"Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn't require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are."― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection.
We declare that real estate is a relationship business, and we crave to be seen as part of a larger group. For many less-experienced agents, it seems the only way to make it in this business is by fitting in and becoming part of the "in-crowd."
But what if there's another way? What if we focus on belonging instead of trying to fit in?
We often think of belonging as "fitting in," but Belonging has much more to do with being who you are than it does with trying to please others.
What Is Fitting In?
Changing yourself is what fitting in is about. It means playing by the rules of conformity and downplaying any unique aspects of your personality or beliefs so that you can blend in or feel accepted. Fitting in is about making yourself small so that others won't notice how different you are—even if deep down inside, you know there's nothing wrong with standing out!
"After years of trying to fit in, I realized that blending in would not get me ahead. As a project manager and marketing professional in the hi-tech manufacturing industry—a profession predominantly held by men and for much of my corporate career, I felt like a square peg in the world of big business—so determined to fit in. But instead of conforming every time there were differences, I've learned how important it is for everyone involved, including me, to stand up for what we believe in making progress—and striving for success.
Refusing to be thwarted by the opposition, I pursued my ambitions boldly. Such actions caused some ruffles amongst colleagues and higher-ups alike- today's successes show that such determination was worthwhile!—Aura Alex."
What Is Belonging?
Belonging means feeling like we are part of something larger than ourselves, and it could be a community, an organization, or a cause we believe in. It is about understanding our place within something larger and feeling brave enough to stand up for what we believe in, even though it might differ from what others in our group believe.
Dr. Brené Brown defines belonging as "being part of something bigger but also having the courage to stand alone and to belong to yourself above all else." This definition implies that Belonging does not mean blending into the status quo; instead, it means being accepted for who you are and allowing yourself space. Connecting with people who share your values and ideals isn't just about those with the same aesthetic.
Why Do We Care?
Belonging allows us to be true to ourselves while connecting with others on an authentic level. We don't have to hide behind masks or pretend to be someone we're not; instead, we can embrace our differences and find a place where we feel accepted for who we are.
Fitting in only makes us feel isolated and disconnected from those around us because it forces us into uncomfortable situations where we're not genuine about our true selves. Furthermore, when we fit in, it becomes harder for us to speak up for what matters most because we fear ridicule from those around us who might disagree with our beliefs.
Belonging is far more beneficial than fitting in because it allows us to stay true to ourselves while connecting with others on a deeper level. We don't have to compromise who we are to find acceptance; instead, we can embrace our uniqueness and find comfort among those who appreciate what makes us different without disparaging others!
Being true to yourself isn't always easy, but it's essential to find a sense of belonging anywhere!
This post was inspired by Ray Henson, who commented on my last post on the January Challenge: Marketing Tips. Thank you for the inspiration, Ray. - Aura
Thank you for your read and comment, Wayne Martin. Yes, being true to yourself isn't always easy, but it's essential...You are living proof, sir!