Embrace Your Inner Weirdo to Thrive
Many 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?
I 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.
This 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!