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The Scoop on Being Vanilla

The Scoop on Being Vanilla

CC photo courtesy of kim siciliano salem

Sharlyn Lauby | HR Bartender

July 01, 2010

I love vanilla. My favorite milkshake is vanilla. Fave scent? Yep, vanilla. Every morning, vanilla creamer in my coffee.

But I realize many people have the perception that vanilla is a bad thing. Vanilla is plain and boring. So I thought for all those people out there who might be thinking the last thing I want to be known as is vanilla … here are a few tidbits of info I found via Wikipedia:

  • Vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron. This feeds right into Mr. Bartender’s jokes about how expensive I am … but seriously, it’s because growing vanilla is so labor intensive. It’s derived from orchids and hand pollinated.

  • Madagascar produces the vast majority of the world’s vanilla bean population. That means a really small region has a significant impact on the cost and production of this spice.

  • Vanilla is widely used in commercial baking and by the cosmetics industry to make perfume. It’s also described as a remedy for fevers.

  • Despite its delicate growing cycle and expense, vanilla is one of those essential spices we use on a regular basis. Why? Well, I might be biased … but I say it’s because it’s good.

  • Top selling ice cream flavor? Vanilla. 29% of Americans prefer vanilla —compared with only 8.9% for chocolate.

Alright, so what does all this have to do with you or the people around you? Well, I think the vanilla label is cast when there’s a perception of a person being predictable. And while it might sound very sexy to have a dash of unpredictability; it’s also just as important to have the dependability associated with being predictable.

Being that “plain vanilla” go-to person for my department or company has served me very well over the years. I’m someone people can count on. And my clients and friends know that. I might not give you the answer you want to hear, but you get my best answer —each and every time.

References to vanilla aside, this is really about being who you are. And being comfortable with it. We all have our strengths, weaknesses, peeves, passions and idiosyncrasies. Just embrace them. Because when you do, others will embrace them too. Then they’ll be more comfortable knowing exactly what to expect from you.

So when someone tells me that I’m vanilla, I take it as a compliment.

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