First, remember to check out comments left on this blog by clicking on the number next to the specific title of the entry to see and read them. For example, read about what Christine Powers has to share about experiencing her soul and Self through song, by singing Mozart’s Requiem.

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I’ve written about being grateful for ourselves, for life, about living in a state of wonder, being present. One aspect of this is being aware of our gifts and talents, of what distinguishes us, of what we might call our “differences” or our uniqueness (as well as what we all have in common in our oneness). In recognizing these and all aspects of ourselves, we are even more able to assert ourselves in the world, express the diverse forms and dimensions of who we are – this is about emPOWERment. We stand out, we stand in our truth, we are on the playing field and not in the bleachers as we offer our gifts to those around us.

I am reminded of this “tip” by someone who is a good friend and past colleague of mine, Peter Bregman. Peter is a very talented management consultant, a very creative person and writer, the latter represented by his Harvard Business Review articles/blogs and his most recent, excellent book “18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done” (www.PeterBregman.com).

Among the many tips Peter offers is one in the chapter “Heated Seats – Element Three: Assert Your Differences.” First, he writes about how a driver of a pedicab on a cold winter day in New York City distinguished his “offer” by having signs on both sides of his carriage saying “Heated Seats”. He then writes about his experience of me, of my decision to radically transform my life several years ago:

“But fitting in has the opposite effect. It makes you dispensable. If you’re like everyone else, then how critical to the business can you be?

That’s how my friend Paul Faerstein lost his job. He was very successful at fitting in. It was the early 1990s and he was a partner at the Hay Group. He was a good consultant – I learned a lot from him – and for a long time he acted like the other partners. He sold the projects they sold. Billed the hours they billed.

Then, in a year and a half, Paul’s mother died, his brother died, and he got divorced. He couldn’t keep up his sales or his billable hours. And here’s the important part: He didn’t bring anything unique to the table, beyond those things. It wasn’t that he couldn’t, as we’ll see in a moment. But he didn’t. So he lost his job. …

But even in our diversity-focused corporation, it’s hard to be different because we have cultural norms that encourage sameness. That’s why we have dress codes. And expressions like ‘Don’t rock the boat.’ My advice? Rock on.

That’s what Paul eventually did. After he lost his job, Paul realized that he was never fully himself as a partner in the Hay Group. He had more to offer. He wanted to connect more deeply with his clients, help them achieve things outside the scope of the Hay Group’s offerings, and engage with them on issues beyond the bottom line.

Now his name is Paramacharya Swami Parameshwarananda (you can call him Swamiji for short). He is the resident spiritual master at an ashram in Colorado. His change might seem drastic, but it was easy for him because each step he took was a step toward himself. And now he couldn’t be happier or more effective. He serves on various boards and leadership councils and is a driving force behind several educational and humanitarian projects around the world.

He’s still doing many of the same things he did as a failed consultant in New Jersey, but he’s more successful because he feels and acts like himself. In his words, ‘I’m living my inner truth.’ And he is indispensable. Not simply for what he does, but for who he is.

Now, I’m not suggesting you go live in an ashram in Colorado. For most people that would be absurd. And copying someone else who’s different won’t help. You’ll never be as good a version of someone else as you are of yourself.

How can you more closer to contributing your unique value? What are your ‘heated seats’? Can you be more effective by being more yourself?”

It is important to constantly remind ourselves to be aware of our uniqueness, differences, what we value in ourselves and our lives, especially regarding who we are BEING and what this offers everyone. I am in a place right now of reassessing myself, gaining a new perspective of my talents, my offer, getting in touch in my heart with WHO I AM BEING and what gets me back to being loving and devoted. By accessing and expressing this “beingness of love” I am able to love who I am being, love my life, and be more empowered and powerful as this love and devotion in the world.

Where are you at with being aware of your talents, uniqueness, differences? Appreciating and expressing them? Loving yourself and your life in that expression? I offer a tip from my workbook that might serve you, about developing love for yourself:

“Make a mental and preferably written list of the qualities you like about yourself, your gifts and talents, the multiple dimensions within you. Choose one or two qualities to start out with. Be grateful for them when you go to bed and wake up. See how you can express these qualities even more in your daily life. Experiment. Play. Then choose some other qualities or skills and do the same. When you’re appreciating yourself during the day or night, touch your two hands to your heart and breathe in what you love about yourself. Love your breath. Love this moment. Take time to truly rest in this love and appreciation within you.”

 

 

 

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