Try to use them to make everyone love and value you.
Try to use them to save the world.
Try to make your work like everyone else’s.
Try to make your work unlike everyone else’s.
Pretend that it’s a huge deal, that only you can offer what you offer.
Pretend it doesn’t matter, that you don’t care.
See-saw from unrealistic expectations to guilt and shame, then numb out, then start again.
Keep waiting for some magic moment of ‘permission’ and ‘recognition’ from the world.
Believe being ‘gifted’ means you ‘deserve’ to be at least a bit wealthy and well-known, and if you don’t become so, you’re not gifted.
Believe being gifted is somehow unique, and thus stay isolated.
Constantly judge yourself on whether/how much you’re doing your thing or not, and waste all your energy on these judgments, instead of doing your thing.
Become ‘successful’, but feel empty and burnt out.
Become great at what you do, but despair of ‘success.’
Constantly stop and start, like a schizo line-dancer.
Read another self-help book.
Feed your kinky addiction to shame and stuckness.
Just drop all the stories. Drop the judgments. Make your primary commitment to never shame yourself again. And don’t shame yourself for shaming yourself either!
Accept that everyone’s gifted. It’s not a big deal. Gifts are not ‘special.’ It means being given something. Therefore having something to give.
Stop pretending you’re waiting for recognition - you’ve already been offered more recognition than you could ever need, but you’ve blocked it, denied it, forgotten it, because it didn’t fit your story. Deep down, because you’re scared to let it in.
Our entire culture of ‘needing recognition’ from a bigger audience is unsustainable on every level - it would take 144,000 extra planets of people just to sit and clap us all.
Feel how much you care. But don’t buy into drama.
Skip the whole layer of pressure, justification and shame and go straight to LOVE and GRIEF.
We love our gifts, and grieve when we don’t embrace and express them freely. Not because we ‘should’ do something, and ‘should’ live up to our potential. Because our heart aches to.
Express your gifts whenever you can, in tiny ways, in big ways. Now. In your real life, in real ways.
The world doesn’t need more superstar ballerinas and pop idols. It needs more people dancing and singing in our kitchens, in the streets.
The world doesn’t need more celebrity authors and teachers, it needs us all to live the wisdom in our own bodies and hearts.
The world doesn’t need more revolutionary ideas. It needs us to do what we already know is right, is enough.
The world doesn’t need you to become somebody. It needs you to be yourself, as you are right now. This is true leadership. It's not a big deal.
I'm right here on this journey with you, trying to remember these things every day.
PS - my posts have had thousands of comments on FB, but I've been oddly slow to get them up on my site. So my words may be a bit lonely, would you like to add yours? Share ways in which you restrict or free yourself to live your gifts in the comments. Let's help each other remember what matters most.
Dave Rock is a prize-winning spoken word artist and storyteller, and a conscious writing, speaking and performing arts teacher. He's worked with thousands of people, including award-winning comedians, actors and inspirational figures.