, knowledge and experience that I bring forward from my previous roles and experience. It’s so easy to leave pieces of ourselves behind as we seek to change. But all those pieces of who we are make up our uniqueness or onlyness in the world.

Nilofer asks in her 2012 TED Talk on this theme:

Who are you? What makes you so unbelievably special? What is it that calls you into this world and how can you bring it out so other people can see it. When we learn to stand in our onlyness, we actually celebrate the kickassness that we are. And that to me is the key. How do we unlock that part of us that is so kickass. And so incredibly different and our story to bring into the world. Because when we do that it will unlock that part of us to be more fully alive.

She further comments on her talk on her website saying:

It’s not that everyone will, but that anyone can contribute.

And until we celebrate onlyness, we are not honoring the person. And, until you unlock your onlyness, you are not fully alive. And, collectively, until we honor onlyness, we are limiting ourselves, our organizations and our economies.

So in the spirit of helping us all unlock that ‘kickassness’, here are some recent and favourite resources and references on this theme.

And I welcome your contributions in the comments or on Facebook or Instagram about your favourite resources for bringing our unique stories, onlyness and blend of life alive. Let’s share so we all can shine!

Podcasts on honouring your unique life blend

How to Turn Ideas into Impact with OnlynessNilofer Merchant on Jonathan Fields Good Life Project

The whole concept of bringing together the threads of our story is a central part of Quiet Writing and being wholehearted. In the Beautiful You Coaching Academy program that I have just finished, we worked through the concept of ‘onlyness’ and our unique blend of skills as a central thread in the course. And I’d been working through this with my coach as well before I started my life coaching program.

But I hadn’t really concentrated on the work of Nilofer Merchant until this week! I love Jonathan Field’s podcast, it’s always full of treasures and this one was a beautiful one to be brought to my attention. So I bring it to yours!

This conversation is all about our unique capacity to make a big impact to change the world. As the show notes point out, especially with social media and technological change,

….we’re living in times that, maybe for the first time ever, have made it possible for people who’ve been marginalized, disenfranchised and stripped of power to bring forth and build momentum around ideas that, in her words, are mighty enough to “dent the world.

Merchant believes that everyone can contribute and:

The fact that we don’t is society’s greatest problem and the greatest opportunity.

The TED Talk is awesome too, so I encourage you to listen and reflect on your onlyness and unique blend of skills.

Your Body of Work with Pam Slim – The Creative Giant Show with Charlie Gilkey

Pamela Slim is another fabulous champion of finding our unique blend of skills and body of work. Pam’s work focuses on identifying the special ingredients that thread together in our lives. She especially looks at how they have played out over the long term through our body of work.

Pam talks with Charlie Gilkey about transitions and how we find work that is significant for our unique blend of skills and the mode of life that serves this. This might be creative entrepreneurship or any way of building a business around values that are important to us.

Books and reading notes

My reading week

I’ve continued reading David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity on work and identity. This book also featured in Our Heart Always Knows the Way – a wholehearted story on Quiet Writing this week.

I’m also enjoying Jojo Moyes’ Paris for One. I love Jojo Moyes and have read pretty well all her books and this is a fun, relaxing read that has kept me quietly smiling.

I’ve also continued reading The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon, by Scott Baker as an audio book. As a result, I’ve started using dictation for my emails and other writing in a small way as I start to employ these skills. It’s been exciting and will let you know how this goes as it evolves.

body of work

Book notes on this week’s theme of onlyness and unique life blend:

Pamela Slim’s book, Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together, has been a go-to book for me as I’ve negotiated this time of transition. I’ve read it as an ebook and audiobook soaking it all in, then bought the hard copy book, because I need it right by me each day.  This book focuses on how you can tease out the threads that tie your story together – the values, the skills, the themes, the ingredients of you. It also identifies how you can use this skill and knowledge to find new ways to do your work in the world.

Nilofer Merchant also explores ideas around onlyness, your unique blend and how to use this to impact the world in her new book, The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World. This book will be released later this month and looks a fascinating read on finding our purpose and power and acting on it for change and impact.

11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra is an earlier book by Nilofer Merchant premised on the fact that “value creation in the 21st century starts with each of us”. I haven’t read this as yet but have downloaded as an ebook. It has 4.6/5 stars on Amazon with fabulous reviews so look forward to exploring this one.

The other book I would recommend on this theme is Steven Pressfield’s Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work This book is about how we find our power by turning professional and doing the work. He talks about shadow careers which are a metaphor for the real thing:

Sometimes, when we’re terrified of embracing our true calling, we’ll pursue a shadow calling instead. That shadow career is a metaphor for a real career. Its shape is similar, its contours feel tantalisingly the same. But a shallow career entails no real risk. If we fail at a shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us. (P13)

Blog/Twitter/Instagram posts and interactions:

Part of our unique blend of skills is how we connect with others. A Study of the Champagne Industry shows that women have stronger networks and profit from them.

I want to share with you this post from a member of the Quiet Writing community, Kerstin Pilz, on Tiny Buddha, How a 10 day silent retreat helped heal my grieving heart because it is such a beautiful wholehearted story.

In Guided Meditation and Tips for Spiritual Grounding, Nicole Cody reminds us about the power of being grounded as we go through challenging circumstances and provides practical tips for keeping well grounded.

I also enjoyed this piece on Forest Bathing: A Retreat to Nature can Boost Immunity and Mood by Allison Aubrey via Dave Stachowiak on Twitter.

Clearly, I am looking for ways to ground myself and connect with nature at this time! I’m going back to swimming tomorrow after an interrupted time with illness and minor surgery, so cannot wait for that. Swimming is very grounding for me.

On Quiet Writing and Tarot Narratives

On Quiet Writing, I have been exploring this theme in various ways of how we find the threads that bring our story together for more wholehearted living. I see a critical part of finding our whole heart as identifying the central pieces that connect our narrative. Sometimes these have become lost along the way in our life. Or they may have manifested as a shadow career, not quite hitting the mark of where we want to go. Or maybe we just haven’t pulled the pieces together in a way that we can see new options.

Here are some relevant posts on Quiet Writing on this theme:

The unique voice of what we love

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Our heart always know the way – a wholehearted story

Creative and Connected #4 – the wholehearted edition

My Tarot Narratives on Instagram have continued to be a rich source of inspiration and insight for my creative journey. Thanks for all the creative interactions. On honouring our unique life blend into action, in a recent post, Sharon Blackie in ‘If Women Rose Rooted’ reminds us:

”But sooner or later, no matter how cleverly we try to hide ourselves, to turn away from the truth, we are called to change. To wake up, and to see, and so to take responsibility. To reclaim our power, and to participate in the remaking of the world.” p83

Quotes on this theme

Just to finish, here a few fabulous quotes on this theme:

“Create your own style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.”
Anna Wintour

“Each of us is a unique strand in the intricate web of life and here to make a contribution.”
Deepak Chopra

“Behind every mask there is a face, and behind that a story.”
Marty Rubin

“To be oneself, simply oneself, is so amazing and utterly unique an experience that it’s hard to convince oneself so singular a thing happens to everybody.”
Simone de Beauvoir, Prime of Life

“Be uniquely you. Stand out. Shine. Be colorful. The world needs your prismatic soul!”
Amy Leigh Mercree

And here’s the beautiful orchids continuing to come out in my garden. Almost every flower is out now and it’s such a stunning display.

Have a fabulous creative weekend!


unique blend

Creative and Connected is a regular post each Friday and the previous posts are below. I hope you enjoy it. I would love any feedback via social media or comments and let me know what you are enjoying too.

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You might also enjoy:

Creative and Connected #7 – how to craft a successful life on your own terms

Creative and Connected #6 – how to be a creative entrepreneur

How to make the best of introvert strengths in an extraverted world

Creative and Connected #5 – being accountable to ourselves and others

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  • Reply veganbeliever August 5, 2017 at 4:17 am

    So Happy to have found your blog, Thank you for your Beautiful Writing. For me, Connection is having a Shared Passion that isn’t Dependent on A Shared Education, Life Circumstance, Profession, Social Status or Access & Power. For so long I felt Inferior and not Worthy to be around People who I Percieved to be Better than me but I have grown to Realise that those people I Surround myself with are those who Share my Values & Beliefs,those who Don’t, I am unable to Connect with & Communication is Surface. My Passion for Conserving our Natural Resources, Mother Earth & ALL her Inhabitants, Human & Non Human is what Connects me to the Shared Charateristics of People no matter what their Background, it has taken a long time to Consider myself able to Connect with that Truth! My Path to a Connection thru Creativity is Just Beginning & i look forward to the Learning I will take from you.
    With Peace &
    Earth Blessings

    • Reply Terri August 5, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      Thanks for your thoughts and lovely feedback, and for connecting here – much appeciated! I agree – it’s important to find our tribe, our kindred souls, to connect with. And you are so right that connection is about shared passions and that issues of education, life circumstance and all the things you describe are not the key things to define value and connection. I’m glad you have found the unique threads that give you passion and connection within yourself and with others. It’s amazing how long this can take many of us to find that, including me. All power to you now you have this strong foundation and look forward to learning with you and from you also. Terri x

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