Are You Fitting In Or Belonging?

Recently, I found  myself in a situation where I was selected to join a team of people that are incredibly talented and, from my perspective, all a step above where I currently stand in comparison. I felt inadequate and out of place. My interests, hobbies, communication style, and way of thinking seemed to be vastly different than that of my peers and combined with my quiet nature, I was struggling to fit in.

I was built with a mind that craves change and growth. Every situation is a learning experience for me. However, being blessed with this gift does not discount my being human. So after a team meeting, I returned home and felt the weight of the situation hit me like a ton of bricks. I was worn down and anxious. Thoughts of unworthiness entered my mind and every insecurity I had ever crossed my mind whispered in my ear. The story developing in my head was one that I didn’t want to hear the ending of.

I knew that running away from the situation was not an option because there was a lesson to be learned and facing it head on was the only way I would be able to grow. I determined that my feeling of inadequacy was rooted in not fitting in. This discovery led me to a Google search for information on how to fit in.

This search lead me back to an old mentor, Brene Brown. I had read her book The gifts of Imperfection about a year ago and absolutely loved it! The article I found triggered a reminder of the book’s foundational principle; Stop trying to fit in, aim to belong instead.

“Fitting in is becoming who you think you need to be, to be accepted. Belonging is being your authentic self and knowing no matter what happens, you belong to you.” – Brene Brown

This was just the reminder I needed to understand that worthiness and belonging are within my control. There is a reason I was picked to join the team, there is a reason these people came into my life, there is a reason I am who I am, and the only question left to answer was, “Do I like who I am and am I willing to be my authentic self at all times?” I have determined that belonging gives the opportunity to add value right where you are. With that in mind I was ready to start doing more of what I believe in and less of what everyone else expects me to do. That change has made all the difference.

In your business, is your branding trying to fit in or is it belonging? Is it belonging in the market with its own personality and gusto or is it hanging in the background fitting in with the rest of the industry? Live your life with an authentic purpose and make sure our brand does the same.