YOU Overboard

Is it possible to be too much you?  Is it possible to embrace your uniqueness – your weirdness – to such an extent to where your repel instead of attact?

Extreme Unique Personalities

unique look on Jesus in GodspellIn High School, I had a friend who was definitely unique and definitely embraced his weirdness.  His appearance even caught your attention.  He had brillo-like hair, similar to the actor who played Jesus in the movie Godspell.  When he got on a roll, his eyes had this wide-open, almost wild look to them.  He was funny and made a point to do crazy things.  Campaigning for class president in our senior year, he drove his moped into the gym and around the floor and then parked it next to the stage so he could take the podium for his campaign speech.  The audience loved it and he was overwhelmingly elected class president.

Too extreme?

Depends on your circumstance.

In an audience of high school seniors, it was perfect.   Not so popular with the basketball coach since he just drove a vehicle around on his freshly refinished hardwood basketball court.

Art Grindle and his unique way of selling carsIn the Central Florida area, there used to be car dealer named Art Grindle.  He would air commercials on local television showing some of the cars he had on sale, he would show a poster with the price of the car on it, get excited, and the scream “I’ll cut the price in half!” while he enthusiastically tore the poster down the middle.  Sometimes he would jump up on the car or car roof and do the same thing.  He made that mistake one time with a convertible.  You guessed it, fell right through the roof!  The driver bailed out and ran and Art just stood there sticking out of the roof and exclaimed “Look!  There’s a hole in the roof!  I’ll cut the price in half!

Too weird? 

Well, in used car circles some use the mantra of “anything that moves metal”.  Art was eventually elected to our state senate and served there for ten years.  In preparation for that, he toned down his on-air antics a bit.  Whether that helped him or hurt him is hard to say.

When Unique is Too Unique

I think you gauge whether your weirdness is too much based on several factors.

  • Your audience
  • Your purpose
  • The circumstance

I have seen many who choose to be unique or just plain weird and take it to the extreme.  They go for the polar opposite for no other reason than to stand out and be seen as weird or extreme.  This is self-serving; it typically has no other viable purpose than to attract attention.  When the focus is on you instead of on what you do and perhaps the different way in which you do it, then it’s not serving your purpose of making you stand out from the crowd; instead it makes you a pariah.

I am in no way suggesting manipulating people by forcing behavior.  Of course, I think going to the extreme just to go to the extreme is a little manipulative as well.

The idea here is to simply recognize how you ARE different and instead of hiding it celebrating it.  You still have to provide something of value to your client and you still have to perform when the time comes.

What do you think?  Is it possible to be too weird?  How do you know when you’ve gone too far?