When I joined the Product Management team at Marketo four months ago, I walked into my first Product Management meeting somewhat petrified.
I had no idea what the hell anyone was talking about and I felt like a total outsider. My product, the online Marketo Community, was very different from other Marketo products and I was by far the weirdest person in the room with no technical background, no years of PM experience, and loud clothing. I played in afrobeat and bossa nova bands and I wasn’t obsessed with TechCrunch or the latest Silicon Valley acquisition. I wondered if I was destined to always be the odd duck and it made me feel sad and excluded.
This week, I went into our weekly meeting and the craziest thing happened. I walked into the room feeling totally at ease. When I spoke, I didn’t mumble. I asked questions whenever I felt like it. I even felt like people genuinely cared about what I had to say.
I found my voice! It felt amazing.
I’m still the weird one. I get looks for wearing red pants and sometimes people think my jokes aren’t funny. But it hasn’t stopped me from gaining a better understanding of what we’re building and how we’re building things. It hasn’t prevented me from being a strong leader in the company and from establishing trusting relationships with people I interact with.
So, to all you weirdos out there I say…
Don’t worry about fitting in. Don’t give up what makes you different. Accept it, love it, and others will love it too.