by Dr Laura Camacho, founder of Mixonian Institute
There has never been a better time to be different. After centuries of human success related to blending in with our tribes, we now rejoice in and embrace our personal quirks, our obsessions and even our weaknesses. Our individual uniqueness offers opportunities in a time when technology seems to be taking over so much of our lives.
Sometimes we don’t feel comfortable because we feel different from those around us. That’s actually a good thing. Precisely when you feel out of place, you are out of your cozy comfort one and you have to get out of that cocoon to grow.
The Spanish-speaking world has this lovely expression. Translated it means “a cockroach at a party of hens.” I don’t know yet of an English-language equivalent for that expression but you know what I mean. That’s how I felt during a particular networking event, we’ll call it ‘The Fashionable Gathering.’
Everyone looked so stylish and sophisticated. It seemed like everyone knew each other already…as it always does when you feel out of place. As a soft skills coach, most of my clients are computer nerds, tax attorneys, physicians, IT professionals or scientists. I was used to being the non-technical person in the room, but not used to being the non-lifestyle industry person.
It didn’t take long for me to soak up the charm and beauty of The Fashionable Gathering, make many new friends and expand my world. Being with these leaders outside my industry was rocket fuel for my own creativity.
Just one example of how I applied this cross-fertilization: I started bringing confetti to my corporate trainings. Now THAT brought a surprise to what can be a stuffy environment!
Feeling different from those around offers you three distinct opportunities:
- You become stronger as you step out of your comfort zone.
- Being with people who think differently fuels your creativity.
- Developing that unique combination of expertise, obsessions, affinities and relationships builds influence.
Whenever you’re feeling like you don’t belong, know you are in precisely the right place at the right time and there’s an opportunity just waiting for you.
Laura Camacho, MBA, PhD, PMP, is an executive coach, trainer and speaker who opened Mixonian Institute in 2009 to rid the world of boring business communication. She has created innovative training programs for local and international companies, related to leadership effectiveness, excellent feedback, growth mindset and emotional intelligence. Multilingual, Dr. Camacho’s career highlights include facilitating The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (in Spanish,) being editor of the leading management newsletter in Venezuela. For 10 years she taught communication classes at ECU and College of Charleston. www.mixonian.com
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