Don’t shrink to fit
I saw this being shared on Facebook this morning and it resonated with me instantly.
Being someone who isn’t ‘normal’ in as much as I don’t need much sleep, have bucket-loads of enthusiasm and energy, am insanely curious about everything and love to get my hands dirty I am accustomed to pissing people off. I have been told on more than one occasion that I am the soft of person that people either love or hate and I can easily understand why as I can appear to be larger than life and a bit threatening I guess.
For me it started at primary school.
I was quite tall and strong for my age during those early days of school and I was also incredibly clumsy. It wasn’t hard for me to bumble into someone during a game of ring-a-ring-of-roses and knock them to the floor or to pull someone a little too hard as we weaved in and out of the car park bollards in the play ground. THUMP. I felt awkward and more than a little uncomfortable at how easily I could make people cry without meaning to. I had a lot of friends and was quite good fun by all accounts but my clumsy nature would always come back to haunt me and was, in part due to me feeling like a bit of a freak that needed to ‘simmer down’ and moderate my own power.
I grew into my body, people grew into theirs and by the end of primary school I was no longer one of the physically ‘big’ ones and so some of my social awkwardness fell away. Well, it did until I realised that I also had the potential to be ‘larger than life’ in character too.
While I’ve never been one of those ‘look at me’ performer types (I either sit talking quietly at parties or dance around in my own little daydream world) I’ve still had to come to terms with being a personality that comes with its own spotlight and has the ability to not only draw an audience in but to also make them feel something. Being a 40-year-old adult I’m finally comfortable with that and thrive on its potential but growing up it wasn’t always great.
Before I realised and accepted my potential I tried to hide it or minimise it. Nobody wants to be that girl who people hate, even if it is only a few people who don’t matter anyway that hate you. It was exhausting and trying to fit in and not be noticed made me quite ill.
But I have come to terms with who I am, I have a curious mind and ask lots of questions. I am also unable to be ‘impressed’ by status alone and find myself drawn to those who demonstrate and live their power authentically. Further I will always challenge people to ‘explain themselves’ will stand in my space and defend it while remaining open to correction and new information and will even fight when the need arises. I have a feeling that sort of strength scares people who is a shame as I think we need more of it in this world…..
I am sharing this with you today as when we set up our businesses or go about on our blogging journeys we become a target. We are creating something, putting ourselves out there and sharing ourselves with the world. From time to time in doing this we can find ourselves in positions where it feels like our whole idea of ‘self’ is being challenged and criticised. In these times it is tempting to shrink away and either find another field to play in (which is what I used to do) or give up altogether.
Today I want to remind you that you should NEVER give up on who you are.
You should NEVER compromise your values and identity to fit in.
Follow your destiny and GROW.
But my recommendation is do it with a spirit of openness and curiosity rather than with a view to becoming someone famous or important – that’s fake.
Along the road a few key skills are important such as learning how to take feedback like a professional and being able to syphon it into a) useful growth material and b) personal opinion. Practicing this is made easier by an ability to separate out any personal emotion – hurt, humiliation, anger, excitement – you might feel from the subject at hand. Reflecting on feedback, comments, vibes that you get from a business situation analytically as if it were directed to a situation outside of yourself is key for me. It might help you too.
Have a great day guys, I’ll be thinking of you as I go about my larger-than-life day and hoping that you too grow to your full potential.