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Have you ever noticed how older workers tend to follow traditional dress patterns and routines? If you ask them about why they take those actions, you’ll get some version of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

That might work for them, but the younger generations aren’t willing to settle. Instead of dressing in a drab suit or dress for a 9-to-5 at a job that sucks the life out of your soul, there’s a desire to express themselves.

The only problem with that preference is that it stops the individual from fitting in with the others around them.

You don’t need to conform to be socially accepted, but it does help to strike a balance between individualism and fitting in with a group. Here are some steps to take so that you can make that happen in your life.

How to Express Yourself Without Offending Others

1. Encourage others to be themselves.

You can flip this dynamic with the older workers on its head. Instead of having you conform to their ways, encouraging them to express themselves. Whether it is a Hawaiian shirt, loud golf pants, or a different version of their usual suit, a workplace feels more like home when people can let themselves loose.

2. Be willing to carve your own path.

If you go against the flow of what everyone else is doing, you might need to walk alone for a while. It can be scary to do something that falls outside of your comfort zone! If you remain consistent, you’ll find people who will step up to walk with you.

3. Talk about your differences.

Instead of taking the approach that you’re right and they are wrong, think about scheduling a time to talk about your differences. Older workers have a lot of wisdom to share, and they can also benefit from your fresh perspective.

4. Find a way for your personality to fit.

Teams, friend groups, and families are all like jigsaw puzzles. You’ll find the right place to fit in eventually. If you’re patient with the process, you’ll finally get to a place where you want to be.

How do you manage the situations where it feels like you’re the odd person out?

Scott Larson