On Fitting In

Have you ever done something ridiculous to fit in?

One of my favorite things to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon is to watch Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday while cooking dinner or milling about the house. I love most of the guests and stories, but my favorite episode ends with a short about an orphaned lamb. Every time I watch it, I get choked up. Yes, over an orphaned lamb. You’ve just gotta see it to understand –> The Orphan

Until about five years ago, I would say an attempt at fitting in ruled my world. Growing up, I was the poor kid in the rich kid school.  It was hard to fit in.  I didn’t have the right clothes.  We didn’t have a fancy car or a big house.  I couldn’t talk about trips to Aruba or the Bahamas after winter break.

I continued to shoulder this desire to fit in throughout my career in corporate America.  I had to dress the part, rattle off the script, and color within the lines.  But I always knew I was different.  I’ve always been the one trying to improve our processes or do something unconventional to speak to our customers.  Being the squeaky wheel in a vanilla corporate world does not usually go very well, FYI.

I carried this into the business I was building when I looked at other models to see what I should be doing for marketing, advertising, branding, etc. But you know what, the more I tried to be what I thought everyone expected of me, the more I lagged behind in my goals.

It was when I fully embraced who I was that things changed for me. I’m not a vanilla corporate writer. I’m sassy and undeniable in my quest to understand the user experience and introduce different perspectives. I will always challenge the status quo – not for the sake of argument, but to challenge preconceived notions or old ways of doing things.

When I decided to lean into my true self, it became so much easier for the right people to find me on both the business and personal sides.

“I’ve noticed that once the separated among us have evolved, surprisingly, they reach beyond simply wanting to belong. Turning rejection into elevated awareness. In turn connecting them to everything else. The orphan does not wait to be seen. He doesn’t give up. Once he stopped chasing the flock that was incapable of seeing him, an instinct emerged like a whisper in his ear. Nourish yourself, and the world will be drawn to you.”

-John Chester

I love this passage. I find it to be so inspirational when I have those moments of doubt. But I think it’s like any other muscle, the more you exercise it the stronger it is. I challenge you today to really think about whether you are living as your authentic self. And if not, why?

Do the damn thing babes.

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