Nonconformity: The Value of Me Not Fitting In
There was a time when I didn't like being an odd duck; not easily categorized, a bit contrarian, thinking differently than others, not always coloring inside the lines. It can be a tough path for someone inside a company. There is a push to conform and comply with unspoken norms. This was never my way.
Sometimes that worked in my favor and more times people didn’t know what to do with me. Eventually, I became comfortable in my own skin and didn’t care so much about fitting in. I just cared about doing great work with great people. Not surprisingly, as I got more comfortable (sic. less defensive or reactive), more people sought me out.
I just cared about doing great work with great people.
One day everything came into focus. I made a presentation to my boss and team about something I had been noodling on as a solution to an issue we were facing. It was definitely out there. I noticed my boss smile and my teammates look confused. An interesting discussion ensued.
My boss pulled me aside after the meeting to offer up some kudos. In response I said, “I know this was pushing the envelope, but I just see some very different approaches to the problem.” To which they replied, “Keep pushing. Honestly, I get bored with the same old stuff. You stimulate my brain and get the wheels turning in new ways. I always look forward to meetings that I know you are attending.”
And just like that, I saw the light. Being different is a breath of fresh air to stale ideas. Strive to be non-ordinary! People will appreciate it, even if they don’t say so.
If you struggle with finding your voice, not fitting the norm or accepting your fullest self, we can help. We coach individuals to know themselves and to establish their most effective presence.