You Were Born to Stand Out
‘You were born to stand out, stop trying to fit in.’ Roy T Bennett
I wonder if, like me, you’ve spent much of your life try to fit in and not stand out, for various reasons. As a kid, particularly as you get to those teenager years, you want to be the same as your mates. You certainly don’t want to be different. This week I’m going to share with you some of my story, a part that is relevant to NOT wanting to stand out. It relates to disfigurement and scars.
Scars can make you feel self-conscious
Scars can make you feel self-conscious. I have lots of them. Multiple surgeries to try and sort my hip out from birth mean my left-hand side from just under my waist to mid-thigh tell a story. These days they operate then stitch you up and the scars heal to be very neat lines. Back in the 60's and 70's they weren’t so neat.
I first remember being self-conscious of my scars after some surgery when I was 9 years old. Just at the age when kids become aware and self-conscious of their bodies. I asked for a swimming costume with a skirt for the school swimming lessons. I wanted to hide the nasty purple lines. It was scar number 3 and parallel to the others. It went from my hip down my outer thigh. Not a neat little line like you get these days. It was big and long, a purple, angry looking thing with horizontal marks approx. every inch. They’d left a mess. (I hadn’t mentioned it to him, but it was so bad, that my hip replacement surgeon offered to neaten things up a bit when I was having that done twelve years ago!)
These days I don't mind the actual scars per se. I am, however, very conscious of how they change my shape and how it looks in clothes. I work around it. When I did some work with Karen Chappell Pain Detective she described it as a shark bite. It's as if I've had a chunk bitten out of my side, the fat tissue, my hip padding, is displaced. The result is that one hip protrudes much higher than the other. Being overweight makes it more obvious.
Not accepted by peers
As far as being different was concerned I don’t remember ever being in pain or my hip stopping me from doing anything (at school or otherwise) before this surgery in the early 70’s. I remember not understanding any of it and being worried about it. My limp came after that operation. There was technically no reason for me to limp as my legs were the same length. I think it was more to do with the fact that I was conscious of there being something ‘wrong with me’. So back in those days, with hindsight, I reckon I had a psychological limp. I made myself different but all I wanted was to fit in.
I’d been in plaster of Paris from my armpit, around my torso and down to my ankle for 3 months. I had a personal tutor home schooling me for a few hours a week but once I was on crutches it was back to school. Only, there’d been a fire at school and my class was being temporarily housed in the local youth club. This was too far for me to walk on crutches. There was a solution though. The class year above me had moved into the new school which was only a couple of hundreds of yards away, literally at the end of our garden. I was clever enough to keep up with the work of the older kids, I could go in that class temporarily.
I wasn’t accepted by these older kids. They didn’t like me being in their class because I was younger. When I went back to my own class my peers were mean to me because I had been with the older kids. I felt very unhappy that I didn’t fit in. I ran away from school one lunch time because I was being picked on. Mum had to take me back.
Well, I say run but I found it hard to run now. I could no longer sit cross legged on the floor for assembly either. I needed a chair. The surgery I’d had meant that my hip joint was no longer as flexible, and I never have sat cross legged again. Using a chair in school assemblies made me stick out like a sore thumb. I stood out as different when all I wanted was to fit in.
Not fitting in
We had sports day and I had to run in a race. I remember being very anxious and worried about running and I didn’t want to take part, but they made me. I felt very self-conscious. I think I cried as I was running. I felt like everyone was watching and laughing. I didn’t feel like I fitted in then either.
I did still do PE though and in an attempt to be like my peers I signed up for an extra-curricular gymnastics class. My friends were all wannabe Olga Korbuts and extremely agile. I got by but was left behind with the BAGA awards they all went on to achieve. Then there was the time I went for ballet lessons but toppled over on the teacher as she tried to manoeuvre my leg into a position it physically wouldn’t go in. I felt embarrassed and humiliated.
Stand out from the crowd
How is this story relevant to me as a woman in business today? And why am I telling you? I’m not telling you so that you feel sorry for me, but I suppose I’m hoping it will give you a bit of an insight as to why I am passionate today about helping women to proudly stand out from the crowd. To embrace who you are and be comfortable enough in your own skin to be loud, proud, and confident as a woman in business. Not trying to fit in with all the rest, embracing your unique, authentic self.
Become more visible
Putting yourself at the front and centre because you are your brand means you own your look. Your brand identity reflects your charisma and personality. Then you are proud because you and your business both look amazing and are presented cohesively. You feel excited to put yourself out there and generally become more visible.
When you’re out there, loud, and proud, with an amazing brand identity that reflects who you are, what you do and how you do it you magnetically attract more ideal clients who are excited to work with you. Ultimately you boost your business and celebrate more success. Investing in yourself becomes a win win situation. It's so exciting to be part of these personal journeys and observe the changes as you get clarity, define, and refine your own version of being the flamingo amongst the flock of pigeons because as Roy T Bennett says ‘You were born to stand out, stop trying to fit in.’
There is nothing like being yourself on purpose and showing up in your power; having your personal style and brand confidence nailed. Knowing that it is just right FOR YOU and your business. DM me for an initial conversation or check out the silver and gold membership options of the FAB Network which have it included.
You can listen to me reading this here.
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