I was having a conversation with a friend the other day. I was concerned. They stood before with a face so contorted with frustration that they were almost unrecognisable.
What could be the source of such angst I asked myself? The answer was one with which I had the utmost empathy. "I just can't figure out how to fit in around here"
Its a challenge everyone has from time to time - often we you are faced with a new environment or environments that change so often that we almost can't catch up with the 'persona of the moment' that we think we should be.
The core of the frustration, I later found out was that they were focussing so much on fitting in they were starting to lose sight of / confidence in all the amazing reasons why they were there. In trying to fit in, they lost a little of their essence, and the passion which got them there. They felt like an imposter - and that's tiring.
It did bring to mind a blog that I wrote a few years ago when I was having a moment of somewhat abstracted / whimsical self- reflection. https://theniceconsultant.com/2014/04/06/156/.
It is this self reflection that triggered me to think about how a sense of self is so critically important to defining and achieving our goals. Critical to finding and making careers / environments where we can be our authentic selves, rather than shape-shifting to fit someone else's definition of success.
I do believe that there is an optimal environment for everyone - the key is that the perfect job / company / situation is sometimes found, but often created. When we are clear on our strengths and passions, and can articulate it to others - we can sometimes create the situation we are looking for just by making it conscious. We can make our current situations work for us, just by changing how we view it.
'So what about your friend?' you may ask. Maybe controversially, I said to stop trying to fit in (easier said than done you may say).
'It is your differences that got you here - be confident in the value you can bring to others and also for yourself. Respect, rapport and a desire to understand should be the key to 'fitting in', not whether you blend into the crowd . It should not be incumbent on you alone to 'fit', its a mutual thing!'
This is one of the tenets of the Uniquity concept. Using the network to surround yourself with, and learn from others - not to emulate them, but to learn more about yourself. If you understand yourself, it can bring to light some really important facets of your goals and aspirations that help you make important decisions and see new opportunities.
Be square (or round) and proud!