Be yourself. It’s the message we tell our children. It’s the message we tell our siblings. It’s the message we tell our friends.
The business world tells us differently. Often we are expected to conform. To dress a certain way, to act a certain way, to speak a certain way.
I jokingly posted a photo in my instagram feed when I got a few pairs of floaty summer trousers to wear when I’m working in the cafe this summer. On the days where the temperature is a little above Scottish baltic, the combination of moving around, coffee machines, microwaves and the largest toaster I’ve ever known – we get a little hot and sticky! Floaty trousers are the way to go. I’ve realised how comfortable I am wearing them – back in the day I was known for my long skirts, my sarongs over big baggy jeans and bucket hats. When I went up to high school, my clip on hoop earrings, backpack covered in keyrings and messages about the Sea Turtle Protection Society got me the nickname from the S6s of ‘hippy girl’ behind my back (a friend told me about it years later). Actually, it’s probably a fairly accurate – if it weren’t for the fact that I’m a little attached to first world comforts.
As I get older, I find that I feel simultaneously more and less secure about who I am. In one sense I’ve embraced who I am and who I want to be – and I’ve stopped trying to be someone I’m not. I know what I’m good at, I know what I’m rubbish at, I know what I like and what I dislike. On the flip side, I also feel like I have defend who I am more as people question a 30-something university educated single woman who believes in God but isn’t doing online dating, who isn’t wearing a business suit and doesn’t buy fashion magazines or get excited by Clinique bonus time.
There’s nothing wrong with business suits, fashion magazines (well, actually there’s a lot wrong with many fashion mags, but that’s a different conversation), make up or online dating. It’s just not ‘me’.
The challenge I think is to be ourselves and not be ashamed of who we are. To realise that we are each unique, and the world needs our uniqueness for something – because altogether all our differences cover all the bases needed to make the world keep on going.
So. Remember. Everyone else is already taken.
And may I add – don’t be ashamed of who you are.