Have you ever just wanted to feel normal? What does normal even mean? To most of us it means not standing out in a negative way. This week I am going to discuss why it’s ok not to be normal. In fact, it is better to be abnormal.
In order to stand out from the crowd, we must be abnormal. Normal is boring anyway. Just stop and think of how boring and mundane life would be if everyone subscribed to the so-called “normal.” To some, the concept of doing what’s right is what’s expected. I think the “normal” has become to do what is easy. This week I am going to discuss ways that we can be abnormal, ways in which we can do small things to separate from the pack. Little things make a big difference.
If you had to take your pick between having Doberman or Poodle for a dog, which would you choose? Your choice reflects your personality. I have a beagle mix, and he is awesome; so neither a Doberman nor Poodle would be my first choice. However, I would choose a Doberman over a Poodle. A Doberman is always alert; they are always prepared for whatever may come. Poodles are just for show. Please don’t be offended if you have a Poodle, I’m sure Fluffy is fantastic, but they’re yappers. Poodles are all bark and no bite. If you want to stand out, you should be more like a Doberman. I’m not saying to be like the few bad ones out there and be overly aggressive, but be prepared for the moment. As I mentioned earlier, Dobermans are always prepared.
If you want to be abnormal, always carry a notebook with you. A few weeks ago I went to a seminar and was one of only a dozen or so people out of a hundred to have a notebook. Those who did not bring anything to take notes on missed a great opportunity to take something back to their school. You never know when you are going to hear something inspiring or a have a new idea. How many times have you said, “Oh, I’ll write that down as soon as I get home,” only to forget about it by the time you’re home? Another quality of Dobermans is that they give 100% effort, 100% of the time. Do not be a person that only gives 80%, 100% of the time. Do not save your best for the game, test, presentation, or big meeting. Life doesn’t work that way. You cannot just show up when the lights are on and expect great things to happen. You have to put in the effort all the time, even when no one else is watching and you’re by yourself. Lastly, do not be a selective participant. A yapping poodle only shows their teeth and growls. The only time they will take action is when they know they are the dominant one. A Doberman goes for it; they do not wait for the perfect opportunity. In life we cannot afford to be a selective participant. There are too many good things that can come from just trying. Too often we let our fear of failure overwhelm us. If we have an attitude that we will take something positive from every experience and learn from them; success is inevitable.
A second quality to being abnormal is to be a communicator. No matter what your role is in the classroom, on the team, or in the workplace, you must know what you are supposed to communicate. The world needs more leaders. Leaders know how to communicate with others. Being a teacher and coach, I have to communicate well on a daily basis. If I do not, my students and athletes do not know what is expected. If they do not know what is expected then they will not perform well. Good communicators know that they must continually improve. I need to improve in my communication at home because my wife is always telling me she can’t understand me because I mumble too much. I’ve pretty much done that my whole life, most likely because I sounded like a 20-year-old when I was ten. A curse and a blessing I suppose. I must improve on my communication. Along with being a good communicator, we must be well-connected. Being connected means taking an active interest in other members of your team; it also involves showing genuine concern for the individual. As a coach I recommend having sit down meetings with your players and just talk about life. Take the opportunity to know your players away from the game. It goes back to the old saying, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Lastly, we have to be honest when communicating. If we are honest it helps to put problems in the past. If we are dishonest and lie in our communications, the problems then go into the future. Success is not possible if we are continually dealing with issues from the past.
A final way to be abnormal is to be the first one to serve. As a society we need to move from the mindset of being the first to get served to being the first one to serve others. I’ve referenced it before but please read [amazon-product text=”The Go Giver” type=”text”]159184200X[/amazon-product] by Bob Burg. It’s one of the best books I’ve read. I’m sure I am not alone when I say this, but there are a lot of times where I think selfishly. It’s a flaw of mine, one that I try to work on improving daily. Having a child has helped with that. I want to be the best dad possible, and in order to do that, I must put the needs of my son before my own. One cannot truly live a perfect day unless they do something nice for someone else with no expectation of getting anything in return.
Oftentimes we believe that in order to accomplish things and to get people to follow us that we must be bossy. The opposite is true: we can’t appear to have a dominant personality. It turns people off and will make them hesitant to do anything that is asked of them. Think about it, do you want to work for someone who is constantly giving orders and being overbearing? I remember when I was younger and I thought that in order to be a great leader that one had to have a powerful, dominant personality. This is what is shown to us over and over in television and film. Over time and through many experiences I know that a servant’s approach is the best approach to leadership. It’s hard to put others first before our own wants and needs. That is why it is abnormal to do so. The older I get the more responsible I get; that’s just the way it goes in life. If I want to be effective as a teacher and coach, I cannot shift my responsibility. I must take on responsibility and accept the challenges that come with it. We all must become more responsible. Do not wait for others to do things, be the one to do it!
Society is full of people who are normal. They often do not change because change is uncomfortable. I challenge you to not accept what is normal. Be more like a Doberman, be a great communicator, and be a servant first. Be abnormal.
Thanks for reading. Have a great week and be an RGP!