I have a lot of talented people in my life. I suspect most of us do. Some are talented in ways that are very visible to the world: they lead successful companies, they teach, they serve, they paint, draw, write, act, and sing. Others are just as gifted, but they may not be aware of it, or the world may not recognize their gifts in the same way. They are wonderful parents, great employees, caring friends, or generally loving people who smile at everyone they meet and make our days brighter.
A few do many things well. We watch them in awe; it seems as if they are so much more than the rest of us. In reality, they too struggle with doing the single thing that truly feeds their souls. They hover around it, doing everything else first, receiving attention and even acclaim for these other efforts, but still feeling a little hollow space inside. When they listen to that feeling and instead return to their happy place, they add a spark that we can see.
Each of these gifted souls, no matter how they got there, has figured something out. They are all courageously authentic, sharing themselves with the world because they feel compelled to do so. They expect little recognition in return because their life’s work fills them up. They realized some time ago that they had to light their own fire.
For the rest of us, who struggle to make the most perfect something, it may finally dawn on us that that goal will hold us back every time. There is no perfect. Even more misleading, we may believe that stepping out of our well-defined selves will mean we have to give something up, forever. That the tenuous balance we have created in our daily lives will fall apart, and, if we share more of us, it will all come crashing down.
When we want to run away from whatever calls to us, we should try to remember that the world needs all the beauty we can give it. If what we add to the imperfect mix comes straight from the heart, from that still, quiet, powerful place inside, it will advance the world. Infinitesimally, yes, but still forward progress. And, we’ll light the way for others to do the same.
Here’s to the movers and shakers and the quiet dreamers and doers who have been making the world shine a little brighter over these last few weeks. Keep it up. We can feel the warmth of the spark and sense the winds of change fanning the flame.