In recent times I have been reflecting on the idea of “ridiculous”.
As I came back from my sabbatical and into work again, as I began to really lean into what I wanted to do with my life and my business, I began to get worried that others might think I was being “ridiculous”.
After all – coaching clients on public speaking is an “easy” sell – potential clients immediately see the advantage when it is linked to a promotion, or a new job, or being more confident in their role. On the other hand – helping busy professionals to get their lives back – well, potential clients may see that as self-indulgent – and basing an entire business on that might seem “ridiculous” to some.
As I spotted that thought, I began to hear myself use that word of myself over and over again. “Don’t be so ridiculous – no one will buy these new services”; “Don’t be ridiculous – you can’t write that”; “It’s ridiculous of you to feel like that”.
And then I remembered – being ridiculous is one of my superpowers. I have always thought outside the box, questioned the status quo, not been afraid of looking daft by asking a question. Why would it be any different to tap into that side of me now?
And yet, for a big part of my career, I felt that I had to hide some of the quirky parts of me so that I would fit in better.
In a world that often values conformity and fitting in, embracing our unique quirks and idiosyncrasies can be difficult. We may feel pressure to hide our true selves in order to fit in with what everyone around us expects, or we may worry that others will judge us for being different. However, embracing our ridiculous and being ourselves is actually the key to living a happy and fulfilling life.
I spent a lot of my career trying to fit in with others and to do what was expected of a tax consultant. (Spoiler alert, that involved wearing less pink, and not whistling on the way to the coffee machine – true story, that was the instruction I received during one of my performance reviews).
In many cases, fitting in with what is expected was a survival strategy to ensure that I could continue in the job, get the next promotion, stay safe.
The problem was – the more that I tried to fit in, and do what was expected, the more disconnected I became with my true self. My own self-esteem wore away, and I lost sight of myself. I didn’t realise that there was a way to play the game, fit in, and not lose myself.
A big part of my journey back after the burnouts has been to find myself again and start to embrace those parts of me that make me me. And part of what makes me me, is this new aspect of my business. And if some people think it’s ridiculous – that’s ok. What is important is that the folk who need me and what I have to offer, find me.
What about for you? Are there parts of you that you feel you need to hide in order to be able to fit in? I would love to hear about it – just hit reply and let me know.
Sending you much love from Belfast as always, and remember – you got this!