A few weeks ago, Aaron from PebbleStorm passed along the biggest compliment from a stranger, to me. It was awesome, and I have a feeling its going to be hugely instrumental in helping me change my life…
You know how sometimes you wonder if what you have to offer will be valuable to anyone else. What in the world could I possibly create that someone would want? Here I am trying to come up with an idea for my dream business, and I have a few vague ideas, but I haven’t really run with anything yet. Like somewhere inside me I don’t think I have what it takes. I look around at all the other PebbleStormers and I see how good their ideas are- part of me is really inspired. But part of me is intimidated. What if what I have to offer isn’t good enough?
I don’t think I’ve consciously had that thought, or maybe I have. Maybe it’s been hovering in my mind, slowing me down, permeating my thoughts about myself for a looooong while. In fact, it’s got a very familiar ‘ol’buddy’ feeling with it- like I’ve been living under it’s shadow since I was a kid.
And then Aaron sent me an email that changed everything.
I was trying to do my PebbleStorm exercises. Aaron had told us to create some kind of physical representation of our Unique Genius. It could be a paragraph, a future biography, or something artsy. It had been a couple weeks and we were supposed to share something with the group, but I hadn’t started anything. I’d been procrastinating, and well, you know how it is. The longer you put something off, the harder it is to do it- because not only are you fighting through self-doubt or laziness, but now you’ve got a whopping dose of guilt on top of it.
It was the last day and I was in my office thinking to myself, “What am I going to do?” I sat there, stumped, eyes vaguely looking around as if the answer would just pop out at me. What about my snowflakes? I have handmade snowflakes hanging all over the window in my office. They’re pretty, colorful, quick, and easy. I bet I could do something with them. Perfect.
I made two paper snowflakes there at my desk, gluesticked them to another piece of paper, wrote a few words and phrases I’d been thinking about for a while, and voila! I scanned it, sent it out to the group, and gave myself a little pat on the back. Another assignment completed. Guilt, be gone!
And secretly, I really liked what I had made. It made me happy to see my strengths presented on colorful paper. Sometimes I would leave it open in my browser at work and just peak at it now and then. A special, little treat for myself.
Eventually, I kind of stopped thinking about it. Life kept going. We moved on to other exercises in PebbleStorm, and I fell back into my pattern of procrastinating with a hint of self-doubt. Then out of nowhere I got this email from Aaron saying that a professional friend of his had printed up my Unique Genius collage and hung it up in her office. It was the biggest shock, and I may have cried a little. I could barely believe that someone, a stranger, had liked it so much as to make it a permanent part of her office life.
That was a changing moment for me. It reminded me that I have something to offer. I can create something that will bring value to someone else’s life. But more importantly, people want what I can make; they value it. Of course, not everyone will. That’s totally okay. I don’t need or want to touch everyone’s life. But some people, enough people, will align with what I create. I’ll be just right. That makes all the difference. It gives me the courage to keep making and sharing the things in my heart.
From now on, whenever I’m doubting myself I’m going to remember my biggest compliment and keep going (with the help from another quick peak at my Unique Genius Snowflake).
Erin's Unique Genius collage