Walking through a busy mall several years ago, I became enthralled with the many different people that were passing by. At first I noticed the outer characteristics, noticing how similar and yet so different. Each individual of varying heights, weights, ethnicity, style, age and demeanor. Some were meandering through the mall as if time didn’t matter, some much more hurried, some isolated in their thoughts, and some traveling amongst family or friends. Somewhere along the way, I pulled my eyes away from the outer appearances and pulled my thoughts away from the stories I was making up of why they were at the mall. I began looking into the eyes of the individuals that allowed my eye contact. Almost instantaneously I was reminded of the created uniqueness of each person.

What was their story? Where had they come from? Were they happy, sad, excited to be alive, grieving a loss? What scars were they carrying? Why were they in this place at this time? What brought them to today? Were they shopping or just passing time? Was the man pushing a stroller with three small children a single parent? Where was the children’s mother?  Was the lady with blue eyes crying? Did she just lose her best friend or was she facing cancer? Why was the older gentleman smiling? Was it because he was with his wife? Why was the business man dressed in a suit at the mall in the middle of the day? Was he a salesman? Did he enjoy his job? What was their story?

I have been blessed with a passion for people. I am fascinated with the variety of personalities, behaviors and uniqueness of human beings. I’ve pretty much enjoyed being with people since I can remember. I was always the one bringing friends home for dinner or to just hangout.  When we moved to a larger city several weeks before my 10th birthday, I went around the neighborhood rounding up the kids and brought back home with me for a patio birthday party. I didn’t tell them we were having a party, I just wanted to be with kids for my special day. I needed and wanted friends to share in the party.  Fortunately, my parents had an open door policy and always welcomed my friends, regardless of how much advance notice I provided.

Being around people energizes me. I love to hear people’s stories – all of it, the good, the bad, the achievements and failures, the celebrations and the grieving – their story. This is part of who I am – my uniqueness – while it is not the end all of who I am, it is a large part of my unique value.

In a recent presentation, DISCovering Your Unique Value Proposition, I shared with the professionals in career transition at a Career Connectors’ event how to utilize the DISC Assessment to discover their unique value. While this is relevant and needed in today’s job market, knowing your unique value as an individual is also important.  Ian Salsman expertly blogged on the event, check it out for more details about the DISC.

DISC is a behavioral assessment and reveals the ‘how’, not the ‘why’ (that’s another blog). There is no wrong answer. Each of the different behavior styles are needed and the findings show a blend of all four styles. We need each of the styles in our lives – professionally and personally. While measuring only behaviors, the DISC reveals much about oneself and provides the opportunity to discover others’ unique value.

Discover your uniqueness.  Discover the beauty of the unique masterpiece you are. Discover the value of others through relationship. Your brilliance matters! Your uniqueness is a masterpiece. You have been created with distinctive, exceptional and one of a kind characteristics. You are important. You are significant. You matter!

And then take your unique value out into the world. Look into the eyes of the people that pass in your path today, tomorrow and each day thereafter. Value the distinctiveness of others. Wonder about who they are. Ask questions. Move from judging to valuing relationship – even if its a simple smile to a stranger. Your brilliance matters!

…for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13