Fact is there has never been a better time to be odd. After centuries of human success being related to blending in with our tribes, we now rejoice in and embrace our personal quirks and even foibles. Our individual uniqueness comforts us in a time when technology spreads through so much of our lives and sometimes seems to be taking over.
The first reason to celebrate your oddness is that precisely when you feel out of place, you are out of your cozy comfort one and you have to get out of that cocoon to grow.
[bctt tweet=”You have to get out of that cocoon to grow. -Laura Mixon Camacho” username=”thesouthernc”]
When I first learned about the Summit, the 2014 version had just sold out. Already I was hooked on the blog and paid attention to get myself and my Neatsmart sister Carrie, present at the 2015 Summit in Charleston.
The Spanish-speaking world has this lovely expression. Translated it means “a cockroach at a party of hens.” I don’t know yet of an American equivalent for that expression but you know what I mean. That’s how I felt the first day of my first Summit.
Everyone looked so stylish and exuding hospitality. It seemed like everyone knew each other already…as it always does when you feel out of place. As a public speaking/communication coach, most of my clients are computer nerds, tax attorneys, physicians, IT professionals or scientists. I was used to being the non-technical person in the room, but not used to being the non-lifestyle industry person.
It didn’t take long for me to soak up the charm and beauty of the Summit, make so many new friends and expand my world. Being with these leaders outside my industry has been rocket fuel for my own creativity.
[bctt tweet=”Being with these leaders outside my industry has been rocket fuel for my own creativity. – Laura Mixon Camacho” username=”@thesouthernc”]
The second reason to be the oddball is that’s the precise environment for innovation.
According to innovation experts Chris Wasden and Mitch Wasden, almost all innovation involves the application of a known solution to a problem, or part of a problem from one domain, to a new problem in a different domain.
The example they provide in their book, Tension: the Energy of Innovation is the self-driving car, our avatar of innovation in America. Yet the technology driving that change is more than 20 years old. Commercial pilots use this technology every day in flying us from Savannah, Georgia to Sandusky, Ohio.
I’m sure if you think about it, you’ve picked up a tip for your own company from some other industry. I know I’ve channeled Darcy Miller in spreading confetti all over the room where I was training scientists how to communicate better. (That sent the instant message that this was not your ordinary training experience.)
The third reason is your oddballness nourishes your competitive edge.
Mandy Wooley Edwards lays it out in her “Want to Hire or Become a Digital Influencer Here Are 15 Things to Consider.” She shares, “Everyone has this innate craving to be known – to be considered an influencer in their industry, whether it be interior design, cooking, art, or even… social media marketing.” It’s your unique combination of expertise, obsessions, affinities and relationships that builds influence, whether you own the business or work for one.
In my work helping technical professionals (who are usually employees) stand out in their industries, I teach them to weave into their bio’s and critical conversations those personal details like an obsession with the Netflix series “Medici: Masters of Florence,” lemon everything, or a hobby like shark fishing.
What helps anyone stand out in a hyper-competitive market, whether for jobs or clients, is oddballness and likeability. Competence, or even expertise, is taken for granted.
[bctt tweet=”It’s your unique combination of expertise, obsessions, affinities and relationships that builds influence, whether you own the business or work for one. – Laura Mixon Camacho” username=”thesouthernc”]
Google gives us answers to direct questions in a flash. Drowning in all that data, what we crave is connection with brands and people who deliver the un-Googleable quality of being an oddball.
Whenever you’re feeling like you don’t belong, know you are in precisely the right place at the right time and there’s an opportunity just waiting for you.