For some strange reason unbeknown to me, my parents named me Elgeé. Complete with the – é which I can only assume was to add a sense of sophistication. My name has no official meaning; and to add insult to injury, it is filled with unnecessary “E’s” that serve little purpose other than to make my name seem more meaningful.
A few years into my life, a certain company decided to rebrand from Lucky Goldstar to LG and their slogan, “LG – the face of the future”, became my welcome greeting among friends, family and frenemies alike. There was nothing wrong with their slogan, in fact, it was rather brilliant. Yet, I disliked being associated with it because it drew unnecessary attention to me as an insecure laaitie (little boy) trying to find my way through school, glasses, and friendships.
Wanting to not be associated with the brand which made me the butt of jokes; I embarked on a campaign to find a suitable nickname for myself. Yet nothing would quite stick, until around the age of 14 when a friend nicknamed me “Allycat”, which eventually caught on. I spent hours carving my new nickname on benches, printing it on belongings and I even went as far as designing a logo for myself. The name eventually gained traction. Until LG – the company later changed their slogan to Life’s Good and thus started my new introductory chant in social gatherings.
It was only around the age of 17 years old that I grew comfortable enough to accept my name and the fact that it had no meaning that I really noticed a sharp increase in my self-esteem and confidence. Instead of fighting against the Life’s Good jokes, I initiated them. In this, I learned a valuable lesson, one which would improve my overall self-esteem and confidence for years to come. (More on this lesson in my book)
Accepting my name became one of the biggest most influential decisions I have ever made. For when I made the conscious decision to embrace my name and all its familiarity; introducing myself became fun. Having people recognize and remember me became more of a problem as I struggled to remember where I met them. My confidence took off and walking into a crowded room became exciting for me as I looked forward to introducing myself. This, in turn, allowed me to get on with the tasks at hand and not compete to be noticed or stand out. My once curse of a name later became one of my greatest assets.
Flaws, shortcomings, and weaknesses will only remain negative and harmful if and when you allow it to be. Embracing your flaws and creatively finding ways to make them work for you instead of against you may very well be the difference maker in your life, career, and journey.