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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

Embrace Who You Are and Do it Your Way [Wise Wednesdays]

Is it OK to be different?

If you’ve been reading WW for a while you’ll guess that my short answer is… Yes!

(If you’re new – a warm welcome to Wise Wednesdays! You might enjoy this past Wise Wednesday on “Why your weirdness is a gift”.)

When you’re on a path of liberation and therefore transformation (towards more fulfilment in your work, relationships and life) you’re going to go against the grain for a while.

Call it being Original – like the Adam Grant book Originals, but also like the Sia song Original:

I won't waste my life being typical I'm gonna be original, even when it's difficult

I won't change myself when they tell me, "No"

Artists are original

Visionaries are original

Liberational leaders are original

Anyone who sees possibilities beyond the current status quo will be ‘different’ aka original, at least for a while.

- Think of the absent-minded, eccentric physicist who worked on his unconventional ideas after office hours and transformed our understanding of time and space – good old Albert Einstein.

- What about the Zen guy obsessed with minimalism and elegance who wouldn’t compromise on design – rest in peace Steve Jobs.

- Ever heard of Mary Temple Grandin? She documented her autism alongside her scientific work for the more human treatment of animals in books including Thinking in Pictures. She revolutionised livestock practices as well as contributed to neurodivergence advocacy.

- In a talk show world dominated by white men with journalistic toughness, Oprah Winfrey became the first female black billionaire by bringing her ‘plainspoken curiosity, humour and empathy’ grounded in her journey of healing from childhood trauma.

Don't be afraid to add what is uniquely yours especially if it's the result of overcoming a challenge.

Legend in the making: My client Karen found that conventional strategy tools didn’t work for her in her role as government advisor on preserving Natural Capital. So I invited her to use her artistic skills and personal metaphors we had developed to come up with a strategy tool of her own. She combined Mindmaps with watercolours and pastels to create her own leadership Vision Statement. She uses it to ground and stay focused in meetings. As a scientists, her creative skills were not always encouraged. But when she’s shared her creative mapping skill with scientists and corporate teams, eyes light up because they connect to the strategy in a different way. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s much more inspiring to look at than a conventional vision statement, framework or spreadsheet. The impact of bringing more of her Zone of Genius has been felt by colleagues and the impact is rippling.

Artwork: Vision Statement by Karen Kramer Wilson (shared with permission)

Whatever works for you is what works for you.

Whatever you feel is different, weird or irrelevant about you is likely what could make your contribution unique, original and needed. It doesn’t mean you have to go it alone but it might mean making peace with the solitude of originality. It’s from the silence that your brilliance emerges.

The world is desperate for ‘innovation’ (the Corporate Capture version of creativity) to solve our significant global challenges. Whatever you’re downplaying or even hiding is likely part of the solution.

Have a great week,


Presence · Power · Possibility

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