You know that you have something of great importance to share with the world. You know this is a cause that needs to be spread.
It’s burning a hole in your gut, and it’s taking everything you can to not let it burst out from within you.
But instead of fireworks and a blaze of glory…
Somewhere between the passion, the avalanche of ideas, and the torrent of enthusiasm entered a familiar foe: the Voice of “Reason.”
Cunningly, he pretends to be your friend, your ally, and most importantly, your Protector. He’ll keep you safe from the critics and failures, he tells you. He’ll keep you swaddled in the hypnotic warmth of reason and a cocoon of bubble-wrapped existence.
Shadowed in his well intentioned promises of security and comfort, though, is a sinking sense of defeat; a disbelief and decay of the great adventure that was dying to be born within you.
Why the voice exists, or why we second-guess ourselves
Other than our instinctual drive to cling to the known, perhaps that greatest catalyst for the voice of reason comes from our inability to see our gifts.
Because our talents are so ingrained into who we are, they become invisible. Like a person with bad eyes days without glasses, we forget how clear the world looks when our vision is impaired.
The reason we don’t believe in and adequately value our talents is because we our unable to see our own greatness. Our incredible gifts are so second-nature to us that we are unable to see how great they are. Because of that, we don’t acknowledge our own genius.
It’s just the thing you do. It’s just what you’ve always done.
It’s so average, so normal… how can it be great?
Well, I’m here to tell you that it is. You have immense value to give to the world. And there are so many people that would marvel at what you do because to them you’re speaking another language. In their eyes you might as well be a magician.
Find that hard to believe? Let this settle in:
We second-guess what’s second-nature
Whatever our gift is, we second guess it because it’s so natural, so innate. And because of that we must periodically and deliberately remind ourselves of the value that we bring to the world.
Specifically, there are three things to help you stop second-guessing yourself:
- Save thank you notes, emails, and words of encouragement, and refer to them on a regular basis. On a weekly or monthly basis go back to those encouraging notes and let them sink in. Really acknowledge just how appreciated and valuable you are to others. (If you’re just starting and don’t have many of these, imagine in the future when your inbox is flooded with them and think about how wonderful it will feel to have such a huge impact.)
- Solicit your future self for perspective. Imagine a conversation with yourself 10 years into the future. What would she say about how far you’ve come? How proud would the you 10 years ago be about what you’ve overcome?
- Bask in your former glory. Think back to two or three instances in your past when you’ve done something you were truly proud of, times when you really felt you did something that mattered. Maybe it was partnering on an important community project, writing a short story, or just helping a friend solve a challenging problem. Take a moment to remember that your gifts and talents are appreciated and needed.
Perhaps the biggest dream-killer of all is comparing yourself to others. You don’t have to be Jimi Hendrix to call yourself a musician. You don’t have to be a black belt in Karate to call yourself a martial artist.
You can be on the path, and help others along the way. You can own your greatness no matter how far you’ve come. Keep plodding along and it’s just a matter of time before you make your mark on the world.
My question for you today is this: What will you do today to cultivate and acknowledge your value to the world?