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  • Writer's pictureCarole Stizza

What is Normal?

Updated: May 31, 2021

It depends on how you define normal. And how you define normal is simply a testament to what you find stable, predictable, comforting, rewarding, and fun. Using the term normal as an adjective, people understand that you want things to get back to your version of normal. Beware, it often becomes how you choose to refer to the way you prefer people think and feel too. Be mindful you don’t use ‘normal’ as a verb. Your normal is most likely not everyone else’s normal.

If we are unique, what is really normal? That’s right. Normal is actually as unique as we are. Normal isn’t average. Normal isn’t a category of people or activities that everyone and every culture understands. Normal is simply what you want to rely on consistently, so you don’t have to keep making a ton of decisions and choices every day, every hour, in every way, on every subject.

Normalizing helps us think. Normalizing allows us to not count every decision we make. It also helps us define what is common between all the uniqueness we present to each other. For example: it is normal to need to eat, sleep, interact with others in some way, breath, drink water, have children, and go to the bathroom because we are human. How we do all that can vary but there is a normalcy to it too – because we need to do it consistently – or we die. How we think has some normalcy to it, too. Catch this quick video from Conscience Leadership to get a sense of how we normally think:

Our thinking is unique. How we think is also layered with so much uniqueness, this is where normalcy doesn’t exist – and yet we try to force it to exist because we initially think that everyone thinks just like us. But none of us think like one another. Assessments, social science, psychology, and psychiatry are all designed to better understand how we think, in all our unique ways, to help us all find happiness and productivity faster, easier, and with less stress. For many of us, just realizing that we are unique helps us find our own happiness in understanding what sets us apart.

Normal is unique. What sets us apart is exactly how we think differently than one another. The fact that we have used the term ‘normal’ to suggest how we should act, and think has led us astray in many ways. We are a society that manifests messaging about fitting in to belong, be worthy, be admired by others, and look like each other. We now have the highest rate of anxiety in our youth because valuing how they ‘should’ be like someone else is actually the opposite of what we should be messaging. The way we think makes us unique. So why not celebrate what sets us all apart in our creativity? The way we choose to present ourselves to the world, the way we love, the way we work best, the way we interpret information and contribute back is what allows us all to be our happiest.

The best that is in us is our DIVERSITY. This is, if we can also feel accepted and celebrated for it. This is where the term ‘normal’ becomes a negative tool. “Just be normal!” means I don’t accept who you are right now. This will get you nowhere, fast! Coaching executives and emerging leaders means I coach people who are brave enough to step into what sets them apart. They must rise above the average and be able to go after what they know they are capable of and often this flies in the face of what others may claim “is normal”.

For successful people, ‘Normal’ = Being Unique. The faster we celebrate each person’s unique contributions, talents, perspectives, and gifts – the faster we all succeed together. To find your own version of ‘normal’ you need to get clear on what sets you apart so that you can be recognized and rewarded for being your best self. To explore if coaching can help you get there, I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions. Let’s all make the new normal together!

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