I have found a consistent holdback with my coaching clients to be an inability to recognize, a tendency to downplay and a reluctance to acknowledge their own unique gifts. The reasons for the holdback is sometimes cultural and sometimes social. I learned from one of my Swedish Tele-Boot camp participants that in Scandinavian countries there is a set of cultural 'rules' called the Jante Law which all are expressions of variations on the general theme of "don't think you are anyone special". In Minnesota recently, I discovered the cultural phenom of being "Minnesota Nice", which lauds politeness, self-effacement and modesty. And certainly in much of North America, we were brought up to believe that modesty is a virtue and to promote or celebrate ones gifts was considered 'bragging', which was a negative thing that was frowned upon.
We know that the non-acknowledgement of ones gifts, talents and abilities keeps one playing small and that playing small shuts down ones possibilities in life. One of my vivacious, life-filled clients, Peggy, found herself, after a period of personal upheaval, habitually wearing muted coloured clothing that had the effect of blending her inconspicuously into the background. Peggy found through our coaching that she was dying to once again to step into her exuberant personality and put on her "Red Dress". We used that Red Dress as a symbol for stepping into who she really was, owning it, and celebrating it.
I want you all to consider blowing your cultural and social patterns out the window and strutting out in your own 'red dress'. It's time to let your light shine and stop hiding it under a bushel. It's time to bring your brilliance to the forefront and step into it fully. Think of the possibilities! Oh, it excites me so.
What, you say? "I have no brilliance"; "I am only average."
Let's get one thing straight. Everyone in this world is unique - your DNA, your particular set of life experiences, has created a YOU that is different than anyone else. Those differences, the unique YOU, is your signature brilliance. You will give your greatest contribution to the world when you figure out what your unique brilliance is and acknowledge the most "YOU" that you can.
The YOU Reflection
1/ What are the qualities about yourself that you love the most? (make a list - don't stop until you get at least 10-20) If you have trouble filling up your list, think of qualities, talents or abilities you have that others think are fantastic but that you downplay because they seem "easy" to you or so natural that you might tend to refer to them as "no big deal - that's just who I am." Think of what others appreciate about you. Think of a time when you did something that seemed effortless - what qualities of yours were at work then?
2/ Which of those qualities do you enjoy using, or exhibiting, or sharing when interacting with others? (circle or highlight them)
3/ On a scale of 1-10 (Ten being "always", One being "never", how often do you show up fully expressing those qualities?)
4/ What might happen if you shifted the number closer to 10? (write down 3 positive results)
You make the greatest contribution when your energies are focused on expanding, exhibiting and living your unique talents and abilities. By acknowledging and working from your strengths, you can become the best you can possibly be, and by achieving your peak potential you can contribute even more to the world. Playing small and downplaying your attributes serves absolutely no one. Playing to your strengths means you can give more. Living into your strengths brings you alignment, happiness and joy. When you are more you, you are able to give more of your best self to the world - your contribution becomes magnified. When you limit, or don't acknowledge or express your gifts, you are being selfish. You are holding back. You are denying the world the best of you.
I do a lot of work with groups and teams and I encourage each member of the group to consider that their greatest contribution will happen when they show up as the most of themselves they can possibly be. The differences of every individual in a collective are what make the group unique. Celebrating, valuing and encouraging the expression of the unique differences of each member is the key to the groups growth and success.
BE MORE YOU!
Wow, how simple is that ...for the greatest and easiest path to success, you simply need to be more of what you already are. Focus your energies on increasing your capacity in those areas in which you have natural ability. Be more YOU.
It's time to get passionate about yourself. It's time to step fully into your brilliance. It's time to put on your symbolic Red Dress and boldly step out into who you are. I can't wait!