What’s weird about you? That could be your superpower!
We often try to hide the eccentric, exceptional, unusual and weird traits that we have.
Anya always had difficulty gaining clarity on any decision without using a decision diagram. She has used them since she was first introduced to them in primary school, and she used them for just about everything. Her friends thought this was quite ‘nerdy’ so she learned to keep it to herself even though her friends also envied her confidence and lack of second-guessing when it came to choosing significant pathways for her future. If Anya’s friends had been curious or Anya had felt exceptionally confident in her approach, she could have taught them this amazing tool and helped them gain confidence in their own decisions. But the friends’ judgement and Anya’s fear meant that that opportunity was lost.
We often shun the traits that make us special, unique, interesting and even gifted, because they identify us as being weird and not normal. We let go of those for the sake of fitting in and being accepted by others.
A need to belong can become our downfall
We are designed to fit in and belong – it supports harmony and consistency in a culture. But our differences are also beneficial as they can inspire change, evolution and progress – all of which are needed for a healthy culture and society that adapts to changing times.
It would be idyllic if we can teach everybody to accept everybody else for all our normal and not-so-normal traits. But let’s not wait to be accepted by others – let’s start with self.
If we are to own our unique traits and talents, then we need to also accept that we’re weird in that particular way. Others may think we’re odd, unusual or weird; we might be made fun of and for some people we will be unacceptable. But their lack of acceptance is really THEIR problem, their judgement, their inability to see uniqueness as a talent. Unfortunately, far too often we make it OUR problem as well. But it’s just not.
Give it a try
Let’s first start with ourselves and accepting our weird traits as gifts that can bring us benefits and joy. Imagine that we can recognise our weirdness, accept it, embrace it and find ways to leverage our unique qualities into a superpower. Consider these steps (or even use them with your coachees):
Step 1 – identify your special traits
- What’s unusual, weird, or different about you?
- What traits, habits or perspectives are different than others around you?
- What have you been teased about?
- How have people tried to rein you in? Or what aspects of yourself have you tried to rein in?
Step 2 – embrace
Be curious and have compassion for your past self that may have suffered injustices around this. View it now from the lens of the person you have become and see if there have been times when it has benefited you.
Allow yourself to get curious about this trait or characteristic. Turn off (at least for a moment) your judgements about it and instead ask:
- What is interesting and valuable about this trait?
- What would it give you and others if it became a strength?
- How is this trait, ability or habit a gift?
Step 3 – integrate
Consider how you could introduce (or re-introduce) this quality into your life or work over the next week or so. Even a little taste. As you do this, you might want to take notes in a journal or discuss that with a coach.
These 3 steps will enable you to see the brilliance of your special, eccentric and weird traits. And as a bonus, it helps us build a diverse and interesting world, where we don’t all have to be the same (wouldn’t that be boring anyway?).
Embrace the difference!Set the stage for magical coachingWhich is my AUTHENTIC self?