Live Your Difference. Love Your Sameness.

23rd Aug 2018

Earlier this week I was talking with a leader who said to me “I feel different to other people in my organisation. I don’t feel like I’m ‘one of them’. I’m committed, but it’s kind of uncomfortable.”

I simply said to him “that’s great!”

It’s your difference that defines you, not your sameness. As Brene Brown says, “the dark does not destroy the light. It defines it.” You define your leadership by how you’re different.

When you go against the grain, you define the edges. The edges of accepted practices. The edges of what’s possible. The edges of your own leadership. Your going against the grain is what sets you apart. It’s the place where changing the status quo starts.

And, of course, there’s a paradox.

You also define your leadership by how you connect with others. How you find common ground. How you’re similar. How you see and relate to the other.

If you’re too much like others, then you’ll meld into a soup of sameness, unidentifiable and bland. If you’re too different, you’ll be out in your own orbit. Identifiable for sure, but too weird to relate to.

People are comforted by similarity, and excited by difference.

If you want to make change happen, you need to master this paradox.

When you live your difference while loving your sameness, you’re on your way.


Photo: Digby Scott

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