It might seem completely off tangent for me to talk about Goths in a blog post. Don’t worry, I’ve not gone mad. Do read on.
There are actually 4 points about the gothic subculture in the U.K. (I have to specify my own country as I don’t know if the same applies beyond our rhelm), that I’m finding myself increasingly interested in as a way of aiding self-development and understanding social relations in general.
This blog follows 24 hours I spent in Whitby (on our beautiful east coast) over the last weekend of the school Easter holidays. Having just gotten back to sunny Sheffield after a 100+ miles drive, I was struck with a sense of satisfaction having been surrounded by some of the most grounded, integrity-riddled and interesting people I’ve ever met.
A hundred or so Goths and non-Goths had descended on the small seaside town of Whitby for the bi-annual Whitby Goth Weekend, held in April and October. I normally wouldn’t travel to Whitby just for the Goth weekend but I’ve been before and been wowed by some of the wonderful costume creations and absolute dedication of the Goths to make the weekends successfully attract thousands of sight-seers and supporters. I’d never really stuck around to chat to the Goths or see how they achieved this embracing subculture.
We attended on this occasion however, for a football match…yes, I’m not making this up. Twice a year, the Whitby Gothic FC play a local bunch of blokes, Stokomotive FC at Whitby Town Football Club’s ground, all for a charitable cause.
Neither team are professional (despite having some surprising good players), nor do either team play together more than twice a year for the Whitby Goth Weekends. The Goths play in black, obviously. Stokomotive FC play in white and red. All funds raised for the game and in the auction and raffle go towards the chosen charity. I thought it was a pretty good reason to travel up t’north.
Now you’ve got a bit of a background about the event and Whitby, here’s the 4 lessons that we can all learn from this non-conformist group of individuals who wow us all with their costumes, their stories and their attitudes to life:
1. Embrace your creative side
It’s easier said than done. Allowing your creativeness to be expressed through what you wear is something that the Goths have been well-known for. Only at WGW could you see a man in a predator mask and full predator dreadlocks called John with a day job in insurance.
The dullness of the daily routine can have a detrimental impact on our emotional and mental wellbeing. Getting creative can spark inspirational thoughts, feelings and can develop motivation for new ventures in even the most conformed mind. Creativeness is great for business. If you’re a creative business owner with lots of new ideas for marketing and development, it keeps customers interested and your staff inspired.
2. Don’t take life too seriously
Slightly linked to the first point but an important one nevertheless. All too often in business, we meet serious professionals who perhaps are successful but are not so relaxing to be around. It appeared to me that despite their efforts in dressing for the occasion, the Goths could laugh at themselves and enjoy the smiles and friendly remarks of other visitors to Whitby. The important factor here is humility – not taking yourself too seriously and thus, creating an atmosphere that is welcoming and encouraging to be involved in.
3. Don’t judge people based on how they look
It’s a flaw for many of us. Some of the wealthiest, most successful people across the U.K. and beyond have their chill days. For some, those chill days or those days of pure enjoyment come when they can dress differently, no one knows who they are and they are enjoying a very different attention. Some of the Goths I met had well-paid, highly respectable jobs or were business owners with possibly success beyond what many of us could dream of. Would we walk down the street and assume that if we saw a Goth? No.
Some of the most interesting people in business and outside of it are the slightly alternative ones. Richard Branson never got anywhere by following the norm.
4. There is more than one side to everyone you meet
We take people, generally, as mentioned above, at face value. If our first impression is to dislike someone because of the way they dress, the way they behave, the way they sound, what are we missing? That Goth with the black eyeliner and the tattoos could be the answer to your business worries; the great artist that you’ve been looking for, the outstanding social worker, the scientist who’s developing a cure for cancer. We just never know. Everyone has more than one side, unless they try so hard to conform to what they think others want that they’re scared to allow any individualism.
Business is best practiced when we look for strengths in our employees, colleagues or associates, not weaknesses. Everyone has another side, other abilities, other skills and knowledge that they may be afraid to share or develop because of the pressure to conform.
Life would be boring if we didn’t have people who were willing to push boundaries, to take chances, to not conform. The same goes for business and for marketing. Differences, creativeness and enjoying life should be embraced by anyone entering into business.
In Goths we trust and are United.