My wife is experimenting with vegetarian cooking. And tofu plays a major role in a lot of dishes. “The thing about tofu,” my wife said, “is that it tastes just like whatever you cook it with. If you cook it with celery, it will taste like celery, with rice, it will taste like rice, with mushrooms, with anything.”
And then, she said, “Don’t be like tofu. don’t just blend in.”
And she’s right. There’s a seemingly gravitational pull towards conformity that any society creates, whether the society is a business, a family or a cocktail party. While there are benefits to conformity, the costs are that we sometimes cover up our own uniqueness with the cloak of what we feel others want to see. Do that often enough and then you lose that unique essence that defines you.
And yet, in any group, uniqueness is critical if we are to grow and adapt to what confronts us. A community’s success, if not survival, is predicated on harnessing the unique talents and perspectives of it’s members and channeling them in a positive direction.
Think about who you are, and what unique skills, traits or ways of seeing the world you possess. Make sure you express those in your team, at the office, at home. You will always then be able to feel “you”, and we will all be stronger (and more interesting) because of it.