I was sitting in a Strengths Leadership-kinda talk/training thing last week when the speaker asked us to turn to our neighbor and tell them the one thing you are better at than anyone else.
Instantly I shriveled up and died a little inside. Are you kidding me? No chance could I think of something I'm better at than anyone else (I mean let's be real here, there are 7 billion'ish people in the world after all), and I didn't even want to try to come up with something. I couldn't! It felt so...wrong. Maybe even a little vain? I don't know. My partner and I both mustered up something sort of safe-and followed it up with, "but I'm not necessarily better than others..."
When the speaker got back up he talked about how yes, it's a little bit awkward to talk about what you're best at, because it feels weird to talk about yourself like that. But that we need to know our strengths, those things we are really great at, because if we don't know, how will anyone else? If we don't use our strengths, they're useless.
My brain has been reeling on these thoughts for days now.
I have always thought of myself as a confident person, in fact, I used to rock my old ways of teaching interviews. I believed I was the best person for the position. I knew I had it all, and if I didn't know everything, I would figure it out. I always landed the job.
Fast forward eight+ years and I'm not sure what's happened to me but my confidence in myself has dwindled. I've been told I can be self-deprecating and even though I do find myself using it for humor at times, I think there are aspects of it that I do mean--and gross, that's no way to live. I don't fully believe that I'm all those things I used to be back when I was that super confident career-driven girl. Even though motherhood has gained me a ton of experience and wisdom in so many ways, there are aspects of me that still feel so small and inadequate.
I'm trying to figure that out.
What I do know is that I'm learning through this process of pin-pointing who I am, the gifts that live inside me, my talents, etc--that relationships are critical. Having people who know you, who love you, who absolutely do not BS you when it comes to who you are, and the things they see and know in you that you can't always recognize, -well, it's absolutely important.
That night the speaker also said something along the lines of "We need people in our lives who give us permission to be extraordinary." -whoa.
I need people in my life to call out my gifts, the ones I forget about or haven't seen in a while, and tell me to act on them and not be stagnant.
I want to be that for other people. To give them permission to be fully as they are when they're not completely confident in themselves, to live wild & free, extraordinary lives.
It has been a long, long time since a book has gripped me up and really tapped on so many of my feelings. Dissecting Wild and Free, by Jess Connolly & Hayley Morgan with a group of women each week has definitely made it more relevant, more tangible for me. If you get the chance, read it- slowly. Underline those truths in the books that you need to read and re-read over yourself again and again.
Just let this soak into your heart and mind.
Time to do mighty things.