Why Try to Fit In?

Last month I was invited to what was billed as an exclusive, invite only event for women with million dollar businesses who want to increase their businesses ten-fold. No, I don’t have a million dollar business. I attended to represent the non-profit I co-founded, ARTemis, with the hopes these power women would like to support our mission to advance the woman artist through knowledge-building, exposure and support.

I was really nervous. In my mind, I pictured the attendees as the power women of the 80’s with the red power pantsuit and an attitude to match. I worried about what to wear. When I moved, I donated all of my suits so all I had were the comfortable fun dresses I brought to Cabo San Lucas.  I never wear makeup, but my friends insisted I at least where lipstick and mascara or I’ll be out of place. I worried about how to approach these power women. I didn’t think I would fit into their world and their way of relating to each other.

peas in a podUpon arrival at the event, I noticed the women who attended were the farthest thing from what I imagined. The ones who did have amazingly successful businesses were down to earth and many other attendees had more aspirational than established businesses.

Second, although the women were very nice and amazing networkers, I found that I did not want to be part of their club. My goals and dreams did not match theirs. The way I view and live life is different. My ideas of success and passion are not in alignment with theirs. These are of course generalizations as I met some wonderful ladies there, but my point is I don’t play in their sandbox. If the success they were selling took the form of an 80-hour work week and placing work and a big bank account over everything else, I didn’t want their success.

On the long flight home, I thought about my fears before the event. I didn’t think I was good enough. I thought I would stand out – in a bad way. I thought that they would not accept me. And you know what, these thoughts kept me small. They restricted me from truly being myself. In trying to be like them, I kept them from the gift that I bring by being me. During the weekend there were opportunities for me to step up and coach or take a leadership position but I didn’t. I was under the spell of being “less than.”

When we do not trust, love and accept ourselves exactly as we are, we are not fully living. When we are not brave and vulnerable to be fully ourselves, we are neglecting the world of what we uniquely offer. Imagine if every apple tree thought it “should” be a cherry tree, because those small little fruit are so much prettier than the big fruit the apple tree produces. The world would be without apples and we would have no way to keep the doctor away.

Be yourself.

Love yourself.

Accept yourself exactly how you are.

So how do we love ourselves, warts and all? How do we release the desire to be someone else? How do we truly embrace our own uniqueness?

Review Your Progress: No one has the same path and challenges as you. Where did you start? What did you have to overcome? How far have you moved toward your ultimate self? Stop judging where you are and instead celebrate all it took to become what you are now.

Take Care of Yourself: If you don’t love your body, mind and spirit, no one else will. Daily meditation and self-care are important to stay within your body and yourself. When we are envious of others or put down ourselves, we remove ourselves from our bodies. Stay centered and within your own body by caring for it. In doing so you will also find yourself more centered and aligned with your true self. When you are aligned with your self, you are less likely to be swayed by the assumed judgments of others.

Define Your Uniqueness: When I work with clients to find their ideal career, I steer them away from trying to fit into the careers they know of and first start identifying their skills, passions, values, and mission so we can craft careers from their truth. Stop trying to become someone else. Uncover all that you have to offer. What makes you unique? What can you do that others can’t? What do people come to you for? What do you friends love about you? Instead of becoming someone else maximize all that you are already.

Next time you compare yourself to others thinking you need to change to fit in, tune back into the amazing person you are. As Ian said to Daphne in my guilty pleasure, “Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you are born to stand out?”

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