Embracing Your Difference

Published November 26, 2019


CallingLeading Yourself

It’s no secret we struggle with differences, both individually and organizationally. The pull toward sameness is powerful. We often find great comfort and security in blending in.

When we diffuse difference, we tend to hide out in sameness where it feels safer.

But ultimately, the promises of sameness are empty.

Sameness limits our growth and causes us to:

  • Operate from fear
  • Cling to the familiar
  • Stay where we are
  • Design our lives based on trends and acceptance

When we, as leaders, fail to embrace our differences, we limit our influence and live in the mediocrity of sameness.

When we, as leaders, fail to embrace our differences, we limit our influence and live in the mediocrity of sameness.

After spending 20 years in a career where this tension was ever-present, I know firsthand this challenging pull toward uniformity.

To the outside world, I was prosperous in my life and career. I experienced all of the trappings of success, recognition and fame. However, I felt pressure to embrace sameness, follow one specific and identical pathway that everyone else traveled along and participate in intense “group think.”

I got caught up in the comparison game that ran rampant in the culture. I felt the constant undercurrent of fear. I didn’t feel free to challenge norms and operate from the creativity and innovation that were my natural gifting.

Internally, it suffocated me.

After 20 years, I ultimately arrived at a place where I hardly recognized myself anymore. I had become someone I didn’t know or want to be, operating from misaligned values, making sacrifices that made no sense and accepting “group think” mindsets that contradicted my belief system.

Becoming unrecognizable to myself was a wake-up call that I desperately needed.

 Although it was difficult to do so, I began to pivot, finding my true voice and true self. This process was liberating and catalytic to my growth. I also attempted to create change in the organizational culture, but I made little traction.

In the end, my choice to embrace my difference resulted in an exit from that company and a necessary career change.

When we embrace the differences we find, we can then engage in the possibilities for growth.

 Embracing my difference was difficult and required me to leave a lot of “success” behind. But through the process, I discovered the greater challenge lies in being willing to accept and take action on what I learned during that discovery process.

When we embrace the differences we find, we can then engage in the possibilities for growth. It’s quite a journey to get to the place where we can fully accept ourselves—strengths and weaknesses, gifts and faults, many successes and even more failures.

Stepping forward into differences requires courage and clarity.

Here are 5 basic strategies to intentionally embrace the differences God has purposefully provided:

1. Recognize where you’re perpetuating sameness. What can you change today—in mindset or action—that will lead you to embrace differences in yourself and others more?

2. Identify the invitation that difference provides. What doors could this opportunity open for you right now?

3. Reframe your perspective about differences. Make a list of what sets you apart and ways you can consistently position your differences as assets instead of as weaknesses.

4. Find specific needs you’re capable of addressing because of your uniqueness.

5. Step out and do something new that honors your differences and blesses others. Create a new service, offer a new product or minister in a special way.

The joy of arriving at a more grace-filled approach with yourself and others is key to maximizing your influence. Stepping into this space will allow you to position differences as assets instead of liabilities and will help you maximize your influence.

About the Author
Amie Gamboian headshot

Amie Gamboian

Founder/Executive Leadership Coach

Who You Are Leadership Coaching and Consulting

Amie Gamboian is the founder of Who You Are℠ Leadership Coaching and Consulting in Omaha. She is widely known for her passion for championing leadership excellence and for being a perspective shaper, strategist, change agent and gifted communicator. Amie formerly provided coaching and consulting services nationally and internationally in one of the world’s premier direct selling companies. During her 20-year tenure she led her organization of over 1,000 to retail nearly $30 million in product and created leadership curriculum for over 12,000 leaders. Amie’s community involvement includes serving as Chair of OmahaLeaders.com, City Movement Strategist for The Global Leadership Summit, Primary leader of Legacy Builders, and Faculty member of Lifegate University.