Sunday morning I went to pick something up at a friend’s house. As I stopped by, my friend Katie and her oldest son were headed out to swimming lessons. On social media, she had mentioned how much he was loving his time in the pool.
I said to her son, “Hey! I heard you are a GREAT swimmer!” And just like that, he smiled at me and said,
Yeah I am.
We exchanged high fives, as one does with a six year old, and headed off.
As I continued on my errand running adventure, I kept thinking about his genuine, excited, proud response. And how amazing it would be if we ALL owned the thing we were great at. The unique and powerful thing we bring to the world.
Humility was a prized quality in my family. And in elementary school. And in high school. It kept playing out at college and as I entered the workforce.
Be proud, but not too proud.
Don’t get too big for your britches.
Make sure to watch your ego.
And the harshest version… WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
But what if being genuinely proud of our gifts was encouraged? Even applauded?
Not bragging. Or putting others down. Or ranking which gifts were the best. Simply owning the fact that we all have something to give in our workplaces and communities.
I understand that we live in a world of intense competition where sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. That is what capitalism, grading scales, sports teams, and politics are built upon. Aside from a stint in public speaking competitions in high school, I have never been an outwardly aggressive person. I don’t have the stomach for it.
After years of reflection and self work, I have truly come to believe that there is immense power in owning our gifts AND (this part is important) allowing others to own theirs.
What would happen if, just for today, you were able to try just that? Own your thing – whether that’s running or spreadsheets or public speaking or Harry Potter cosplay or amazing Instagram posts. AND simultaneously support those who shine their light in your space or in others. What would that look like?
And let me know – where do you shine? I’ll be right here happily organizing the universe and cheering for you.