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Remember those word puzzles we used to do when we were kids? They’d give you a list of items like “Apple … Orange … Chair … Banana.” And then ask, “Which one of these is not like the others?”

It’s pretty obvious the chair is the one that doesn’t fit into the fruit bowl, isn’t it?

Here’s the thing. I always identified with that chair. I didn’t fit into the fruit bowl either.

The sad part is that I believed that was a bad thing. If only I could be cherries, instead of a chair … then I could belong with the apple, orange, and banana.

Not just as a child, but well into adulthood, I often felt like a misfit. And just as often, I felt sad about being not quite like the others.

Maybe you can relate? There’s a lot to be said for fitting in, and those of us who don’t, exactly, can wind up wondering what’s wrong with us.

Turns out, the best thing you can do is not be like the others.

No matter how your seventh-grade-self felt, fitting in is not all it’s cracked up to be. As adults, and especially as business people, we’re way better off standing out than fitting in.

So, I don’t need to worry about being a chair instead of cherries.

I need to figure out exactly what kind of chair I am.

A utilitarian, gets-the-job-done kitchen table chair? A plush, purple, overstuffed  swivel chair? An ergonomically sound, techno-chic desk chair … with a vibrating back? There are a lot of possibilities, aren’t there?

With all those possibilities, why would I want to be a piece of fruit?

The truth is, it’s better to be different.

Think about it. Don’t you know dozens of people who do the same sort of work you do? If you’re lucky, you can think of just as many ways that they do it differently than you do.

Being different is the key to being not just appropriate for a position, or suitable for a project, or even interesting at a meeting, but instead being fascinating.

And who wouldn’t want to be fascinating?

Marketing expert Sally Hogshead developed the Fascination Advantage system along with an assessment that tells us how the world sees us at our best. Because when we’re clear on that, we make a much stronger impression and have more influence on clients, colleagues, and others.

More than a million people have taken the Fascinate® Test now. And they’re applying their advantages to grow their businesses, win promotions, and develop new markets. It’s amazing how much we can accomplish when we let go of the idea that we ought to fit into that fruit bowl.

You’re probably familiar with some personality assessments – DISC, Myers-Briggs, the Strength-Finder. They’re all interesting. Maybe like you, I’ve done them all.

High D, high I.  ENFT. Woo, Communication, Relator, Adaptability, Ideation. If you’re an assessment fan, you recognize those results and can tell me about your own. Along with all those quizzes you answered in Cosmo.

The Fascination Advantage is different.

It’s less about understanding yourself and more about understanding how the world sees you.

Because once we know that, we have a path to put our natural advantages to use so we can stand out from all those others who do similar work.

Not that their way is wrong, mind you. It’s fine for them. This is about finding the way that’s exactly right for you, that sets you apart, that lets you be your best.

If that sounds polarizing, it’s meant to. To succeed in today’s world, we have to let go of trying to appeal to everyone. Instead, we zero in on fascinating the people who are just right for us. Who are naturally attracted to the way we go about our work, and everything else.

I’ve been using the Fascinate® Test to help speakers identify what makes them shine in front of an audience … so they can do more of it.

Teams take the test and discover how to make the most of each individual’s contribution. When everyone is operating at their highest and best, the whole team becomes more productive. The team can identify potential pitfalls … and avoid them.

Ready to Fascinate?

You can take the Fascinate® Test to find out what your top advantages are, which one might be a challenge for you, and how to put it all to use.

And if you’d like some help assessing your results and planning how you’ll put them to use, shoot me an email and we’ll set up a coaching session for you.

Wouldn’t it be great to know what people love about you? What draws them to you? And who are the right ones for you?