Coloring Outside the Lines

My church shared some interesting statistics this weekend that made me wonder about something.  At age 5, 98% of all children have vivid imaginations, are considered unique and they definitely color outside the box.  Yet by the time they reach the age of 25, only 2% of these “kids” think differently than the rest of their peers.

How do we start losing our originality? Why do we start dressing like everyone else, getting the same kind of jobs, cars, and everything in between?  Are we so desperate to fit in that we start all thinking alike?  Guess we never took a class on the value of being unique and different than the rest of the maddening crowd. 

Each of us is an individual person, brought into this world by a unique set of parents, as truly different as night and day.  My dad was not a party guy and yet he didn’t know a stranger at the gas pump.  My mom was and is The Queen of Hospitality.  She would have had parties every week if my dad had agreed, and yet they made their differences disappear and they loved each other until the day my dad passed away, after 40 short years of marriage.  

I came along as an only child, wanting to fit in with the crowd and yet never quite succeeding.  Maybe that’s why I decided to pave a different path than most of my friends.  I wasn’t satisfied with jobs that paid women less than men for the same job, so I pushed my bosses for equal or better pay.  But I didn’t just expect them to pay it out of guilt.  They paid my higher salary because of my job performance and what I contributed to their company.

Once I hit the glass ceiling, I stopped being an employee, started my own consulting business and established my own value along the way.  I was comfortable working in a mostly man’s world, not conforming to how most consultants ran their business at that time and I continue to be that way even today. 

Our value isn’t based on minimum wage, or the “normal” salary range randomly established by businesses.  Our value is how we perceive ourselves and how we demonstrate to the world around us why we are worth more than what they might want to pay.  

Learn to color outside the box, be confident in what your true worth is and if your employer doesn’t agree with you, move on to where you can be part of that 2% “out of the box” group.

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