It’s natural to worry about being “the only” in any setting. Whether you’re the only woman, person of color, or the only person with less than 10 years of experience in the room, your identities are powerful and can be used to change how someone else views the world. There are three things that you can do when using the identities that people may say are a weakness as an opportunity:
Provide a Fresh Perspective
Being in an environment where the same events, ideas, and practices have circulated over 10+ years can be frustrating. But, you cannot expect change to happen without exposure to other perspectives. When you are the only in the room, you are able to challenge those around you to think beyond the past.
Prove Them Wrong
Being the only does not mean that you have to prove yourself to anyone. But, why not use the opportunity to represent yourself and those who share some of your characteristics well? For example, if someone you work with states that women thrive on gossip in the workplace, be the person who uplifts even the most difficult co-worker to be around. All humans have biases, most of which are based on personal experiences. It is powerful that the actions of one person can change another’s perception of an entire group, so use your ability to influence wisely.
The difficult conversations that you have as the only are an opportunity to grow. Ask questions to understand how another person thinks and reflect on your feelings. When you expect to change another person’s view, you may end up with a fresh perspective.
Use your platform as the only well,