How Being Unconventional Can Advance Your Career
Would you ever wear red sneakers to the office? A Harvard Research study* found that dressing differently can sometimes help people get ahead. It also raises larger questions about how conformity affects our wellbeing. Did Zuckerberg come to mind? Steve Jobs? Kayne West, or Kim Kardashian?

Harvard researchers conducted a number of experiments to see if violating the dress code could make people seem more prestigious. It worked. Students assumed that a consultant who wore red shoes while teaching a business seminar probably charged higher fees and had more upscale clients.

Keep in mind that this is only effective if people think you are acting deliberately, and you are in a setting like an Ivy League school that suggests you have significant clout.

On the other hand, conformity is an issue that comes up everywhere you go. Consider how being a little unconventional could bring you more happiness and success.

Being Unconventional in General

    1. Think for yourself. To keep things running smoothly in the workplace or anywhere you interact with others, you may want to adapt your conduct but hold onto your beliefs. You can fill out lengthy forms for office supplies until others are ready to simplify the process.

    2. Celebrate diversity. The disadvantages of conformity can be minimized by being inclusive and respectful of others. Wish the best for people even if they make different choices than you.

    3. Take risks. Dare to innovate. Mistakes provide valuable learning opportunities. Be the first to try a new time management app or propose an unusual marketing approach.

    4. Practice active listening. You can have more confidence in your decisions when you take the time to understand the people around you. Pay attention to their needs and expectations.

    5. Try new things. Take a break from ordering the usual lunch special to try a new item on the menu. Ask the summer interns to make at least 3 recommendations on making the training process more effective.

    6. Question assumptions. Studies show that most people tend to think they conform less than they really do. Evaluate your true motives.

    7. Build support. As you advocate for changes, team up with like-minded people. Persuade others by showing them what they have to gain.

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Corinne Wyard
Corinne Wyard

As a life and executive coach, I am passionate about helping you break through what holds you back, getting you unstuck and amplifying what gets you jazzed, so you can live your life fully and be your best.