The Fearless Fish out of Water
by Robin Fisher Roffer
Published by Wiley
213 pages, 2009
Everyone's felt out of place at some point -- be they female, minority, a geek, a non-conformist, or just boldly individual. Fearless Fish shows readers how to stay connected while maintaining a unique identity, how to fit in without blending in, how to transform exclusion and have an impact. There is tremendous opportunity for influence when you're on the edge -- you're already noticed! Fearless Fish demonstrates how to make the most out of being noticed as you gain the tools for becoming more of who you are, instead of trying to change who you are. It helps readers use the tools they already have to find everything they want in their careers -- without sacrificing their souls.
Being different is good. That's what I believe. But like many of us growing up, I was told "children should be seen and not heard," "don't rock the boat," and "try to fit in." Today, the messages are more inclusive. We live in the "Gilded Age of Children," where kids play in a Disney-walled garden that encourages all kinds of flowering and frowns on any kind of prejudice.
As a result, there's a battle cry for authenticity in action, being your own person, and expressing your true self. From building Facebook pages, to programming our DVRs, to customizing the ringtones on our cell phones -- individualizing is everywhere. People want to do it their way; and yet that driving force to fit in with the group is still strong. As a result, the ones that look, think, or act in a unique way are sometimes not invited to meetings, ignored at gatherings, denied plum projects, and passed up for promotions. The irony is that almost all of us at one point or another have felt outside the circle or out of step with everyone else.
You may be someone who attracts attention. Maybe you're a college graduate in your first job. Maybe you're the only woman of color on the board. Maybe you have a strong accent; you're from a different country and you're trying to make it in a foreign culture. Maybe your colleagues are on their BlackBerrys, while you still have a Day Planner and think that "IM" is missing an apostrophe. You're different from everyone. You're a fish out of water.
I know what it's like. I've been a fish out of water my whole life. And I know what it can do for you. My aim in writing this book is to show people who are outside the circle -- because of gender, race, age, style, attitude, or any other factor -- how to make it to the top; not in spite of their differences, but because of them. Being different is a powerful position if you know how to use it.
Back in my corporate days, I remember Monday mornings and that 9 o'clock meeting looming as I'd hurry to work. I couldn't be one minute late -- I was a woman and one of the youngest directors in the company. My boss knew what I could do -- he hired me, he had confidence -- but I'd always wonder if I belonged there. Everyone seemed to be in the swim except me.
Chances are during your career you've been the only person like you in a room. You've felt left out, undervalued, unheard, ineffective, or misunderstood. You were a fish out of water; maybe because of your values, maybe because of your circumstances. You might be someone who has worked hard for everything you have and you're surrounded by co-workers who have had it all handed to them. Or maybe you're the creative maverick bumping into walls in a corporate environment. Whatever the case, you feel outside the circle because you're different. How do you get inside when your differences keep you on the periphery?
As a fish out of water myself, I know that the very things that set you apart can take you exactly where you want to be. When you focus on the positive aspects of your differentness, instead of trying to blend -- your success has the potential to be unbounded. This book will show you how to live your truth and have it all.
The following seven career-tested steps will give you the motivation and inspiration to turn your uniqueness into an advantage. You'll learn to recognize the strengths that your differences give you and understand the secrets for positioning them to work for you. The personal stories of other Fearless Fish out of water -- taken from interviews I have conducted with many successful people in business, law, entertainment, and other industries -- will show the way, along with the easy-to-follow guidelines and engaging exercises I provide in each step.
This book will give hope to those who wonder if they can make it when they're not like everyone else. It will show you that you can be exactly who you are, live more deeply, and have a more rewarding career -- all at the same time. That's one of the secrets to success for the fish out of water: Be more of who you are. When you give the world an authentic representation of the real you, you'll find acceptance and even admiration. You'll be a part of it all -- without losing yourself.
Standing out can be lonely. It has its challenges. But it's also an exceptional opportunity. Bob Dylan, Oprah, and Steve Jobs are just a few well-known personalities who were definitely not voted "most popular" in their graduating classes. But they never let others' views of them hold them back.
This book is the permission slip to celebrate your unique style. Here are the insider secrets to doing it your way and living big! | April 2009
Copyright © 2009 Robin Fisher-Roffer
Robin Fisher Roffer, author of The Fearless Fish Out of Water: How To Succeed When You're The Only One Like You, is CEO of Big Fish Marketing, one of the entertainment industry's preeminent brand marketing and digital advertising agen-cies, with clients such as A&E, Bravo, CNN, Comedy Central, FX, MTV, NBC Universal, and Sony Pictures.
The above is an excerpt from the book The Fearless Fish Out of Water: How To Succeed When You're The Only One Like You by Robin Fisher-Roffer. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.