For a few years now, I've talked around the idea of Undeniable Gifts: the idea that every single one of us has something unique, special, and just for us to share in this world. But I've never given it a post unto itself.
That special something...
You've heard it before: "the world needs that special gift that only you have" is a phrase with which Marie Forleo ends nearly every one of her MarieTV webisodes. It's the je ne sais pas that makes you who you are and me who I am. It's the USP of any personal brand.
And yet, so many of us grapple with the idea that we could possibly have anything uniquely ours to share with the world.
Perhaps. But I doubt it. It might be accurate to say the concept of nearly everything has been thought of at some point, but even that is a stretch in my mind.
100 years ago none of today's high tech gadgetry even existed. Who's to say what the next 100 years will hold?
"But Lisa, I'm not a tech star..."
I've heard it a lot - in my travels and with my clients:
"I'm a coach. There are lots of coaches in the world. I'm nothing special."
"I'm a direct seller. There are 1.5 million other people in this company selling exactly the same thing. How can I figure out what makes me special?"
"I've heard you say I've got something special about me, but what? I make great cookies, but that doesn't connect to my work!"
"I write books. There are thousands of books published every day. EVERY. DAY."
I get it. I'm not on the cutting edge of tech. I'm not likely to get major funding from an angel investor. Sure, I built one of the first-ever e-commerce sites back in the 1990's, but compared to the speed-of-light cloud computing of today, it was a veritable dinosaur. That wasn't my genius zone anyway. I learned a LOT of stuff in my journey (still do) that adds to my arsenal of awesomeness, but it doesn't really get at the thing I'm most gifted at. In fact, if anything, it just might get in the way of my genius work, because I've gotten so good at so many things.
Oh, yes, I hear you saying that I sing, dance, act, coach and train, too. I even wrote a book. And I do all that stuff pretty well. I've invested thousands of hours in those things to get good at them. I wrote for decades before I launched The Secret Watch - and even then I had help (thanks Andrea!)
There are lots of people in the world better at those things than me. I know that. Every time I sit in my studio with Des, and see his amazing awesomeness (and he's just barely in his 20's), I know there are people in the world WAY more talented than me - at a lot of things.
I had to learn that stuff (or I thought I did), in order to function. Not in order to be awesome. I was born awesome - and so were you, believe it or not.
Does that mean you should just give up, call it quits and forget about your dreams?
That's easier, sure... for a time anyway. Eventually though, for most of us, we end up dusting off the Masterpiece and returning it to it later in life.
But part of owning our dreams comes from owning our Undeniable Gifts. Recognizing that we can't be whatever we want to be. Instead, we have to be who we are called to be - even if that means honing our gifts a bit more.
That's hard, because it means *gulp* we might "fail". We might not be "good" at something.
Which, I hope you see, is really just a judgment call that we're ill-equipped to make.
And yes, I know that I still "fail" at holding this distinction from time to time as well. I'm certainly not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.
As I've said before:
When “life happens” we buy into the illusion of control that Master Shifu so ardently defends and Master Oogway tenderly releases. I’ve maintained for a very long time that we are all born with what I call “undeniable gifts” – our personal arsenal of strengths that are meant to move us through this world with confidence toward success. When our gifts aren’t suited to the demands that life throws in our face at any given moment, we dig in, start learning and “adapting” ourselves away from our strengths (instead of reaching out to get help from someone else who IS skilled at the issue we face).
We see our limitations as a deficiency on our part – something we’ve got to fix – instead of celebrating our innate, interdependent design.
If you won't embrace your gifts, who will?
It's the old CPR Analogy again. If you're sitting there, completely equipped to help the person next to you, who is dying for your gift/skill, are you going to deny them? Sometimes - especially if they don't know you're equipped to help - they don't even know how to ask! If you don't embrace the gifts you have, how will anyone else know about them? How can the world (not the globe, but rather your world, the world that matters to you) experience them?
We need you to share your gifts.
You've heard me and countless other thought leaders say it: You matter. Your gifts matter. You don't need to be perfect, you don't need to "have it all together" either. In fact, I'm learning that sometimes, showing up messy is the best thing you can do.
What is it they say about turning your mess into your message? Yeah. That. What's the mess you're dealing with? What's the message, the jewel, the gift springing out of that? What's the thing that comes to you effortlessly, like breathing? I've found they're often two sides of the same coin. The dark and the light.
I'm listening. I'm here. I believe in you, and like so many other people, I need you to share your gifts with your world.
[Editor's note: this is a re-post from January 2012. Part 4 of a series of year-end posts I write each year. When we migrated to the new site design, all the old posts were archived. Here are posts 1, 2 and 3] Every year, I pick a word to frame my development. I also pick a "theme song" to underscore my […]
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