10 Apr Stop resisting your natural talents
We tend to dismiss the things that come easily to us. There seems to be nobility in the phrase “Nothing worth having is easy.” That singular phrase has done such a disservice to humanity, in my view, and is holding so many people back from appreciating their innate talents.
For years I dismissed the fact that I was good at seeing things from a 40,000-foot view; that I could spot that one broken cog in the factory and fix it. You see, I was a creative person. Operations was not for me. Plus, it had no spotlight.
However, when I finally accepted my abilities — largely due to my then-business partner pointing out that my impatience with others stemmed from assuming everyone had the same ones — I was able to incorporate them into my unique repertoire of skills. That has led me to working with US State Department and the United Nations, along with helping entrepreneurs build their companies and craft their leadership.
Here’s another thing: A coach was something I absolutely DID NOT want to be. I saw so many life coaches, gurus and what-nots out there, and didn’t want to be part of the anonymous herd. However, upon closer examination, I realized that coaching and empowering others is the one thing that comes most naturally to me — even more than the operations thing. I’m one of those people friends (and sometimes strangers) come to for advice.
Once I accepted that empowerment is part of my calling, I just owned all of it. I owned I’m a Renaissance woman, and I’m good at a bunch of different things that at first glance, might seem completely disparate. But I’ve found a way to put them all together. Now I get to go into companies like Special Ops and help them to grow, transition and transform their cultures.
Now let’s talk about you.
Are you ready to take a good look at yourself and get clear on this once and for all? Excellent. You’ll need about 20 minutes, a pen and paper to do this little exercise.
We’re looking at the snapshot in time that is today, in this very moment when I’m talking to you. Let’s look at how you define yourself:
- Is it through your work?
- Through your accomplishments?
- Or maybe your children’s accomplishments?
However you define you, I acknowledge you for creating the person you are today — because you are an incredible human being. Let’s face it, you’ve put a lot of effort into getting where you are right now, and none of it was the wrong path, the right path, or anything other than what it is. Stay with facts, not judgment.
Now let’s take things a step further. Grab your pen and paper.
I want you to think about the things that have always come naturally to you. If you take a look at your childhood, when there was something you loved to do, and it was effortless. Can you remember what that was? Maybe there was more than one thing. Perhaps you were good at math, or you loved to run and climb. Maybe you loved cooking or painting. Take about a minute to jot down as many things as you can remember.
Now look at the notes you jotted down, and think about those talents again. See if there was ever a point at which someone invalidated them.
- Did a teacher ever tell you you weren’t good at something?
- Did a classmate tell you that because you were a (something), you couldn’t do it?
- Did your family push you toward a career that didn’t light you up inside?
Take another minute to write down those thoughts. Get present to the feelings you have about the experience, and jot those down, too. And take a deep breath, because it happened, it’s over, and now we can set you free.
Now let’s float.
Let’s add another dimension to this. Let’s float up in a hot air balloon to the 40,000-foot view, where you can look down at the scope of your life in its entirety, from the things that you loved to do when you were young to what you’re doing now. Notice how you’re feeling about that. If you have any sense of resistance, regret or disappointment, I invite you to put those aside, because we’re about to have some fun.
From 40,000 feet, look at what you’re doing today as a career, as a passion, as a mother, or whatever you happen to be doing with your life.
Now imagine what would happen if you incorporated your natural talents into what you are currently doing.
What do you see? Again, if you find yourself resisting ideas, just be with the resistance and set it aside, and imagine what could be. Be outlandish to get the ideas flowing. Take a few minutes to jot down everything that comes to mind — possibilities, feelings, thoughts — whatever is there, without judgment.
OK, put down your pen, and take another deep breath. Give all of that a few minutes to sink in. And don’t put this piece of paper away.
For the next few days, let all of that simmer and start taking responsibility for what comes next. Now that you know what is possible, you can’t not know it. So start thinking about what you’re going to do with the remaining days of your life.