Embrace Your Inner Weirdo to Thrive

Posted by on September 11, 2013 in True Self | 15 comments

dr._seussMany of us don’t answer our true callings because we’re afraid people will find out how odd or strange we are.  But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky—I approve!  Are you ready to embrace your inner weirdo?

The first time “Gina” walked into my workshop, she seemed like she was 12 years old.  She wore knee-socks and a dress at least two sizes too big for her. It turns out Gina was 20 years old. Her job as a receptionist bored her to tears. She took my class to be more creative.  

Other than introducing herself that first day, Gina never uttered a word in class.  Every week when I went around the room to find out how people were doing with their creativity assignments, Gina always requested I pass her by.  I couldn’t get to know her.  I couldn’t even see her face.  Long bangs hid her eyes. 

Six weeks went by.  Just when I’d grown used to her silence, Gina raised her hand to speak one evening in class.  She carefully parted the bangs out of her eyes and looked straight at me.

“I have a bunch of dolls and stuffed animals at home and I watch ‘Beauty and the Beast’ over and over again.  Do you think there’s something wrong with me?”

Now this was interesting.  Everyone shifted their collective gaze from Gina to me.  Was this girl out of her gourd?  And if she was, would I tell her so?

disney-beauty-and-the-beast-wallpaperI looked at Gina’s innocence, her freshness, and saw that she had a certain integrity about her.  “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you,” I concluded.  “Why do you ask?”

Gina sighed.  “My boyfriend made me give all my stuffed animals and dolls away.” 

The woman sitting next to her cried “oh no,” and others in the room chimed in.  This was all wrong, and we knew it.

I smiled. “I think the only thing that’s wrong is you have a boyfriend who doesn’t appreciate who you are.” 

“Good,” Gina said, “because I broke up with him two weeks ago.”

After that evening, I had Gina explore the nature of who she was rather than question why she was different from other women her age.  Why did she like “Beauty and the Beast” so much?  What was it about dolls and stuffed animals that interested her?  I urged her to wrap her arms around this child’s world rather than turn away from it because it wasn’t “normal.”

One night Gina waved her hand in the air before we’d even started class, begging me to call on her.  “I know what to do with my life now,” she squealed.  Before I had a chance to open my mouth she hopped out of her chair and announced she was going to become a kindergarten teacher.  Applause immediately filled the room. 

3498This was a perfect career choice for Gina.  She chose a vocation to match her authentic self, not who she thought she had to be. 

Often our true calling becomes clear when we embrace what makes us different from others instead of trying to fit in. What about you? Tell me what makes you special, even if it seems weird or wacky.

Are you a tough executive who secretly longs to take a touchy-feely class after your workday ends?  Or a musician who has a knack for writing code but worries about working for the man?  Or a tech writer who really wants to write movie scripts?  These types of people have all taken my workshops and flourished once they embraced their “inner weirdos.”

What “crazy” ideas do you have buried down deep about your life’s true direction?  Trust these inner stirrings.  When you accept yourself for who you are, warts and all, you truly shine. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

15 Comments

  1. This is very inspiring. I have been struggling to “improve” my professional social media presence. I separated Facebook for personal and Twitter for professional. And I’ve been retweeting all sorts of news about the tech industry, i.e. cloud computing, big data, etc…. I’ve been afraid to post my true personality on Twitter, because it’s open to the public. What would my colleagues do if they found out that I was really weird with a very exciting life? Compare this to my Facebook, which has had my true voice for many years…. I post everything that makes me come alive. I have developed followers and fans. I’m wondering now if my Twitter strategy is actually a good one. Now I’m one of the masses. Unrecognizable. Nothing unique. But completely professional.

  2. I absolutely hear you. I hid the fact that I was a singer-songwriter and taught creativity workshops when I first consulted for Internet companies. I could get jobs with a resume that looked like everyone else’s, but I didn’t feel fulfilled. Then I “forgot” my true calling altogether for a while. The trick is to put it together somehow; all those things that bring excitement to your life are part of who you truly are. How does it all add up? THAT’S your true purpose.

    • Well said Michelle. Story form example captures attention plus making “real” the process you use to help peeps find there uniqueness. I look forward to working with you. Rev Ray Wiggins

  3. Nice example. It has been my experience that the individual’s definition of “fitting in” emanates from the projection of the parent onto the child. And there is even research that suggests how/why this differs based on birth order and gender. Boyfriends, wives, teachers and others who try to impose their version of fitting in are really surrogates for the real parents and the parents we carry around in our heads. The struggle to differentiate ourselves based on our true selves is really the struggle to separate from the parents. It can be a lifelong effort for many.

  4. Thank you Ray, and so true Bill. I usually spend the first part of my workshops helping people figure out what family roles they’re still playing that limit them from being their true selves. I find it’s the biggest barrier to authenticity, and once we question those roles, our path becomes so much clearer!

  5. Thanks for this Michelle, there is such wisdom in this truth. I enjoyed this immensely. I smiled a lot as I indentified with this journey……:-)
    Our initial training of who we are is not always our truth.
    Blessed be

  6. You’re welcome Audra. My motto is: “Sing the song that was born in your heart, not someone else’s tune.” It may take some time to find it, but once you do, it’s so rewarding!

  7. My inner weirdo just went to Burning Man…and loved it!!!! I’m so enjoying this blog. Thank you for writing it!

  8. You’re welcome. It’s fun. Maybe I can go to Burning Man with you next year! It’s on my inner weirdo’s bucket list.

  9. What a beautiful story–Gina found her true calling when she embraced her true self. Your class was a catalyst for creative change, for her to wake up to the beautiful reality of who she is. Each of us has our own beautiful reality shining inside. Thanks for the reminder.

  10. You’re very welcome Diane. Coming from you that means a lot, since you do your own great work in this field!

  11. Love it. You’re a great writer. Keep the stories coming! Can’t wait to read the next one!

  12. Thanks Laurie. That means a lot coming from you, since YOU are a great writer!

  13. I LOVE my stuffed animals. My wife says I’m adorable because I love stuffed animals. I have so many quirks in my personality that my ex used to get annoyed at and my wife just adores. It’s so blissful to be loved for who I really am. When I was a child I used to doodle all over my schoolbooks and now I’m a henna artist. When I was a teenager, I used to love to discuss philosophy, religion, and the deep meaning of life and now I’m a minister. (And BTW my inner weirdo totally wants to go to Burning Man!) I love pirates and dragons, walking in the rain and jumping in puddles. I love musicals and kittens. And I find that I attract to me people who love me for my authenticity, transparency, and dorkiness. (Even though I consider myself polished and professional!)

    • Beautiful–thanks so much for sharing your story! It’s funny you should mention how your wife appreciates you for who you are, when your ex didn’t. I haven’t told the story yet, but it turns out that Gina found her true love in my class after she dumped her boyfriend. That blog will be coming in a few weeks, but in the meantime, I just wanted to say, “We should all be loved for who we are.”

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