For many of you who know me already and for those of you who do not, I am a self described introvert. Throughout my life I have found it a challenge learning how to fit in and navigate what I view as our extroverted world. How many countless times have I heard and was irked by the comment, “You need to come out of your shell.” My interpretation of this was that I did not fit in this world until I did. This was a belief I harboured for many years.
Recently I was challenged once again to step outside my shell and my comfort zone. I am not going to lie; this touched a nerve and evoked painful emotions. I was asked, what is it that makes you believe you have to play it small and not occupy too much space in this world. Knowing this question came from a loving mentor, I sat with my emotions and pondered the impact my vulnerabilities have on life and business, how to embrace them and work with them.
Exploring this challenge, I discovered I was not alone with grappling with this issue. There are many of us play it small for different reasons. At some point in time, someone may have said or did something to us that caused us to internalize and question our worth, value, and ability to succeed. This creates uncertainty, shame, and feelings of lack and unworthiness. Instead of finding ways to address it, deal with it and work through it we try to ignore, hide it, and hope it passes. The problem is that when we put ourselves in situations where we are challenge our comfort zones, these old feelings resurface with gusto.
What I discovered this summer was that when I embraced my own vulnerabilities and allowed them a space to be heard and felt fully, I connected with my inner voice and wisdom. This was quite different from trying to think my way through my emotions and rationalize with them. An exciting part of this experience was that I discovered a love for writing and crafting poetry. Expression of my feelings and experiences flows easily for me when I write them out in poetry form. What is even more interesting is that my words and poems flows easier when I am in the moment and my emotions are raw.
We each are graced with our own unique talents and gifts. Our strengths, our gifts are where our light shines. Where is your passion, what do you love, what lights you up and feeds your soul? For each of us this answer may be very different. Amongst us are teachers, inspiring entertainers, loving caregivers, artists and writers that move us, vibrant leaders, quiet leaders, insightful counsellors, philosophers, inventors, builders, dreamers and explorers that like to go beyond what seems possible. We are not all the same nor do we need to try to be.