There’s been a lot of talk about the Christmas classic “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,” specifically about how he was bullied and how there are bad messages for kids in the movie.
But quite frankly, I think it is a powerful story that teaches us that many times, others don’t understand, support or appreciate what makes us different, unique and amazing. Their comments come from the constant pressure that we should all look, act and think alike, instead of discovering, developing and using our true abilities.
Think about it. Christmas was going to be canceled because of the bad winter storm, but Rudolph’s vibrant red nose was just the right amount of light to guide the sleigh.
Imagine if you hid your unique attributes — the things that you, for some reason, believe others won’t appreciate. What could come from sharing that with the world? How might your ownership of who you really are bring something remarkable to your world, your life and the people in it?
Prompted by watching Rudolph this year with my kids, I asked myself this question and held myself accountable to be honest. Turns out, my unique attribute that I often try to hide or tone down is my need to organize. People love to point out how organized I am (in both a loving and not-so-loving-or-appreciative way) and I realized I started to diminish it or even apologize for it. I stopped organizing family events, parties and outings. I didn’t want to be seen as being a micro-manager, obsessed about seeing things done a specific way, so I stepped away from it, convinced by the comments of others that something was wrong with me.
And you know what I realized? It made me miserable and it made others around me confused and unsettled. Being organized — and keeping things around me organized — is my red nose. People didn’t realize how much they needed my organization until it wasn’t there, or until a big event required a unique approach to managing every element. In fact, a family member once said, “Thank God you’re here! We can’t get this game started without someone to take charge.” And in a previous role, one of my managers referred to me as the person who “keeps the trains running on time.”
We each come equipped with great gifts and abilities that are part of who we are. Don’t cover the brightness of what makes you great, even if others don’t understand or support it. Go be you.
Take 5 minutes to ask yourself about your red nose. What is the one attribute that makes you uniquely you that you feel like you need to hide or diminish? Why? How different would you — and your world — be if you were truer to yourself and less concerned with what others think and say?
Consider reading Your Personal Board of Directors