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When Being A Freak Becomes A Badge of Honor

When being a freak becomes a badge of honor(No, this isn’t turning into a book review blog – but I can’t resist this book! If you ever felt like you didn’t fit in or want inspiration to kick of the corporate world in favor of doing your own thing, READ THIS BOOK. Skip to the bottom if you just want a few ideas for how this book applies to PR.)

Nerds, geeks, introverts, anyone struggling to fit into society’s little cookie-cutter mold of “perfection” – not everyone is created equal.

A fantastic disruption in public perception is gathering steam like a box car headed up a steep hill. More and more, creative talents in our industry are going their own direction instead of choosing the traditional employee route, and even the most conservative companies are learning to flex if they want access to that talent.

People are also beginning to speak much more openly about how their inability to fit in has fueled their success. 

Chris Brogan - FreaksReleased just this morning, Chris Brogan’s new book is a wonderful read that helps transform a formerly negative label into a badge of honor. Being a bit of a freak myself, I enjoyed every single minute of this read, aptly named The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators

It’s my favorite business book so far this year. 

I was lucky enough to get a free advance copy of the book galley from Chris.

Not reading is like going without coffee or having internet go down. TORTURE. So thank you for feeding the voracious reading machine, Chris! (I’m still going to buy a hard copy to mark up, though.)

What was my a favorite book last year? The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller. What is it about? Multitasking is a myth and those who are the most successful DON’T DO IT. The difference is extreme focus.

Brogan’s book resonated with me because I also don’t fit into a corporate mold very well. I’m outspoken, opinionated and highly progressive: all three of which don’t fit in to most company cultures.

It’s only now, twenty years into my career, that these things are becoming assets instead of liabilities. They’ve fueled my love of constant learning and abhorrence of boredom, and are driving my success as a consultant. I take time to learn what many don’t, then try to share that learning with others in a faster, easier way.

In some ways, Brogan’s book targets those still struggling to find their path, and gives them permission to create their own road.

His premise is that business is all about belonging, where success is about combining your differences with business discipline. “Fitting in means shaving off your unique edges, hiding and masking what defines you, discarding any behaviors or appearances or images that prompt others to question you or push away from you.”

Amen to that!  Misfits, this book speaks directly to you (us!) and is vastly inspiring. If you need a quick boost of caffeine to get off your butt and make something happen, buy this book, read it tonight, then start creating change. I love this book 100% and think you will, too.

In fact, I’m going to go re-read it right now. I read it so fast that I’m positive I missed all kinds of FANTASTIC stuff. #absorbthegoodness

My three favorite quotes from Chris Brogan’s new book:

  1. Be willing to be dumb and wrong. The smartest people I know are ignorant. They shrug and smile and dig into what needs figuring out. They say “I have no idea” as fast as they can… then they set out to learn. Dumb can be cured. Stupid, however, is that problem where people have closed their mind off to any more learning. You can’t cure stupid.
  2. Develop a long view: our days must serve our weeks and our weeks must serve our larger goals. the easiest way to fail is to think in terms of the “day” as the standard unit of measurement. If you plan day to day, you’ll never do anything particularly big – because the “big” work of your plans usually requires more work than can fit into 24 hours.
  3. The corporate ladder is gone.  Somewhere along the line, a lot of people were trained to believe that there was this neat corporate ladder or simple progressions. But that’s not how it works. I’m not sure that’s how it EVER worked.

Fitting The Book Into Public Relations

Now for the good stuff… figuring out a few fun ways this book applies to our industry: PR.

Our role is shifting, and PR pros have an unprecedented ability to give audiences direct insight into corporate culture and what makes a company fascinating and lovable. Using content marketing and social media to share the freak within can be a huge win-win.

Since people do business with people, not companies, let that personality shine. Showcase it to your target audience, your customers and media alike. Think of it as sticky factor.

Set your inner storyteller free on behalf of you or your client/employer.

As a fellow freak (or the partner of one who hired you), there is a unique path to your success – or the current journey TO success – and you are likely to underestimate just how interesting it is to other people. 

That same freakiness that led to the creation of a business is deeply threaded throughout the company… The smaller the company, the stronger it is. Leverage it to win hearts and elicit emotion/connection. 

PR is the perfect tool to share the human interest side of that story. Write a book! Jazz up your “about us” page! Create an e-book sharing the struggle! Then promote the heck out of it.

What can you create that tells your story, and how can you leverage PR around that story to cast a wider net?




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