To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
In my life coaching business I talk to people all the time who don’t see the special value that they bring in just being themselves as an individual; instead of trying to fit into a mold. Every one of us has something unique to bring to the world and sometimes we get fearful because we focus on what we are not good at instead of thinking of all the skills and attributes that we do bring including our individuality.
An example of this would be an employee who is mismatched with their boss and constantly being told that what they do is incorrect. The fear begins to grip the employee because instead of focusing on their unique talents and unique way of doing things the boss is only focused on the fact that the employee does things differently. It might be that the employee’s way is every bit as good or possibly better; but because the boss is so set in their ways the boss won’t see it.
So what happens to the employee is that they begin to be gripped by the fear of being different and the skills or talents that they don’t have. This causes them to get into a negative space where they cannot operate at a higher level due to being limited by fear.
When I talk to people in this situation I remind them that they are a sphere of complex items like a pie chart where each talent they have represents a space. Maybe they are lacking in a specific learn-able talent but in looking at the sphere they are full in many areas and learn-able talents are easily mastered with focus; as long as the person can remind themselves of their ability to learn all of the other talents represented in the chart.
Being afraid because you are only focused on the skills or attributes that you don’t have is incredibly common and probably has happened to every one of us at one time or another. Think about a time where you had to go on a job interview and while you knew that you were a good employee you were more focused on the questions that they would ask you around areas where you knowledge wasn’t as strong. Possibly questions around such as a specific skill set that you don’t currently have but could quickly learn. Remember that skills can be learned with patience and focus where as the attributes that you as an individual have are unique and have a very strong value. Make this job your own, make this endeavor your own, make this life your own by being the best You that you can be, not someone else’s version of what they think you should be.
As a life coach I get contacted by people looking to change careers all the time. In my initial meeting their entire focus is on what skills they don’t have and what education they don’t have. This focus on the negative aspects can really cause them great pain and make them forget about all the incredible attributes that they bring with them. One of the first things that I do with people that come to me looking for a change in careers in do a strength finders assessment so that they can get out of that negative frame of mind and see in writing all of their incredible strengths. Sometimes this method works and sometimes they are so paralyzed with fear that they never come back for a second session with me. Being so hyper focused on what you don’t possess robs the world of knowing your true gifts, the gifts that you bring with you wherever you go!
If I asked Picasso to be a barista he might have been horrible, if I asked Einstein to put together a PowerPoint presentation on the effects of drinking Picasso’s bad coffee he might have been even more terrible. If I asked a fish to fly a kite it would probably not do well – right? But If I asked Picasso to paint, Einstein to think, and a fish to swim they would be incredible at it. They would be in their space of comfort where they were not fearful of the talents that they did not currently have. How will you know what you are good at unless you overcome your fears and try new things to see which one appeals to you?
That doesn’t mean that Picasso could not have been a great barista; but he probably would have made that foam art that was so pretty that people would not have wanted to drink their triple half-calf double foam Cappuccino with 1 raw sugar light upside down with a twist. This is because Picasso would have been operating in a space where he was most comfortable and able to express himself not operating in fear.
So if you get into a space where you are fearful of the skills or attributes that you don’t have you have to think of the pie chart that shows all of the other unique skills that you have to offer, So that this way you represent yourself correctly and don’t short change yourself in your own representation of your abilities and talents. You are the only YOU on this planet, in this universe; so represent that in a positive way and don’t focus on what you don’t have but instead remember what you have worked so hard to become and be proud of that. You might not do things the exact way someone else would but the light bulb wasn’t created because someone was trying to make a better candle. It was made because something was done totally different from a different perspective and a different thought pattern to solve a problem. You might be that different perspective, that different thought pattern that makes a difference for the positive. If you are handicapped by fear then you will never know and you might rob the world of your talents.
Fear happens for a reason; our bodies are reacting to something that triggers this primitive response. Typically something important to us that we want to do well: fear of presenting to a large audience, fear of not doing well at something that is important to us, fear of failure and the results of that failure on our future lives. This doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks – take a deep breath – think about a positive outcome and move forward.
I am not advocating using fear as a motivator because it has its negative side of course; but if you are in a situation and become gripped by fear then remember why it is there and use it to fuel your fire instead of stopping you from even starting. If the fear takes over and you don’t get the opportunity to present the best of yourself you really are shortchanging the people who deserve the see the best of you.
More to come on this!