Photo: From the Mermaid Academy, Boracay, Philippines
Odd. Different. Weird.
Have you been called one (or more) of these? If so, you’re far from alone.
This may be a key to your success.
Perhaps you’ve embraced your uniqueness. You own it. You love who you are and don’t let naysayers force you into blandness.
Your unusualness sets you apart so you can shine. You are memorable.
But only if you have the courage to be true to who you are. To let your distinctive quirkiness show. To not hide, even if you are from a family or culture that reinforces that the tall poppy gets sheared.
The difficulty in celebrating your uncommonness can be believing your unusual traits are valued. You bring a new perspective to the meeting, game, class, family, or company. It may be hard to find a place where you are valued. Especially if others laud uniformity and homogeneity.
Another challenge is knowing when one-of-a-kind and remarkable crosses the line to weird, peculiar, strange, or bizarre. This line is subjective, of course, but you don’t want to be seen as so odd that you are shunned.
Finding your “peeps” is key to embracing your matchlessness. These people will accept, love and perhaps even promote you to others.
Think of well-known people you admire. Most likely, they each posses some uncommon characteristic. Whether it’s their voice, dance moves, style, talent, intelligence, courage, perseverance, drive, altruism, authenticity, oration, athleticism, or whatever, they accept who they are and offer their talents to the world. Their fans would be sad if the person chose to not share their gifts anymore.
Lady Gaga is an example of boldly owning her disperate elements to become a huge star. She combined a powerful singing voice, thoughtful lyrics, bold stage presence, and flamboyant fashion style to become a worldwide sensation, even before she turned 30. She encourages fans to courageously be themselves, especially with songs like, “Born This Way.” Millions of people who were told they are — or consider themselves to be — misfits have been touched by her music.
My family did not value unusualness. They didn’t like to get attention or stand out. My enthusiasm for student leadership, acting, and choir soloist was met with demeaning comments and demands to end these extracurricular activities. Luckily, I was encouraged by my teachers to pursue these passions and I’m glad I did. The confidence and skills lI garnered have served me throughout my career.
Here are two exercises to help you identify and champion your uniqueness.
- If you are unsure of your uncommon gifts, make a list of what you think may be your unconventional traits. Ask for input from people who support you. Do they think these traits are rare and should be encouraged? Or do they cross the line into annoying?
- Add to the list anything you think is odd, peculiar, or eccentric about you — anything you have yet to celebrate. Ask your pals to help you see the value in these traits. Look for where the combination of these can help you shine even more.
This is an excerpt from Rebecca’s book, Life Is a Self-Designed, Personal Growth Seminar..