I know I’ve mentioned it before, but my coworkers are pretty much the raddest people ever. I’m so lucky to work for a company that encourages growth from within, a one team mindset, and celebrates individual accomplishments. There is no “follow my coaching and become a mini me.” My boss encourages everyone to learn from everyone else until they become a superstar. It’s refreshing to see a team so focused on helping everyone succeed.
The women on the leadership team know we are islands in a male dominated industry. We know we’re the minority. We have our own unique challenges (our trainer, who is arguably the most intelligent and interesting person I’ve met since moving here, was recently given sexist feedback by an ASSOCIATE), and we’ve stuck together. We celebrate each other, stand up for each other, and we’re fortunate to have each other. But most recently, I’ve learned more from one of these amazing women about self love in one night of cocktails then I have in a long time.
There’s no denying that I’m an odd duck. I talk a lot. I like a lot of nerdy things. I’ve been known to live tweet WWE PPV’s. I tell bad dad jokes. But that’s who I am and it took me a long time to get comfortable in my skin. My colleague marches to the beat of her own drum. She’s unconventional, over the top, creative, and driven. I once said she was like a living meme; she drives the point home in a hilarious manner. At our last training, she said that if she could be an animal, she would be a giraffe. Why? So she could be majestic, but also eat her grass and mind her business. She’s also successful af & super interested in helping the business grow, so I love learning from her.
As we were downing shots of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey (I may not drink often, but I drink whiskey now. Somewhere my high school bestie is so proud), I mentioned how I was told by a manager to turn down my personality so that I could better fit in. She straight up said “fuck that.”
She then tells me about how she felt the same way when she had to go to her first manager’s meeting. What if they didn’t like her ideas because she was new? What if she was too over the top? What if no one liked her? When she told her boyfriend, he told her “show them you belong.” So, she showed them she belongs. And she did it by not giving a fuck and being herself.
I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin, but there are times if I wonder am I just too much or not enough? Am I ever going to be good enough to get that promotion, find the right person, achieve that 200lbs back squat at the gym? But my coworker’s “show them you belong” mindset reminded me that if I’ve changed everything about who I am to get that promotion, to meet someone, then I’m settling. I should be earning these things on account because of who I am, not through becoming a lesser version of me. If you sell out your authentic self to win a person or a job, then it’s a false victory. I’m not about that. So, instead, I’m going to put on my big people pants & show the world that I belong.
Whether it’s at work, in your personal life, or any other aspect of your life, show the world that you belong, that you are valuable, and that you can be successful and happy exactly as you are (unless you’re a racist or a serial killer, then you should probably go to jail). The best times of your life will come when you embrace who you are and use your strengths to your advantage, instead of hiding them behind a wall. So, shine your light, and show the world that you belong.