Have you ever felt different - like you don’t fit in at all?
I went to see the Bohemian Rhapsody movie recently. I was spellbound by the performances of the actors who were superb and portrayed Queen beautifully, doing them justice by bringing their characters and music to life.
Freddie’s courage was apparent from the start - he was brave and unafraid (or at least that’s what he portrayed).
He knew he was different, yet he embraced his uniqueness despite the judgment of others. The more he was judged, the more outrageous he seemed to be in behaviour and appearance. I loved the fact he was who he was, but also saddened by the judgments he endured. During the course of the film, it became evident that such genius led to great loneliness and anguish for him on a personal level.
His passion for his art and his obvious need to express himself, catapulted him (and Queen) into the creation of some of the most complex and historic hits the music industry has ever know.
Feeling different can be unsettling in a world that values sameness. By trying to fit in you can derail your confidence by demeaning yourself for your differences. I felt uncomfortable for most of my life, out of place somehow and not really understanding why no-one got me. Part of me refused to conform, and part of me wanted to fit it. Inadvertently, I became whatever the important people in my life wanted me to be. Having said that the deep-seated need to stick with being different probably saved me from following friends into experimenting with drugs. Sadly, many of them died, whilst others had prolonged self-inflicted misery through addiction, as well as inflicting pain and sorrow on family and friends.
I woke up one morning not knowing who the real me was. I knew without a doubt I had to figure out who and what I was about - to really understand and get comfortable with myself.
Whilst the journey of self-discovery was challenging and uncomfortable in so many ways, it was a relief to finally feel like I fit in my skin. With it came a quiet certainty and confidence. Doubts, fears, and other obstacles miraculously disappearing, and the change of perspective seemed to make life appear a whole lot easier. Resisting and forcing (my old way, which actually wasn’t my way but a learned behaviour) really made life hard work.
Queen refused to conform - they pushed the constraints of the music industry with the courage of their convictions. They had the confidence to do what they believed was right, even though other people didn’t agree or approve of their decisions.
Whilst I believe flexibility is a key element to business, sometimes it’s just not possible, especially if it goes against a core value. So it’s worth noting that bending over backwards to meet the requirements of clients, family or friends is not always the right thing to do.
As we know, building strong relationships is a fundamental skill for business growth and development. Queen embraced and grew strong connections with their fan base. They wrote music and lyrics to enable and empower their audience; inclusivity is, in my opinion, a must for innovation and better business performance. As was evident by the reaction of Queen fans whenever they performed live, and what guaranteed their success in the fickle and brutal music industry.
Societal conditioning and programming seem to support the notion that differences are wrong, I strongly disagree, differences are merely differences, neither right nor wrong. Why do things have to be deemed right or wrong? Why do we dislike it so much when we are disagreed with? What if we could embrace differences of opinion with respect and appreciation.
What if we could be exactly who we are meant to be, without judgment or criticism? Remember each of us is unique which is defined in the dictionary as being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.
So stop conforming, embrace your qualities and be true to yourself.