To induce radical growth, a cultural shift is warranted. In a constrained organization’s professionals often feels restricted in their ability to induce the change that drives hyper-growth for an organization. To stay relevant and not tagged in the staleness of growth, one must be really good at questioning themselves and the environment they thrive in. It has been proven repeatedly that growth often happens after breaking the tough mold of comfort and stability.
Bonnell and Hansberger, author of Rare Breed has a lot to say about this topic through his book. Let’s dive in.
What does it mean to be a Rare Breed and why is it a more effective way to achieve your dreams?
A rare breed by definition means ‘unordinary among its kind.” What separates Rare Breeds from everyone else is one simple truth: while others may suppress their quirky, oddball, pain-in-the-ass qualities, Rare Breeds lean in to theirs. They celebrate them and let them off the leash, break the windows of conventional wisdom, and run like hooligans through the corridors of entrenched power. Rare Breeds succeed not despite who they are, but because of who they are. So we would argue it’s not a more effective way to achieve your dreams, it’s the only way to achieve your dreams.
What could backfire about taking a Rare Breed attitude too far and how can one avoid that?
The border between the light and dark sides of our nature is murky and indistinct, sometimes making it hard to tell which is which.
For Rare Breeds, the impulses that uplift can also undo. Set loose without morality or control, hot-blooded passion can lead to rage and recklessness. Charisma can spiral into manipulation and fraud. Obsessive perfectionism can lead to compulsive behaviors, endless work, burnout, and alienation. Rebels can lose sight of their cause and go on a rampage for the sake of sheer destruction.
The hazards of Rare Breed virtues are very real. But we can prevent them from sabotaging us if we learn how to use them to lead, create, inspire, and provoke positive change.
How is Tim Burton an example of a Rare Breed?
Most people might cloak their quirks in shame and start toeing the party line to get a new job, but Burton is the ultimate in Rare Breed extraordinaire because he saw getting fired as an opportunity to go full weirdo. After getting dumped by Disney, that freed him to bring to life a baroque fever dream of storytelling replete with creepy visuals, reanimated corpses, and the unsettling music of Danny Elfman. Burton’s bizarre universes are Exhibit A that weirdness isn’t just about personal style. It’s about the odd-angled, off-kilter world you create. World-building is Burton’s forté, and from Beetlejuice to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, his universes are aberrant psychedelic wonderlands where danger lurks like a carnival carousel spinning out of control. That, right there, is the secret power that being a Rare Breed can give you.
When was the first time you each realized you were a Rare Breed?
Sunny: I grew up poor and started breakdancing in the third grade as a way to escape. As a young, white girl, in the south, it wasn’t exactly accepted. My mom used to make me homemade lunches in middle school. I started trading them with the rich kids so I could wear their Nikes to breakdance after school. That’s when I knew I was different. It also crystalized for me as a young entrepreneur— after taking some hard punches in business, I went to my Dad to ask for his advice. He called me a “rare breed” and reassured me that even though I was different, different could mean great.
Ashleigh: It was probably in college when I made the decision to drop out of college and start Motto together with Sunny. Everyone told me I was crazy. But I knew school wasn’t for me. I knew sitting in a classroom wasn’t helping me realize my potential, so I took a leap of faith without even having a logical reason to believe it would even pay off.
Can one be a Rare Breed AND an introvert?
Yes absolutely! Being an outgoing extrovert does not make you a Rare Breed. Some Rare Breeds are quiet and shy, others are big and boisterous. Mark Zuckerberg is an introvert. JK Rowling is an introvert. Gandhi once said, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
The future of work means differently to each one of us: some see it as more technology and less human, some expect a more humanized space and some others imagine it to be a no-workplace world. In our journey to unwrap FutureofWork, Work2.org invites leaders from various industries to help our global community to understand what the posterity holds for workers, leaders and organizations. While our team is busy at bringing this fresh ideas directly to you, we would appreciate our community help in making it possible. If you like what you’ve read, we would appreciate if you could spread the word within your circles and let us know if anything you want us to bring into this #FutureOfWork conversation.