ARE YOU AS WEIRD AS AUSTIN?
I was most recently in Austin, Texas for two reasons. One, since I develop the personal brands of musicians and artists, I love Austin for its rich pool of fantastic and undeveloped/unbranded talent. They deserve a fantastic personal brand so their music can be heard and noticed far and wide! Two, I am also looking to open our Austin location to service our legal, financial and music clientele.
On this trip to Austin, I was firmly focused on the famous Austin phrase, “keep Austin weird”. I started to really explore what it means to be “weird”. The word, “weird”, like anything else, is extremely subjective. One man’s weird is another man’s normal.
I personally love Austin for being weird and wearing the “weird” brand so well. Everywhere you go, you see fantastic signs of weird. It’s irrelevant for me to list the activity I saw signaling “weird” because, as I said, weird is subjective. However, for example, walking down South Congress Street through the touristy/weird stores, I heard a man/tourist say, “this town is too weird for me, it makes me uncomfortable”.
That’s when it hit me- Austin wears “weird” as a badge of honor. In my opinion the city is saying, “we are proud to be different and stand out of the crowd”. People who live in Austin do so because it is great to live where you can be accepted for who you are, no matter what that may be. Everyone wants to be loved despite his or her faults and warts, etc.
However, most of society is so afraid of being different and unique, afraid to thus stand out and be heard and seen as who they really are and who they dream to be. Society calls people and situations who dare to be different and unique as “weird” because we are so afraid of the unknown. As the male Austin visitor said, it makes us uncomfortable.
Instead, we like to conform. As Brene’ Brown points out in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, when we compare ourselves to others, we tend to conform and compete. We compare to fit in and yet stand out, as odd as that seems. But as Brown found, none of it promotes self-acceptance, belonging or authenticity. None of it promotes a successful personal brand. The only successful and strong personal brand is one that is authentic and true to that person’s genuine being- and yes, that may be “weird” or different. At least, that’s my hope. As I always say, “if you are not quirky or weird, you are not dynamic and you are hard to brand”.
So stop and think to yourself:
– Do you spend all your energy and time focused on standing out by fitting in?
– Do you yearn to be different and outstanding, yet find yourself trying hard to blend in and be accepted? If so, what would happen if you tried to just be yourself and have joy in your life? I can tell you, that your personal brand would be much stronger and you would be happier and attract more people and opportunities to you.
So go out there and create an intentional personal brand that’s all YOU- warts and all! I promise you the worst that will happen is that you find yourself happier and your business and career growing for the better.
I’d love to HEAR FROM YOU: what are you doing to be unique and own your weirdness?