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Owning Your Strengths and Talents

I have been thinking a lot lately about strengths and talents that are learned vs earned. What I mean is there is no test, there is no assessment or a class, it’s something that is part of who you are. How do you quantify that without a few letters behind your name? I have been on a journey of self-discovery and if you have ever been on one, they are not always pretty and they are marred with all sorts of self-sabotage, imposter syndrome, and that neigh sayer in the back of the mind saying I am not worthy and should give up. Side note- I have been told that voice is there to protect us and is part of our natural fight or flight mechanism in the brain- back to our story. Have you ever noticed flight is easier but never feels better? I am realizing that those moments make some of us great and others average. Not that average and staying safe is bad but if greatness is what you seek you must look those moments in the face and find a way to take them from being a mountain to a molehill. The concept of FEAR (false evidence appearing real) surely comes into play at these moments. It is hard to look at the unsavory parts of myself. Focusing on the good and making the best of it is easier. But I have decided on greatness and for me to achieve such a thing I cannot let any obstacle get in my way, including myself. It feels like the hardest feat to achieve when faced with circumstances I have no control over is to find a way to make the best decision for myself not just in that moment but for my future.

Over the last couple of years, I have decided (divinely) to stand in this position of authority. Not because I have some special training. Not because I have any experience. And definitely not because I thought I had a clue on how to do it. Jumping off the plank and not being able to see the water. Over that time the impossible has become possible. The growth and following have been exponential and the people who have come to stand beside me and lead have been nothing but extraordinary. So why do I feel like a failure when a couple of things don’t go my way?

FEAR – it is so hard to overcome FEAR. It looks like a real catastrophe and so I treat it like one. The first step in making anything better is recognizing the problem. So sitting quietly in meditation I realize I am using these circumstances to define my actions when my actions should be deciding my circumstances (read that again). The issue is recognized. I am afraid. The next thing is Of What? This brings me back to the beginning of this heartfelt rant to hopefully help you in your self-awareness journey. I don’t have the credentials, correct degrees, or certifications to do this work. Why do I think I can do this? This is where I can start building out of the circumstance and into decision-making. I must acknowledge the gift that I have that is God-given. I can talk to and befriend anyone. I have never met a stranger. I have so many amazing friends in my life and must recognize that maintaining a friendship isn’t easy. It takes work and I am always willing to do the work. I feel my natural talents are the ones that help me excel. The hard part is owning that aspect of myself. To say this is something I am great at feels phony or pretentious. At this point telling my inner voice to shut up and that other people’s opinions or my perceived opinion others have of me are NONE OF MY BUSINESS.

The hardest thing for someone like me who needs to be around people and can talk or listen for days is stopping and taking a step back to analyze the truth in what I am doing and why. I have started working on the consulting side of Athena Consulting which I have only used so far with the Dream Queen Foundation but need to own the skills and talents I bring to the table and understand they have monetary value. I hear people say “I do it because I love it, and not for the money” and I am sure they are being honest but if they didn’t have the money they wouldn’t be able to do what they love. My joke these days are I can’t eat goodwill or self-sacrifice. The grocery store doesn’t accept good deeds and the mortgage company won’t accept payment in the form of helping kids achieve their dreams. It’s all in jest but the facts remain.

For today I am standing strong in my role within the community, the foundation, and my consulting. I know I bring value to those who work with me and can facilitate conversations that are not easy for many. I am proud of that skill and I will work to create spaces, conversations, and clubs to further the work.

If you have read to here – congratulations – here are a few questions I would love for you to think about and maybe send me your responses.

1. What are your natural talents, strengths, and gifts?

2. What do you do in the face of FEAR? When was the last time you were challenged by FEAR?

3. When you are faced with FEAR what is your natural reaction or response?

4. Do you tell yourself stories about what is happening, or do you recognize the facts?

5. Do you let your feelings and emotions guide you? Do you ever look back and say ‘OMG I should not have said/done that’? What do you do after that situation?

a. Do you sit in regret or shame or self-deprecation?

b. Would you prefer to look at the true facts and learn a lesson and move forward?

6. And how the heck do you move forward in the face of circumstances that you did not cause or create?

I am still on this journey. I believe showing my vulnerability is a way of being courageous and hopefully the story can help you. I also know that I don’t know everything and that we can all benefit from hearing each other. I would love to hear your responses to the questions.

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