The spooky season is upon us, and we’re all hyper-attuned to things that go bump in the night. We all love a bit of a scare, right? It turns out that’s only when it comes to things like witches, ghouls, and creepy clowns hanging out in stormwater drains. (Okay, maybe not that last one.) Other fears we prefer to deal with the healthy way: by stuffing them deep down inside us and avoiding dealing with them, well, ever. Like the 75% of us who are afraid of public speaking and the 61% of us who are worried about standing out at work.
That’s right. An HBR study of 3000 employees found that the majority felt pressure to fit in, cover up, or hide who they were to keep management happy. But those kinds of worries are bad for your sense of self along with your professional growth – and they can be scary for your company’s bottom line. An organization full of “yes” people isn’t exactly going to rank high on a list of the world’s most innovative brands.
Here’s why standing out is nothing to be afraid of and why now is the best time of year to give it a try.
Break Boundaries and Creepy Clowns are a Legit Fear
Okay, so if you take your life lessons from creepy clowns, Grimm fairy-tales, and horror movies, trying new things is bad, bad, bad. But in the workplace, the worst most of us have to deal with is overexposure to fluorescent lights. Look, trying new things can lead to awkward moments, sure. But often, our fears are rooted in nothing more than a sense of perfectionism. What’s the worst that can go wrong when you’re going out on a creative limb or trying to solve a problem in a new and innovative way?
In contrast, here are some of the pluses of daring to stand out:
- Confidence begets confidence. The more you get out there, the more you’ll shine.
- You’ll give ’em something to look at. Trying new things makes you interesting – and a leader.
- You’ll redefine your limits. Do you really know your limits, or do you just think you do?
- You’ll get a creativity boost. Creative muscles grow with use. The more you work them, the more creative you’ll be.
- You’ll garner more opportunities. When people peg you as a risk-taker and an innovator, you’ll see opportunities come your way.
So you might risk looking or sounding a bit silly. But that won’t last. The benefits of pushing those boundaries, though, will carry you way past Halloween.
How to Overcome The Dread of Being Original
If your go-to Halloween costume is a sheet ghost and you always default to “truth” instead of “dare,” now’s the time to mix it up. All Hallows’ Eve is still a couple of weeks away, so you’ve got time to work on overcoming your fear of standing out.
- Identify those fears. Write down or work through exactly what’s scaring you and where that fear comes from. Is it rational? Or are you worried for no reason?
- Reframe your perspective. Most of our fears stem from what other people think of us. But are those people really thinking the thoughts you’re applying to them, or are you just projecting? Most of us are so caught up in our own worlds that we don’t even notice what others are doing.
- Think of the upside. Being original has a ton of positives: awareness, recognition, opportunity, and more. Think of what you might accomplish as a result of going out on a limb.
- Take baby steps. Start small. Speak up when you usually wouldn’t—volunteer for something new. Try to offer a solution or idea during meetings.
- Practice, practice, practice! The more you do it, the easier it gets. Stick with it, and before you know it, you’ll be standing out with all the cool kids.
Don’t Let Your Insecurities Haunt You.
Now’s the time to get comfortable with standing out from the crowd. Choose a freaky-deeky costume as your reward for psyching yourself up – not out – to beat the drum of your originality. You’ll soon realize that putting yourself out there isn’t so spooky after all!
Ready to stand out in all the right ways? StellaPop is here to help your business – and its employees – put their best (monster) foot forward. Drop us a line, and we’ll help you face your fear of being different!