Why Not Fitting In is a Very Good Thing

Did you ever feel as if you didn’t fit in?

…as if you were a round peg in a square hole?

Not Fitting In - Upside Thinking

…as if you were a jellyfish in a world filled with unicorns? (this is how one of my former clients who is doing amazing work in the world shares her journey…)

I spent my entire life feeling a bit like this – like the odd one in every group I was every part of – and I thought I discovered a way to use it to my advantage.

The tagline for my company, Upside Thinking, Inc., used to be, “The world is made for those who stand out, not those who fit in.” so I began doing things that physically had me stand out.

Brighter clothes.

Talking louder.

Wearing dark glasses with hundreds of rhinestones.

How could you miss me?!? (Remember, I was the girl who showed up at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center with long blonde hair, long red, white and blue nails, and black Guess high-top sneakers…sigh…)

It seemed logical to accept I needed to be bolder, louder, and more outspoken than the person next to me in order to be seen, heard, and noticed.

Fortunately, standing out doesn’t necessarily mean being bright and shiny.

Or, being the loud guy at the cocktail party who may have had one adult beverage too many.

Even social introverts like me can stand out by using my gifts, abilities, talents, and experiences to position my expertise.

Positioning, a term introduced in 1969 by Jack Trout, is a secret elixir that creates a subtle force of attraction that draws people in to your story.

Listeners are naturally influenced by who you’re being as you blend humanity and vulnerability with the depth of your life experiences.

In 1981, Trout wrote a best-selling book with co-author Al Ries entitled, “Positioning – The Battle for Your Mind” where they defined the word as “…an organized system for finding a window in the mind…” (2001 edition).

Positioning enables you to communicate who you are and what you do in a way that captures the attention of your audience – and where you get to fully be yourself.

For someone who was told to just “be myself”, I discovered that being my most authentic self was difficult – especially if you see the world differently than everyone else around you.

This is because like most people, I thought there was a “right” way to be myself.

As I shared, being louder and bolder doesn’t work if you’re a social introvert.

It’s actually exhausting.

Yet, I have a very strong personality – and when I communicate, I do so with power, authority and intensity.

I have strong opinions and often lead the way in group situations.

However, my husband who is also a social introvert has a very different way of being.

His brilliance comes from being an active listener, quietly processing information, and then sharing an idea or solution in a manner that is fully present and awe-inspiring.

And, my husband is a world-class leader who fully understands who he is and who he is not.

Positioning makes all of this easier – and today, I realize it’s less about standing out and more about embracing what makes me different – how I’m hard-wired.

Great leaders understand if you try to “fake it until you make it”, you just might break your spirit on the way to getting noticed.

Here’s to the most authentic “you” there is!


Not Fitting In - Lisa Marie Platske

The Upside Challenge of the week is to examine where you are not being fully, authentically “you”. What is one shift/change you will commit to making by the end of the week so you position your expertise and are fully seen for your gifts, abilities, talents, and experiences?

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes…  

the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules…  

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things…  

they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius,  

because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

–Steve Jobs

Remember, the world needs you and your brilliance.

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