I decided to do a series from my book Embracing Autumn since it is autumn. It's a great time for me to re-read that myself and my first chapter is Open Every Gift
It reminded me of a time in my life when I was such a crazy perfectionist and I was making my family just nuts with all the pressure and the stress of being all things to all people and putting them really through it. It was those early years when we lived over in Nazareth, Israel and I just wanted to make everything happen and do every single thing and be the best mom, the best wife and the best neighbor. I don't know about you, but you can imagine the stress on that just ramps up.
It reminded me that it wasn't until I started actually embracing my gifts and who I am, staying true to me, that I started to loosen my grip on some of the stuff that was choking the life out of me by trying to jump through every hoop. And many of you who know me, you know, the story that I had someone say to me once, "Just because someone throws a ball at you, you don't have to catch it." That was the first born, overachiever, you know, the perfectionist/ accommodator, I said to her, "Well, what do you want me to do?" And she said,"Just put your hand down the ball will sail right past you." It was like a revelation for me. And I realized that there were certain things about me that I needed to stay true to and other things I could just let go of; that life could go on and the world would still keep spinning, even if I didn't say yes to its endless demands!
Just the freedom that was to just be able to say, "No, I'm sorry, I can't make it. I can't do that." AND be totally okay. I was learning to do that to honor myself, to honor my family, to honor what mattered most and to open the gifts and the strengths and the skills that I had to bring and not have to be like her or do it like that or follow someone else, but stay true to me. That's really where the shift happens when we are true to self.
If there's anybody else who has struggled with perfectionism, you know exactly what I'm talking about. And really the release that comes when you do finally release these things. It is so good to just know that we don't have to do it that way, that there is another way.
So as we grow our businesses in a super, crowded marketplace, the only thing that's going to make us stand out from thousands of other people that are, seem to be doing similar things is to stay true to us. You know, there's nothing new under the sun. You could google every single thing. The transformative stuff happens when we're in alignment with us, when we're staying true to us. That unique mix and alchemy of strength and have stories of trials and triumphs of the expertise and the experience, all the wisdom, the good, the bad, and the ugly is the stuff that actually sets us apart from everyone else.
We tend to shrink back from some of that, to stand up in who we are seems so scary. I think we're afraid of rejection. I think we're afraid, like the Marianne Williamson quote, it's not failure. It's success I'm afraid of, right? Because we all are, we all get how failure goes down, but it's success. Wow. How will I stand in success? Can I actually own it? Stand in it, step forward in it. Replicate it. If I did this today, and it was great, to have to do the same thing better tomorrow. When we dial it back and we don't step full in to our vibe and our wisdom, we forfeit the only thing that's going to set us apart. There's all kinds of tools and techniques and all kinds of ways to grow your business right now. But the thing that's going to make it really cutting edge, is showing up and being ourselves.
That was my challenge last month to myself. It was my birthday month (August) and I thought, that's it. I'm going to step up and get brave and jump on Facebook Live. I'm going to take imperfect action. I'm going to get it wrong, I am so sure, but you know what, I'm doing in any way.
And I was blown away with the response, the views, the feedback, and it made me think, "You know what, Donna? Just stand in yourself to do and be who you are and don't shrink back from that, because that's the true offer."
When we're willing to to do that, then we're not going to miss out. When we follow everybody else, it's when we're going to miss out. We're going to miss out on who we are, but when we are willing to step into who we are, the gifts we have, the strengths we have, the stories that have been through all of that, not try to homogenize it, not try to quiet it down, not try to hide it under a bushel, but stand fully in it.
There is something then that says, that you've got the unique ability to take me where I want to go next. That you know trouble. You've known adversity and you've risen above it. There's something to that. If we hide all that, then nobody knows what we've been through, the experiences we've encountered and how we've overcome them.
I think that's one of the biggest things that people need to know. I can overcome the overwhelm. I can get back up from failure. If something falls apart, I can put it back together, maybe not exactly the same way, maybe better than it was before. So this is part of it is, you know, we don't want to miss out on truly living. We don't want to miss out on growing businesses. We totally love it. Exude joy that then allows us to stay true to ourselves and bring people in and um, and draw them in a place that is like we're attractive to those clients because we're doing what you love and they see that and they know that we've got what it takes to take them there.
So here are four ways that you can open every gift that you've been given: 1. Give Many times I think we're afraid of what if I give away the farm? Not your world. This gift is just going to cascade over and over and over. It's part of part of you. So, that's not going to go away. Just start giving from that gift and wait till you see the response, you're going be shocked by the number of people who are truly blessed by what you do that didn't even know you did. You were too afraid to stand out and but it's time to finally step fully into who you are.
2. Invest in yourself
You want to keep those things cutting edge so you're going to keep serving with excellence and come from excellence. And, and then you know those skills are even going to get better and better as you bring them to the marketplace. 3. Follow your vision Follow your mission, your purpose, your passion, all your potential. Too often we see something else that someone else is doing and we think we better go do that. And then we step away from self. We step away from the things we're called to in the way we're wired and we chase down somebody else's vision, somebody else's dream. And ours is on the back burner. We may think, "I'll be right back." But then, we don't. It's a bunny trail, and to come all the way full circle back to what we need to do, takes time.
4. Teach and train. That's where transformation comes, the teachings, the highest form of learning. And it's really cool when we can show up and give our gifts because that's where we bring the impact and influence on the lives of others. So I want to encourage you open every single gift where you're given.
The ancient poet, Hafiz said, "You were given all these gifts on your birthday. You just haven't opened them all yet." Open every gift that you've been given. You don't need permission. You don't need a green light. You don't have it all together yet. You just need to step out right where you are. You've already got everything you need. The gifts are within you and remember that even your stories, those failures, those things that weren't so wonderful, you need to share those parts too because that's what helps us know we're not alone. It's not. We're not the only one who failed. We're not the only one who fell apart. We're not the only one who fell down and it helps us know that we can overcome and get back up and they're really cool life lessons that come with that, that have made you the person you are today. Without that, you wouldn't be half the person you are today. So, open your every gift, bring your experience, your wisdom, your strengths and everything you've got.
It's the genuine authentic offer that you can bring to the world. That's what you have that nobody else has. It's what you have that will keep you cutting edge in a world of copycats and look alikes.