Nilofer Merchant: The Power Of Your “Onlyness”

It’s part of the human condition to wonder if we can truly make a difference in the world, & whether our personal talents & experiences are unique or special in any meaningful way.

In her book, The Power of Onlyness, Nilofer Merchant says yes, emphatically, & we couldn’t need that kind of encouragement any more.

When Nilofer was 18 years old, her Indian mother arranged for her to be married off to a much older man with three children to raise. Bereft by the prospect of losing the opportunity to attend college & gain the education she’d long dreamed for, she walked away from the marriage – not to mention her mother & her home. At a crossroads & faced with a critical life choice, she decided against making someone else’s and instead made an especially original one of her own.

In the years since, Nilofer has been an executive at Apple & Autodesk. She’s personally launched more than 100 products netting $18 billion in sales.  She’s been named to the venerable “Thinkers 50” list & her TED Talk ranks in the top 10% of its all-time most viewed speeches.

As expressed in her book – & discussed at length in this podcast – Nilofer’s journey led her to a profound understanding that every person alive possesses a truly unique view of the world tied to their own life’s experiences, history, visions & hopes. And from that spot where only they stand, they can offer novel insights, make great contributions & maximize their full human potential.

Too many people wish they had the ability to make a mark in the world, but feel they lack the credentials or aren’t high enough in their organization to have their ideas heard. But Nilofer’s own remarkable life story shaped her view that every single one of us possesses great power in our personal Onlyness.

In this podcast, Nilofer Merchant encourages us to summon the very best in ourselves, & explains how to grow it, nurture it & bring it to the world. And when you’re done listening, you’ll be inspired to leave an even bigger dent in the universe while also knowing how to cultivate the “onlyness” in every unique human being you lead & manage.

By Mark C. Crowley

Mark C. Crowley is the author of Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century which has been taught in 11 American universities. He is a global speaker, leadership consultant and thought leader on the topics of workplace culture and employee engagement.