In today’s world, few people embrace being known for being “weird”. Originally, however, being weird simply meant you were uniquely yourself.
Our modern word, “weird”, has its roots in Norse language and mythology and evolved into the Old English word, “wyrd”, referring to what one would grow into or become. In the ancient world, the Norse told the story of the mythological Norns (akin to the 3 Fates from Ancient Greece). The Norns determined each human’s fate and destiny at birth, so each person had their own fate or wyrd – the qualities, characteristics, perspective, and conditions of life that made them unique. (See my previous posts on “fate” and “destiny”.)
A related idea to your wyrd is your “genius”. Originally, the Latin word “genius”, referred to your guardian spirit. The Greeks and Romans believed each person had such a “spirit” or energy inside that provided an inner guidance that would encourage you to express your unique genius — with a fate or wyrd like no other.
This timeless perspective teaches that you are meant to be uniquely yourself and only you really know who that is. However, in modern times, it’s tough to listen to and give credence to your inner wyrd and genius. With well-meaning friends and families and a modern culture that continually telegraphs all the ways you should be or ought to be, it can be a lonely job connecting and listening to your inner wyrd and genius. But to feel that sense of fulfillment that most people seek, make it your main job to connect with what’s inside you — that inner wyrd-ness — that makes you more of who you really are. For, there is also the idea, that if you don’t express the uniqueness that only you can add to the world, you will never become truly yourself. And ultimately, the world will be deprived of your wyrd genius.
So, as you set out to be the best and most authentic leader you can be, it’s a good thing to improve your basic leadership skills. But at the center of it all, you can only become the leader you’re meant to be, when you bring your unique genius and your wyrd-ness to the forefront. I say, “Go forth and be weird!”
WANT TO USE THIS IN YOUR NEWSLETTER, BLOG OR WEBSITE? You can, as long as you include this information with it: Beth Strathman works with executives and senior leaders to create team environments that optimize ownership, accountability, learning, and results. Learn more: bethstrathman.com.