I was a pretty weird kid, ‘quirky’ you might say.
My siblings would probably agree that all things considered, we were a weird family.
One of my many nicknames was Linus because I never went anywhere without my blanket.
I didn’t suck my thumb like normal kids, no, I sucked the middle two fingers on my right hand!
My long, blonde, messy hair couldn’t be tamed.
Dresses were my clothing of choice, yet I was a total tomboy who lived up trees or in makeshift dens.
My knees were always scabbed.
When I wasn’t up a tree pretending I was either Robin Hood or Indiana Jones, my face was in a notebook writing stories.
As a teenager, the other girls were into makeup and the latest Boy Band, while I was into Irish folk music, I was a big fan of Clannad (now that’s quirky!).
I’d wear long tasselled skirts and crocheted jumpers.
I wrote appallingly self-indulgent poetry.
I ate zero veg until my 20’s and always wished I was ‘normal’.
Being called a weirdo was an insult, and an insult I was deserving of. It was easier to escape into my own bizarre little bubble.
I can’t pinpoint how, why or when my view changed – later in life I stopped caring about being called weird or worrying about what I thought people thought about me!
I realised that being quirky was an asset.
That’s why Q is for Quirky in my A to Z of Blogging.
Being Quirky Is An Asset
When you work for yourself, being different is definitely an asset.
If you look, sound and act like everyone else in the crowd, how will anyone ever notice you?
It’s OK to be yourself.
My Greatest Compliment in Business
I was at a networking event last year. A woman came up to me, flung her arms around me and said, “Amy, it’s so good to see you, how are you?”
I had one of those horrendous BLANK moments. Who was this woman? I hadn’t even recognised her!
All I could do was what any good Brit would do, I Kept Calm and Carried On; I made friendly small talk while my brain was doing overtime trying to place her.
Then she clutched her fingers to her face, “Oh, God,” she said, “I’m so sorry! We’ve never actually met before. I’ve just seen you on Social Media, read your blogs and I feel like I already know you!”
What Makes You Different?
There is a certain amount of raw nerve and trust involved in working for yourself.
The commonest fears people express when it comes to writing their own blogs are, how ‘personal’ they should be? How ‘vulnerable’ should they be? What should and shouldn’t they share about themselves?
My response to those questions is, “How authentic do you want to be on your blog?”
I’d like to share this great TED talk with you. It’s a short (under 5 mins), but inspiring one…
Bringing your whole self to work
A few quotes really resonated with me:
- One encouraging word from someone important to you…“Sometimes all it takes is one ally to make you feel comfortable.”
- Other people will open up… “Knowing this other side of me gave them permission to be more of themselves as well.”
What better way to really get to know your customers than by allowing them to really get to know you!
- The opposite effect… “I thought that openness and vulnerability would actually decrease my standing with my team. But it’s done the opposite.”
- More than one way to lead… “It’s about finding your strengths and finding ways to amplify them.”
- Wasted energies, it’s hard being something you are not, it’s exhausting… “Think of all the wasted energy spent pretending, wishing you were someone different.”
- Make it work for you… “There’s a big difference between adapting and disguising.”
I’m not nearly as flamboyant as Dan Clay, but I’ve been called ‘Wizzy-wig’ before (WYSIWYG = What You See Is What You Get).
Go on, try it!
Write what you really want to write, in the way you want to write it, and see what happens!