“Use what talent you possess. The world would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang loudest.” ~ Henry Van Dyke
Much of the last decade, I went through a dark night of the soul. I felt like a failure.
I replayed these desperate thoughts: “I’m getting older, it’s the beginning of the 21st century, time is running out for me. By this age…
- I should have advanced degrees…even though I don’t want them
- I should have a mansion on a hill…even though I don’t want one
- I should be taking exotic vacations…even though I don’t care to
- I should have parlayed my talent into millions of dollars into our bank account…and I haven’t succeeded (even though I’ve tried)
- I should have letters behind my name, a corner office on some 10th floor, plaques on the wall that cite awards from CNBC, Entrepreneur Magazine, the Governor, the President, the Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey…and I don’t really care that I don’t have
Shame. On. Me.
Wanna know what brought on these recriminations? I have one major talent, a talent I’ve known about most of my life, a talent that when I allow its expression, brings me immense satisfaction, peace, and joy.
But much of our culture thinks my talent is…worthless, because my talent isn’t razzle/dazzle. It can’t be bottled, packaged, marketed, hung on the wall, and sold to the highest bidder.
So I was stuck in this loop of thinking, “Since our culture views my talent worthless, I need to give it up, concentrate on cultivating another talent, one the world will value. To do any less is to be a failure.”
Yesterday, while having lunch with Dara Moore Beevas, I was reminded of my talent, how much I love expressing it. As I listened to beautiful, brilliant, young Dara speak of her longings, her joys, her frustrations, her satisfactions, my mind drifted back to that night 4 years ago, and the event that ended my self-shaming…