Reflection: Every once in a while, an experience rolls around that lifts us up – if we let it work its magic. A few years ago, I was named to the Canadian Speakers Hall of Fame. Arriving at the podium after my name had been called, I struggled to pull myself together so that I might offer a few words of appreciation. A colleague on stage behind me leaned forward and whispered two words in my direction: “Own it!”
It was such a powerful phrase, uttered at such an emotional moment, that I’ve never forgotten it. That idea allowed me to step into the honor that was directed my way and to try it on for size.
Artist Owen Swain notes that many people have developed the habit of downplaying their abilities and contributions. He observes: People who are artists kill or stilt the gift by endless comparison. They say, “If only I drew/painted like you. So and so has a big blog following, is selling at Gallery Fancy Schmancy, or has a CV the length of Highway 401. Me? I just make scratches in my sketchbook.”
It’s not just creative types who are susceptible to minimizing their success and downplaying their contributions. I’ve seen this behavior put in an appearance in many different occupations and roles. Maybe you are that person, yourself, or perhaps you know someone who has developed this dispiriting habit.
Action: We live in a world where life experiences can wear us down – leaving us feeling overwhelmed or undervalued. ‘Owning It’ can be a helpful, uplifting counterpoint.
Try owning your skills and owning your offerings. Own what you have done in the past, and what you are doing now.
Take pleasure in your contributions. Enjoy the fact that you are able to put some of your best skills to work in the service of others – or simply able to use those abilities for the sheer joy of it.
Encourage those around you to do the same. Let them know how you see them, and how you value what they do and who they are.
When you help yourself and others ‘Own It’, you’ll see how that practice builds enthusiasm and confidence for what comes next.
Quotes Of The Week: We can’t stop comparing ourselves to others by trying to stop. We can only fall in love with our own adventure more. – Tara Mohr
Own who you are. – Owen Swain
Resource Of The Week: If you stress yourself with feelings of inadequacy because you don’t seem to be living up to the ideal you have in mind, you might find an idea or two to address that challenge in Tara Mohr’s article: If you Find Yourself Comparing Yourself To Others.
Incidentally, Mohr has just released her new book titled, Playing Big. Looks like it might be an interesting read.
Readers Write: In response to the recent message, Doubting Your Value? Know That You Matter, Pause readers JM writes: Your pause made me think about the movie, Midnight in Paris. The main character magically travels back in time to the 1920s during the time of Picasso and Hemingway, seeing that as the best time. When we are nostalgic for a time other than our own we are not celebrating our life currently. We wish for a time when we think we might be more special, happier, acknowledged.