Tag Archives: unique

Live Boldly: How to Find the Courage to “Stand Out”

TrapezeBy Jay Forte

“They laugh at me because I am different. I laugh at them because they are all the same.”

When you look and act like everyone else, two alarming things happen:

1. You don’t play to your unique abilities and greatness, and

2. You blend.

You weren’t born to blend; you were born to stand out. You are different, unique, and amazing so that you can find your way in a world of 7 billion people. Your specific talents, strengths and passions are your competitive advantage – your built-in abilities. When you discover what you rock at, you not only find you road in life, but you live your “stand out.”

Despite this amazing and intrinsic ability to stand out, most of us choose to blend. We dress alike. We sound alike. And when someone challenges the conventional, we immediately see them as weird and a misfit. Instead, they are actually the ones who fit – they fit their own definition of life. We, on the other hand, are not living true to who we are when we let others tell us who we should be. We have such a need to feel accepted by becoming who others want us to be that give up on our greatest gift – our uniqueness and the opportunity to make a profound impact on our world with what it is we are great at.

As a speaker, life coach, and founder of an organization that focuses on helping people discover and live authentic and powerful lives, I am always on the search for those who live authentically. In virtually every case, their intention wasn’t to outwardly or boldly challenge the conventional, rather it was just to be true to who they are – on the inside.

In talking with those who boldly live who they are, I find it is courage that allows them to stand out. So let’s follow this back. What encourages their courage? Meaningful choices. When they chose things that fit who they were, they saw the impact of their great choices which fed their courage. And what preceded their great choices was clarity – they know who they were.

Here is the lesson for all of us. When we are consciously aware of our unique abilities – our particular talents, strengths and passions – we have valuable and meaningful information about us. We then use the information to make choices that fit us; we feel capable and competent. This drives our courage to continue to make good choices for who we are. This courage allows us to be who we are – however different it may be – in a world that loves for us to all look and act like everyone else.

So the next time you see someone stand out – catch your inner critic ready to judge them, hold them to your standard and criticize them as different and weird. Instead, consider applauding them for having the courage to live to their own standard – then use them as an inspiration for you to do the same.

What areas of your life do you blend in – and how can you change this? In what areas of your life do you stand out – and how can you continue this?

Someone greater than you thought you should be you – and made you to be distinct, different, unique and amazing. Why not show it off? Let’s get to a place where we applaud people for being who they are instead of judging them as weird just because they don’t look, sound and act like everyone else. None of us were born to blend; we were all born to stand out.

You’re Great and You’re Awesome Just As You Are (Part 2)

Click here to read part 1 of Trent’s story!

Born with blonde hair in a brunette-only town, Trent decides finally to show everyone his true hair color and true self. The townspeople attack him for his “otherness,” and Trent runs and hides in a nearby forest until sunset. Approached by an old man who listens to the tale of his woe, Trent receives the most powerful advice of his life.

* * *

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 10.28.10 AMThe wise man was brilliant and very aware.

He took in a breath, then started to share:

“We are truly born great, just as we are!

Our lives are important. You’re amazing, my young star.

But with others, they think, it’s for them to say

Who is fine, who is good, who is right, who’s okay.”

“For greatness is not in brown hair or blond.

Greatness is not in how our words sound.

Greatness is not on our outside – our skin.

Greatness, true greatness, always happens within.”


“We just can’t know how great you can become

By looking at hair color. That’s crazy, that’s dumb.

Down deep we’re amazing and awesome and bold.

Down deep is our value, our treasure, our gold.”


“No one has eyes to see what you see.

No one can tell you who or what you should be.

That’s your job. Yes it is. It’s all up to you.

It’s your work and your life. You’ve got to be true.”


“Life isn’t easy, it’s tough and it’s trying.

It gives you hard tests to make sure you’re applying

What you know of TrueYou, what gifts you receive,

How great you can be and what you believe.”


“You were born awesome – awesome indeed.

But to live each day awesome you must become freed

From the judgments of others, from perspectives so narrow

To let your light soar like a brilliant gold arrow.”

“The world needs TrueYou – the “you” as you are.

Blond or brunette, gay, straight or bizarre.

You are you, and amazing! The “you” born just right.

You were born to shine brightly, to share your great light.”


But you can’t shine in life, when you let yourself hide.

And you can’t change the world, if you’re ashamed inside.

You didn’t choose how you’re born, where you’re from.

But you can surely choose the “you” you become.


Young Trent felt alive and committed to greatness.

He thanked the wise man but feared for the lateness.

His family’d be worried, scared and unbound,

That young Trent was not home, not safe and not sound.


He hurried right home in the dark of the night.

But this time for him, a walk without fright.

More aware, more informed and so much more wise.

He got to his door at a quarter to five.


Once home and together, the lost son lamented

With details and stories. The sobbing relented.

Trent shared a sound lesson of power and strength.

They stood right by him; they’d go to great lengths

To handle what happens, to just rise above.

To help Trent show up to a life he can love.


The next day with power and confidence glowing,

Trent moved through the town without any fear showing.

He let loose his blond hair and wore it with pride.

He stood up to names and to insults so snide.


His courage to be true had others inspired,

The insults soon stopped, mean comments subsided.

Trent showed that hair color makes no difference at all

Be true to yourself and you’ll never feel small.

We didn’t choose how we’re born, where we’re from.

But we can surely choose the “who” we become.


And soon many others with all hair colors flowing,

Appeared in the town, the numbers were growing.

People in fear with hair once dyed brown,

Were actually there hiding, still living in town.


Pretending is bad, it loads on the strife.

Hiding restricts us, it limits our life.

We are each given gifts to discover and use,

And we shortchange the world if we don’t know or refuse

To be open and honest and accept the real “me”.

Trent learned that it takes this to really be free.


In just that one moment, things started to change.

People are people, not weirdos or strange,

Just people, all different, all great, all divine,

Allowed to be true, to be honest, and fine.


And changed they all were from perspectives so narrow.

They cheered and applauded and hailed Trent like pharaoh.

But Trent just continued to live life each day,

Honest and great, in his unique way.


From that day on, in towns far and near

That kept people out because of some fear.

Now invited them in – all are welcome you know.

We all belong. Yes we do! It is right. It is so.


Come out from your hiding. Join life. Be alive!

When you hide you stay small and afraid – you can’t thrive.

You’re an original, not a copy or fake.

You’re the real deal, just perfect; you are no mistake.


So find your right place, as soon as you can.

Be an accountant, a salesman, a singer or stunt man.

It’s all up to you, the directions you choose.

It’s all up to you, don’t wait, don’t you snooze.

Each day that goes by, you never get back.

Each moment, each day, each minute, each track

Is gone. Yes it is, but the next one is here.

Use it wisely. Don’t waste it! Let your best self appear.


You were born awesome, no matter what you’ve been taught.

You were born amazing, born cool – you got what you got.

It’s your gift. It’s yours. It’s all just for you.

It’s divine in its nature; be true to your “who.”


Be yourself, be your best. Live life your own way.

Be proud, find your place, make the most of each day.

You’re great and your awesome, just as you are.

Be your true self, be a bright shining star.

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You’re Great and You’re Awesome Just As You Are (Part 1)

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 10.09.20 AMIn a town far away on top of a hill,

Lived people so narrow, judgmental, and shrill.

They decided on high that all hair should be brown.

They decided for everyone who lived in their town.


“To live here,” they cried, “brown hair is a must.

Brown hair is just right, all others are bust.

If other than brown is just who you are,

Then you must leave. Depart! Go very far!

For we won’t have people who don’t look like us.

Brown is what’s right. Our rules. It is thus!”


In one of the families, young Trent was born third.

In a family so big and so famous was heard,

A cry of great grief like someone had died,

The aunts and uncles and parents all cried.

Young Trent, their treasure, though brown hair expected,

Was born blond, a towhead, a child rejected.


Though cute and adorable, smart with eyes wide,

His parents knew that his hair had to hide.

If the neighbors and townspeople had any doubt,

That Trent was not brown-haired, the family was out.


From the day he could crawl, Trent’s hair was dyed brown.

This gave them permission to live in this town.

His parents feared someday that blond hair would show,

Because hair on a kid never ceases to grow.


Each Saturday night as the bath waters ran,

A small dab of brown came out of the can,

To cover those roots of the hair that kept growing,

Like a lawn after rain that needed some mowing.


And so it was thus, each day spent in “hair-hiding,”

In plain sight, with a hat, and some dye so complying.

And all seemed as okay, no foul and no harm,

Until one day, that day, there came cause for alarm.

That day, at the mirror, young Trent stood there staring,

At brown hair AND blond hair – so great, and so glaring.

He’d been told his whole life about hair not so brown,

These people were gross, not fit for their town.

He realized that day he was different than most.

He was blond, not brown-haired. He’s handsome, not gross.


He called to his parents to share his great joy

He was different – unique – not an average boy.

He loved this about him. It gave him great pride.

He was different indeed. He had nothing to hide.


We are each born great, we’re remarkable art.

We are perfect, unique, not a kind of half-start.

We can’t change who we are. That’s a great thing.

We are who we are; it’s our hard-wiring.


His parents warned, they cautioned and cried.

“Being different isn’t easy, so please Trent just hide.

Let’s dye your hair brown so you fit and blend in.

Let’s get the brown back so life’s safe as it’s been.”


But Trent just said, “No!” on that major day.

“Born different, born right,” is just what he’d say.

“Born blond, not brown-haired, is how I exist.

Being true to myself is what I insist.”


“For someone much greater thought I should be,

A towhead, a blond, not a fake brown-haired me.

Who are these others, with comments to make?

I am who I am. God made no mistake.”


The hair dying stopped on that fateful day.

Pretending was done on the 18th of May.

Proud to be done with the hair-dying story,

Trent wanted his real life, a life of grand glory.

A life that was honest and open and clear,

A life to be lived without hiding or fear.


Trent marched to school with hair like the sun.

The gold in it shone, like threads that been spun,

But support did not happen, not a moment or second.

It didn’t work out as he thought or had reckoned.

They taunted and teased, chased, hit and called nay!

It changed all his friends in only one day.


Chased into the woods, with mean words attacking.

Trent stayed hiding there ‘til daylight went packing.

He hid in the dark and was sobbing with fear,

That someone who hated his hair could be near.


“How could this all matter?” He wondered. He cried.

“How could being different make others despise?

I have no control of the color of my hair,

Born with it dark or born with it fair.

Like our gender, or height, preference or skin tone

We get what we get, it’s really our own.

For down deep I’m still me, the same me I have been.

Down deep, I’m still Trent, their classmate and friend.”


“How can I live in a me that’s not real?

Who can pretend and not really feel?

Who cares if my hair is dark or it’s light.

I say for me, what’s wrong and what’s right.”


And in that tough moment, a moment of fear,

Young Trent saw a stranger, approaching, quite near.

A man with a beard, long, thick and so white;

A smile so warm, so kind and so bright.

“What brings you to woods, so dark and so deep?

The old man continued, “And can cause you to weep?”


Trent shared his sad story in every detail.

The old man just listened and grew very pale.

He waited ‘til young Trent was all about finished,

Did not interrupt, critique, or diminish

The sadness, the pain, the hurt so disarming

That someone so young could find life so alarming.

Once Trent had recounted his unhappy story,

The old man responded with strength and with glory.

His words were bold, his lessons were wise.

Trent listened intently for ways to devise,

A way to be happy when others all yack.

To be strong and courageous when others attack.


Stay tuned for the rest of Trent’s story!

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Why You Should Start Each Day With “Aloha!”

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Elephant in the Room: How to Love Yourself & Make Friends

Free Mall Girls Riding on The Escalator Creative CommonsDear Cora,

It’s always been hard for me to make friends. It’s difficult for me to jump into conversations with groups of people and my fear of saying something awkward or embarrassing myself prevents me from really connecting.

Recently I’ve found myself involved with a social group I really like hanging out with though. However, my usual fears of not fitting in completely still linger. I always assume that if they ever hang out without me that it means that they actually don’t like me and only invite me to things out of a sense of obligation. I keep going out of my way to try and prove that I’m a worthy part of their group but every time I do it feels awkward and forced.

I’m worried that eventually they will just ditch me entirely. What should I do?

The Awkward Friend


Dear The Awkward Friend,

When I was little my mother’s favorite saying used to be, “You are the only unique you.” She even had painting of it done and hung it in the hallway outside of my bedroom. At the time I would walk by it on a daily basis and roll my eyes – it’s such a mom saying, you know? Anyone who has attended public school has first hand knowledge that being unique actually isn’t that great, it’s an excuse to get picked on. “You are the only unique you” goes right up there with “you are so special” and “they are just jealous” on the list of ridiculous things mothers say to try and make us feel better and we ignore them because clearly they just don’t know what’s going on.

Another annoying “mom” saying is “You’ll understand when you’re older.” And awkward, just like the sayings in the first paragraph, it is just as true. We grow up so badly wanting to be popular, to fit in with a group instead of just being ourselves. Being yourself is really, really hard. It means being vulnerable and honest and open to the world – whereas fitting in means comfort and companionship. It means never having to be alone. It’s only when you get older that you realize fitting in with a fake version of yourself is a much lonelier fate than you think it is. What you need is a group of friends that accept you for you.

It’s possible that you already have that, darling. The fear of losing it is natural because finding people you really click with is difficult (you have to sort through the other fakers!), but I think your head is getting the best of you. Have you ever expressed interest in the things they do without you? Sometimes we think other people are mind-readers when actually most people aren’t psychic. If they knew you were interested, they probably would have asked you to go.

You can also be proactive. I know it’s scary putting yourself out there, but do you invite them to things you like to do? Treat them as you wish to be treated! I feel that your fear of doing something awkward may make you seem closed off, where if you invited them to an event or to do something that you enjoy maybe you’ll feel more comfortable, and they’ll probably like it too! It’s one more thing to bond over. And don’t feel defeated if they aren’t as into it as you are, sometimes friends have differences and that’s totally okay. I promise it doesn’t mean they hate you.

What you need Awkward Friend is to drop the pretense and have a little faith. You are the only unique you and that is a worthy, awesome thing to be. Let them love you for that and then you don’t have to worry about trying so hard.

Best wishes,

* * *

avatar-NO-BKCGRNDSubmit your questions, troubles, and predicaments to Cora via editor [at] intent [dot] com or in the comments section below. The Elephant in the Room advice column will be published every Friday – a blend of humor, compassion, and wisdom specially tailored for our Intent audience.

Live Your Own Life



Monday, 5/9

Live your own life



“You are special, so act like it. You are unique, so make the most of that uniqueness.

There’s something you can contribute to this moment that no one else has to offer. There is a perspective from which you can experience this day that is unlike any other.

Don’t settle for merely doing the same thing as anyone else, or mimicking the opinions, desires and dreams of others.  Live your own life, and explore the unique beauty of your very own dreams, thoughts, opinions and interests.

Your greatest value comes from being who you truly are. Let your beautiful, unique, fascinating and authentic self come fully to life.”

n  The Daily Motivator by Ralph Marston


Steven Farrell

Humanity’s Team World Wide Coordinating Director


Ordinary Life… Extraordinary Living

The ability to look at the extraordinary in the ordinary requires sensitivity and an open heart.It is easy to see the beauty in a precious rose; a rare lotus; a sparkling diamond ring or a picturesque landscape.
We all had our moments when we have looked at things/people around us and felt its true uniqueness. These are magical moments when something inside of us expands.
Creativity then is not a technique which is restricted to a bunch of people. It is an attitude that you develop towards life and everything else. I am trying to live my life with this idea. Every morning when I wake up I tell myself that today is the last day of my life….and so I should just do everything that I possibly can or wish to! This way I tend to look at people, my work, family, friends differently…. with a lot of love. It is like falling in love with life all over again. Have you ever wondered when you are in love everything about the person you are in love with looks so beautiful and unique? Only the person-in-love can see the extraordinary- ness (i know there is no word like that) in the object of his love and affection. Trust me I woud give away anything in this world for experiencing the ‘in love’ feeling again and again. I have realised that this is an attitude which helps you celebrate every moment with abandon.
It isnt easy to be creative when everything around you is falling apart…when you have bills to pay; when you have a job you don’t love; when your family doesnt understand you; when you have been betrayed in a relationship and you are left guessing whether the man really ever loved you or not?……That is why they say that creativity needs courage. This is a quote I happened to read in a book called ‘Beyond Indigo’. It stirred my thought process and hence this blog.
The choice is mine. Do I want to live an ordinary existence or find the extraordinary in the ordinary? I choose the latter.

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