“Because, Rachel, we’ve always done it this way.” This was the response I received recently after asking why an organization wouldn’t consider a new useful and efficient idea.

“If we let one person do it, then we’d have to let everyone do it.”

This rebuttal created instant relief in my mind: Awesome! If everyone was allowed to do this, they would save so much time!

But the door was shut and dead-bolted on the idea, and the-way-we-always-do-things prevailed.

At first I experienced frustration (a win-win isn’t going to be considered), then sadness (you’re pushing the envelope again, Rach, and not making any friends), then an insight (omg! This has been happening your whole life!).

I began to wonder how many square pegs, like me, have been trying to fit into round holes.

What is a square peg?

  • Square pegs were born seeing rules as helpful and useful but also adjustable.
  • They believe it’s important to challenge the status quo–not out of indignation, but curiosity.
  • They think outside-the-box and love new ideas.
  • Square pegs see possibilities and aren’t beholden to only one way–they’re eclectic.
  • They can experience misunderstanding and can also feel rejected because their ideas push and stretch comfort zones.

When you see things differently it can feel as if you don’t belong, like there is something wrong with you, like if you speak up, rejection will be the inevitable outcome. How many innovative and extraordinary ideas were rejected because the world just wasn’t ready for them yet?

Furthermore, I wonder how many people have been rejected on behalf of an idea?

Let’s consider school redesign. Many square pegs will begin to surface. You’ll recognize them because their ideas might appear “out there,” or they’ll be passionate about the opportunity to change something that has been in a box for so long. They’ll stretch you and might make you uncomfortable. If you’re unsure if you’ve got some square peg in you, you’ll experience excitement and be energized by what could be and synergy with others who are optimistic about change becomes the only way you want to move forward.

The message: keep being square, pegs…or pyramid shaped, octagon-ish, or rhombus-like.

If you don’t contribute to the growth and enlightenment of the world around you, you’re already introducing rejection before allowing anyone else to.

If you know you’re holding back part of yourself out of fear of not fitting in, let loose. You don’t have to fit. Forge your own path, keep thinking for yourself, and don’t hold anything against round pegs.

It’s not pegs that need adjusted, it’s the round hole.

Rachel is a certified coach…and a square peg. Learn more here.

Email merachelt@essdack.org

INL Websitewww.inspiredleadershipwithin.com

Facebook Communitywww.facebook.com/leadershipbeginswithin

Twitter:  @RachelThalmann @TamaraKonrade @MikeSanders19 @tjfellers

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