Photo Credit: Fabrizio Verrecchia,

Written by Julia Armet, Founder of
April 10, 2020

This is dedicated to the friends, coaches, and Outliers in the room . . . Quid nomen tuum est?

My name’s Julia. (Latin root: Julius, as in the great leader we know as Caesar, who . . . well, you know the story.)

It’s my pleasure to share a “Play” on words, that’s mine to tell and yours to hear:

Part III: The Outlier’s Present

For the audio version of this article, click here. 

I don’t think I ever really learned how to handle comparison, how to be okay as the socially-ostracized Outlier, how to manage the inner conflict that combusts in self-destruction. 

Today, I know what is socially acceptable to say (as it’s exactly what I’d want to hear when my gifts are called into question):

“It’s understandable you’d be upset.” 

“You worked hard, too.”

“You take pride in your hard work.”

“I’m sure a lot of us feel frustrated by comparison.”

Validation and acknowledgment are essential in classrooms regulated by performance–especially for those on opposite extremes of the curve. 

School’s perhaps the first place where we learn what it feels like to fail, and what it feels like to succeed. 

We learn to put metrics, numbers, and labels on a pedestal as early as grade school. 

As I write this 16 years later, I’m uncertain how much mental and emotional support the public education system offers in mastering mindset. 

Instead, students learn to master excellence in ranking high, all for the recognition of the institutions that have accepted them for generations past and for generations to come.

The Illusion of Proving Your Success

It all comes back to the illusion that proving your success equals your social acceptance.

That illusion was overthrown in the moment where Latin class reacted to my defense with disdain.

What was I supposed to do now?

Apologize . . . for what?

Practice humility . . . but is that genuine?

Appease the majority . . . and be liked?

Accept the reality . . . and never belong.

The Outlier’s Dilemma isn’t new; in fact, this thought process is the reality for many gifted children (and grown adults, too).

Though many drive their success to show the world they’re good enough, this isn’t the Outlier.

Instead, the Outlier doesn’t typically show the world anything at all.

The Outlier often refrains from freely sharing their gifts and may even cope by blending into the curve.

The Outlier fears social rejection and puts in effort to be liked, compromising their own potential to protect others and preserve themselves.

The Outlier may learn to accept social ostracism, living in the reality that everyone hates you, creating lots of room for the self-defeating prophecy.

The Outlier can learn to change, as it is but a label, just an identity that you can choose to occupy.

And I confess: The Outlier is me on this very day that I write to you. I can be honest enough to say:

I like being the Outlier.

I like being different.

I like surprising you.

I like standing out. 

I like winning.

. . . And then what?

Here I am, looking in the mirror to better understand my attachment to this external status and release its shame on the Ides of March.

To give myself the freedom to be okay with being all of the Outlier, its shine and its shadow. 

It’s here in the candlelight, behind the scenes, when all is safe and sound, where you, the Outlier, have permission to create selflessly.

I love creating for others.

I love inventing spontaneously. 

I love holding space for the world.

I love sharing all my gifts. 

I love validating your genius.

I dream of a world where we all recognize and own the potential within ourselves. To unleash creative energy without the fear of the critic, because there’s magic in our creative energy, a magic that shines through that makes everyone you impact feel alive . . .

This is the Outlier’s Gift: to share in the wealth of creative genius, to share everything with the world, even when the world has yet to make space for your gifts.

Play It Forward

To the friends, coaches, and Outliers still listening . . .

You have permission to celebrate your gifts, to own your successes, to occupy space, and to share your creative genius. 

I want you to know that you can be both everything that you are–on the outside and the inside–accepted unconditionally.

With Humility,

Photo Credit: Fabrizio Verrecchia,


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