“That’s a career-limiting tie” was the first thing my boss told me as he began my six-month performance appraisal. He wasn’t joking. He then went on to list the reasons why I didn’t fit into the company and why I should look for a new job. No question about it: I was an unsuccessful misfit.
Two years later, I was working for the same company, at twice the salary, with a free car and apartment. I loved my work, and my employer loved me. “Those are great sox,” my boss remarked, as he began his review of my current project. He then went on to list all the positives about my work. I had gone from flopping to flying!
Remarkably, I was the same person. I hadn’t got myself an MBA, hadn’t worked on my “attention-to-detail” skills, and hadn’t changed my unique fashion sense. So what was the difference? Why was I a loser misfit in one job and a successful misfit in the next? How had I triumphed in one part of a company when I had failed in another?
The simple answer was that I turned my unique qualities—which some had found weaknesses—into my strengths. Just as a car is sold on its looks, fuel consumption, or GPS system, I began to sell myself on my “misfit” uniqueness. I finally understood that my innate skills, knowledge, and even my unusual behaviors were the keys to my success. What made me a misfit had the potential to make me a successful misfit.
What are successful misfits? Simply put, they are square pegs who find a way to fit into a round hole—without changing shape. They are people who have accepted that they are different from other people in their work environment, analyzed what those differences are, made decisions about which of those differences are marketable, and then gone out and sold those differences to the highest bidder.
Successful misfits use their quirkiness, eccentricities, and unconventional behavior to demonstrate that they can uniquely benefit employers, clients and customers. We can all celebrate being Unique. Unique U is the key to success.

Author's Bio: 

David Couper is an executive career coach, training and organizational design specialist, and writer who for the last twenty years has worked in Europe, Asia, and in the USA with major organizations including the BBC, Fuji Television, Sony, and Warner Bros.

He has coached writers, actors, producers and executives at all levels; developed large scale training and organizational development programs for leadership and employees; and written award-winning education and training courses. TelCon awarded his training program, about the impact of the Internet, “Best Program Produced by a Private Network in the USA”. He also won a national award for a 1000-person educational seminar he developed.

David has published seven books. His works on interpersonal skills, counseling in the workplace, and management issues (published by Connaught, Gower, HRD Press, Longman, Macmillan/Pearson Publishing, Oxford University Press) have been translated into Swedish, Polish, and Danish, and published in the UK and the USA.

David has a degree in Communication, a postgraduate qualification in education, is certified in a number of training technologies, and is pursuing a Masters in Psychology. He is a member of the American Society of Training and Development, Writers Guild and the British Academy of Film and Television, where he is on the Education Committee.

He has dual US/UK citizenship and speaks French and Japanese.