What do you really want?
For a lot of people, it would be hard to come up with a response to this question that felt truly satisfying. This is because so few of us are in touch with who we want to be in the future.
It’s ingrained in us, from an early age, that happiness is about having the things you need—but what if that’s not entirely true?
According to Dan Sullivan and Joe Polish in a recent 10xTalk episode, in order to live a truly extraordinary life, you have to be committed to finding the skills and talents within yourself that are entirely unique and that fascinate and motivate you—what Dan calls your Unique Ability.
But that’s not all.
Once you’ve discovered the unique way you show up in the world, you have to be willing to free yourself up so you can use this to create value for other people.
So how do you create your most rewarding life? Dan Sullivan and Joe Polish share their advice:
1. Understand that the world doesn’t owe you anything.
“The world owes you some things—we have a right to life and liberty—but there’s no fine print or guarantee that says the world has a responsibility or duty to develop your uniqueness,” explains Dan.
If you want to find your purpose in life and get closer to the heart of what drives you, that has to come from inside. The economy has tons of room for people who are “good enough” but it’s up to you to distinguish yourself and make an impact.
2. Get clear on what you want and what the future “you” looks like.
Living an exceptional life is about discovering your uniqueness so you can continue building on that into the future.
“I have a vision of who I can be in the future,” explains Dan, “and I arrange my life so I can become that person regardless of what other people think.”
Your life is about what you want and clearing a path so you can get there. Consider what you may be letting stand in the way of the life you want.
At the core of your being are characteristics and values entirely unique to you. Connect to your deepest self and get crystal clear on your Unique Ability® with the proven process laid out in Unique Ability 2.0: Discovery.
3. Give yourself permission to be obsessed with something.
“Uniqueness shows up as an obsession,” says Dan. But too often, we don’t give ourselves the permission to be consumed by the things that fascinate us.
Passion and zeroing in on a vision is how things are created in the world. One of the most energizing and fulfilling experiences is to follow through on what drives you—give in to those urges and trust your intuition.
4. Don’t feel guilty about wanting what you want.
Your life is about what you want, and there’s no need to justify that to other people. What’s wrong with wanting what you want—just because you want it?
Dan explains, “Too often people feel guilty about wanting things for their own personal reasons, and they convince themselves they have to ask people’s permission in order to validate those things.”
But if you’re always asking for other people’s permission, you’ll only ever end up with what they allow you to have. Decide what you want on your own terms, and ask permission later.
5. Create your own uniqueness.
Uniqueness doesn’t happen by comparing yourself to others or following the general set of rules. You have to forge your own path.
“The world respects people who stick with something, who are successful, and who don’t make it someone else’s responsibility to give them special support and resources,” says Dan.
If you want to design a life that’s truly yours, don’t expect that it will be handed over. Instead, tap into your skills, abilities, and talents and find a way to achieve it on your own.
6. Don’t get so caught up in recognition that you lose your originality.
On the road to building an exceptional life, continuously ask yourself what you’re after.
Are you after more creativity, more collaboration with the world, more energy?
Or are you after a reputation and lifestyle? “Because the moment you make a decision based on how other people are looking at you, you risk losing all your originality,” says Dan.
7. Do what you say you’re going to do.
In the words of Joe Polish, “You don’t build a great reputation by talking about what you’re going to do. You build a great reputation by actually doing it.”
Saying and doing are two very different things, but they impact the opportunities you receive and ultimately the life you’re able to build for yourself. So be honest about what you can and can’t take on. People will thank you for it.
The most extraordinary life will always be the one you create entirely yourself—the one filled with your own values, dreams, and desires. So find out what it is you really want, and use your uniqueness to get there.