Born to Stand Out yet Trying to Fit In - Guest Blog by Vanessa Anstee

July 14, 2012

  Are you born to stand out but trying to fit in?

I have this vivid memory. I’m in school and aged about 8. It’s the day of the school photos. It’s a day for looking your best and smiling big wide smiles.

As we lined up waiting for the photographer my teacher turned to me with dismay, “Oh Vanessa, you’ll have to rub that off. Have you seen what you’ve done?”
Of course I hadn’t. I had inadvertently drawn with green felt tip under my nose whilst daydreaming. Everyone laughed and I felt the flush of embarrassment as I was sent to the toilet to try and get it off.

The truth is no matter how much I wanted to look neat, it just wasn’t my way. My curly hair was jaggedly uneven where I had waywardly decided to cut in a fringe (bangs) a few weeks before.

I’m still not neat. However I am much more comfortable in my skin and that feeling grows each day. It’s only recently that I realise the subtle pattern of my life. It’s a pattern of trying hard to fit in but really longing to stand out. Where does fitting in show up? I found it was all over the place!

In my career I tried hard to be a great employee but was all the time longing to shake the tree and create transformation. Socially I would get caught up in saying yes to engagements and then wishing I were somewhere else. When I started my own business I tried to do it right and look professional but felt creatively stifled. In my relationships I would play down my ambitions and apologise for my dreams. What led to the shift in my way of being?

I got sick and tired of selling myself short. It wasn’t getting me results. The more aware I became of what I was doing and when I was doing it, the more I understood the cost of compliance and fitting in.

I kept coming UP TO THE EDGE of “do the thing that’s nice and fake fitting in” or “do the thing that’s real and stand out”. Eventually I chose “do the thing that’s real.”

I finally came to a place of sovereignty where I could take ownership of who Vanessa is and all that I stand for.

It is a choice: If you find yourself choosing to fit in instead of taking the step toward your leadership I would give you this advice:

Notice when you do it.

How often is it and what is the benefit and cost of it?

Really allow yourself to feel that yucky feeling in your body when you’ve sold yourself short. Once there is awareness then there is choice. You can choose to fit in and you can also choose the voice of your inner knowing. It’s a voice that’s calling you forth each day into your leadership.

What I know is true is that when you step toward that place, fitting in starts to pale and what’s left is the magic of owning your courage and your leadership.

- Vanessa Anstee is creator of Workplace Freedom Fighters . She is passionate about helping people find their individuality, expression and freedom to do the work they love.

A special thank you to Vanessa for this guest blog. Life is about choices and your blog allows others to become aware of their choices in their lives so that they can move from their edge into the exceptional lives they want to be living. Please post a  comment below about the choices you have made in your life and where you want to make changes. We would love to hear!