I often have a complex issue, a complex issue being the thought that I stand out like a sore thumb amongst people who are too cool for life! Last year, the bank that I work for was part of a initiative that helped shed a little light on the import and export of goods in our city. As one would expect, this was big news, there were elected officials, businessmen and businesswomen, media, and others in attendance.
In Corporate America, the thought is that everyone should look and think the same. This is "our" team so everyone needs to wear this tie, with this jacket, or have this elevator speech ready for this situation, and this person will speak on behalf of a group because their title reads this; in these instances, I get lost and wonder if anyone dares to take note of the guy who doesn't look like, talk like, or walk like so many who are sheep out in the pasture that are just happy to be there.
When I arrived at this function, I was met by some of my banking colleagues who carried titles much fancier than mine. The gentleman who gave the acceptance speech on behalf of our bank, stumbled and faltered his way through his time on the microphone and the three to four minute speech, he gave, felt more like a lifetime. I mean you remember when the teacher would call on that one person in class who you knew would lose your interest on a topic the very minute they hit a sentence break, yeah he was the one driving home the point on behalf of us all (places toothpicks in eyelids).
Anyway, I stood there in total disbelief and satisfaction at the same time. How can so many struggle at the simplest thing, being prepared?
Fast forward a few days, I was on a plane heading from our city and into Los Angeles, where I'd jump on a flight and venture off to New York City for credit training. As we began to board the plane, I bumped into a VP of Wells Fargo's Community Development, Wells Fargo Bank being the bank I previously worked for, and the first thing off of his lips was, "I opened the paper, yesterday, and I saw you standing there next to the mayor, next to a few people actually, and I thought how do we lose talent like this. Just remember to continue to grow and continue to stand out even in silence because there'll come a time when your silence will be heard."
I've heard that ghosts move in silence, perhaps I'll be that stand-out ghost amongst the "living".