A close professional friend and a celebrated industry guru, wrote a LinkedIn post last week that has stayed with me. The post was titled; "being unpopular at work, and elsewhere". It was a brave post and built on some of their posts over the last couple of years.
I, like my friend and their posts, differ from the average corporate person; we are not beige, which has probably been a great catalyst for our friendship. Also, this person is a music lover, and I can't help but think of the band Queen as I write this. Queen said they "represented all misfits and those on the edge of society." I look out for those like us within organisations as misfits have much to offer. However, it can be exhausting for them when many choose to rationalise or ignore what they have to say or offer, which may be of great value.
So, this blog is for all of us that are a bit different! Here are some lessons from a functioning corporate misfit.
Excel at your paid employment
Understand your core job at your employer, including how your success will be measured. Choose not to fight this. Accept it and seek to excel at what matters to the system.
Share your thoughts
Find your voice on some key topics. These will be things that you are interested in and are likely to be more knowledgeable on than the average person. Share some of your thoughts in the spirit of exploration and see who chooses to interact. Your thoughts could be via a VLOG or BLOG.
Respect and connect with your community
Over time there will be a core group that will choose to follow or engage in your thinking. The thought will evolve through exploration with others, evolving the idea. For me, it is not the thousands of likes, it is the insightful commentary from others and the opportunity to help refine a client's concept, which makes the effort so worthwhile.
The world is dynamic, and staying static will not serve anyone. Your ideas will coalesce and possibly be simplified. Steve Jobs once said "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication". The simplicity of the thought will translate from just a thought for you, to serving many others. Be prepared to fail on some of these ideas. I have over thirty quality cartoons, however, less than twenty are regularly used by clients.
Mentally check out and be active
I have one day a week when I will not open my PC. This is a very conscious decision and can be difficult on occasions, but I have found fresh clarity to my thinking when I step away. My physical activity is exceptionally important for my mind; upon returning from my dawn walk or evening yoga, my thinking is always clearer. Step away and be active.
Remain consistent and contemporary
Be consistent in the topics you explore (mine are digital and leadership), but be contemporary in how you share content. This year I have committed to a weekly three-minute video, which was difficult initially, however over time you will refine and level up; just like I did!
For those misfits reading this, share your quirkiness so these things can be celebrated, and seek out those who may be interested in your thoughts. Victor Hugo once said "You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
I don't subscribe to the enemies concept, but I do believe there will be some people who will get you, others who will take time to, and some who never will. Go with the former two, as two out of three ain't bad.