Plenty of people grow up in homes where their feelings, desires, or motivations weren't fully validated or encouraged.
As they become adults, they carry the guilt and shame of the rejected 10-year-old with them, limiting the fulfillment of their goals and dreams.
If you've labeled yourself "average" over the years, know that you operate out of a fixed mind-set. It's time to break out of it.
Being amazing doesn't imply having rock-star status in your particular line of work, killing the competition with your off-the-chain closing and negotiation skills, or bringing the house down with the closing remarks of your keynote speech.
Truth is, you can be amazing through intent and choice as soon as you hop off the bed when the alarm goes off. This is in part to what psychologist Carol Dweck calls having a growth mindset, and even the supposed average Joe or Jane has access to it.
Here are 4 unconventional ways to be an recognize your own amazing individuality.
1. Accept your failures.
Nobody likes to fail yet failure is the secret to success. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, encourages and even celebrates failure because he knows that, without trying something new and failing, it's virtually impossible to innovate and grow. The billionaire Branson says, "Do not be embarrassed by your failures. Learn from them and start again. Making mistakes and experiencing setbacks is part of the DNA of every successful entrepreneur, and I am no exception." Wherever you are, acknowledge that failing is common, no matter how hard you try to avoid it. And that's amazing.
2. Avoid superficial small talk.
Ever walk into a networking event or cocktail party and all you hear is superficial chit-chat that goes nowhere? Predictable questions like what do you do? and where do you live? fill up awkward social moments as people go through the motions. What if you asked engaging questions like "tell me your story" or "what absolutely excites you right now?" to deepen conversations and engage the heart? As it turns out, science has found that the happiest people have more genuine conversations rather than superficial small talk. The research confirms what most people know but don't practice: small talk does not build relationships
3. Embrace your inner introvert.
Chances are, if you grew up as that quiet and reserved kid with social anxiety, you were probably amazing and didn't know it. Studies say that 60 percent of gifted children are introverted. And it gets better. As adults, introverts leverage their strength for processing, contemplating, and thinking things over, which is a trait of highly intelligent people. In fact, if this is you, more than 75 percent of people with an IQ above 160 are introverted. That makes any average person simply amazing.
4. Share a good story.
Once you're comfortable inside your own skin and have chosen a close group of friends who will love on you without judgement, chances are good that they will want to know the real you. It's your turn to shine so seize the moment! Rather than boring them with the usual work-related lingo (see "Avoid superficial small talk" above), have a go-to story--something funny, entertaining, informative--you can pull out of your hat to keep people captivated once you have their attention. Test it out with other audiences who can vouch for it before rolling it out with new acquaintances. Scott Adams, author of How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, suggests putting your focus on stories about other people rather than things, because most of us find human behavior fascinating. That...will turn your "just average" into "simply amazing."