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  • Valerie Hope

Ep. 4 - Time To Come Alive: "O.M.G.: Own, Master And Give Away Your Talents"

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Time To Come Alive: "O.M.G.: Own, Master And Give Away Your Talents"

Happy New Year, everybody. I don't know why, but that whole thing, “Happy New Year, Happy New Me,” has a nice ring to it so I say that often. This is the first It's Time to Come Alive coaching call for the year. I'm excited about that. I made some commitments to myself this year that I want to make sure that I bring to life in our conversations.

This conversation that we have every week is an opportunity for me to talk about things that seem to matter to me, the people that I speak to, and my clients. It is also an opportunity for me to engage with other people. At the beginning of the call, I'll share some thoughts and things that I've been running through my mind that might be helpful or thought-provoking for you. Towards midway in the call, I'll have an opportunity to open the lines and you'll be able to share your thoughts or questions, or if there’s anyone who would like to have some one-on-one coaching and have conversations with you as we go through our time together.

Before we go into all of that, I know that morning can sometimes be a little bit hurried for some people. Maybe some of you had come back from a meeting or perhaps have been going through your emails, or getting kids ready for school. There's a myriad of things that you're likely trying to do at the same time or have been doing up to this point. It's important for us to ground ourselves. At the very least, you have an opportunity to be even more present than you already are.

The way I like to do that is through exercise. The mindfulness exercise is a chance for us to be present in the experience we're having. The topic for today is about strength, talents, and skills. I thought we'd start off with mindfulness by requesting that if you are in a safe place, you may close your eyes for this because it allows us to look inward even better or with more ease. If you're not and you're driving or you're doing something that requires you to have your eyes open in order to be safe, then please do not close your eyes.

I do want you to somehow gaze inward if you will. Along with that, if you're sitting or standing, put yourself in the most comfortable position. That usually means sitting up straight. If you're leaning or something, straighten out and put your feet flat on the ground. Allow wherever you're sitting or however you're standing to take on the weight so that you feel you feel supported.

As you're doing that, I also want to invite you to take a few deep breaths in through your nose, and then release them through your mouth. It's always a way to slow down. Take stock by taking some cleansing breaths. I invite you to do that. Once you've taken those breaths, gazing inward, whether you have your eyes open or closed, I want you to think of a time when you felt that you were excelling at something. You felt like you were doing something. It could have been that you achieved a goal. Maybe you earned a diploma. Perhaps you won some sort of competition or you solved a problem.

It could be even as you were shopping for gifts that you felt like you were in that zone. You found the perfect gift at the perfect price. You found that deal or you were able to negotiate successfully. Think about a time when you felt like you excelled at something or that you were doing something that you were proud of. It was something that you felt good about yourself. I hope everybody has something in mind because this exercise will be helpful when you do.

When you go back to that moment, I want you to picture it in your mind. Picture yourself at that store negotiating that price. Picture yourself working on that particular problem or laying out the plan. Perhaps you were having a conversation with somebody and you felt strong or very skillful in managing that conversation. I want you to put yourself back in that situation. As you do that, go ahead and continue to take some deep breaths.

I want you to picture yourself there again and think about the sensations that you felt in your body while you were in that moment. You might think, “I got that diploma,” or, “I solved the problem.” I want you to go down a level deeper and think about where you felt in your body that you were doing something amazing, that you were doing something fun, or that you were doing something that engaged your talents and your skills.

I know that for me, sometimes, I feel like this warmth washes over me. It could be the warmth that washes over my face and my neck. Some of you might be experiencing goosebumps at the moment where you feel like, “I'm doing something amazing,” or “I’m doing something that's aligned with my strengths, my skills, or my talent.” Perhaps there's some tingling. There's a sense of this electricity. I want you to think through what that physical manifestation of success or excellence felt like for you. What was that physical sensation? Picture it. I want you to feel it as best as you possibly can. Be with that sensation for a moment.

This is something that we likely don't do on a regular basis. We do some activities or experience some events. We do something that we find interesting or that we find engaged or our energy's engaged in. How often do we pause and experience what it feels like in our body to be connected to that talent or connected to that strength?

One of the reasons that I wanted to start off our conversation with that exercise is because this year, for all of us, as we are starting off perhaps something new, a new way of doing things, new relationships, new goals, or new ventures, the way that I found to be most successful is engaging myself. It is looking inward and experiencing fully, not just what's happening on the outside. It’s not if I'm doing a presentation, if I'm coaching someone, or if I'm engaged in some sort of activity that I enjoy. It is noticing what's happening for me inside.

NQS | Owning Your Talents
Owning Your Talents: Engage yourself by looking inward and experiencing fully not just what's happening on the outside.

Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist, always said, “He who looks outside dreams. He who looks inward awakens.” It's time to come alive. This is an opportunity for us to awaken that gift, that strength, or that talent. That mindfulness exercise is for us to start noticing where our bodies go when we're connected to that.

I recall when I was in a leadership class a few years ago. One of the exercises they asked us to do was to go out and find people in our lives and ask them several questions so that we could gain some insight or some feedback about ourselves. There are a lot of ways to learn new things. You can read a book. You can take a class as I was in this case. You can either talk to people and let people tell you, which is the step that I took.

I went out and asked some people in my life, whether they were family, friends, or colleagues, about some of my strengths and some of my weaknesses. There was a set of questions we asked, but those particular two were interesting. I got some feedback about one of my strengths being how engaged or how interested I was in people and how much I connected with people. What's interesting at the same time the weakness was now you can be a little pushy. For those of you who know me, you may have experienced that. If you do, I'm so sorry that you did. My intention wasn't to come across as pushy. They did mention, “You can be insistent when you are committed to doing something.”

I remember the time processing that feedback and thinking, “I get it.” When I'm excited about something and I believe in something strongly, I'm all in and I want everybody to be all in too. I had that inner awakening that Carl Jung spoke of when I went ironically to something that requires you to be quiet, and that was a yoga class. In that yoga class, we had to do a Thai massage.

For those of you who are not familiar with Thai massage, it is a very physical style of massage. It's not just caressing, rubbing through, or kneading someone's arms. It's about using your entire body to massage the other person. They asked us to find a partner in the class. I'm 5’11”, so I'm a tall woman. This woman probably came up to my elbow. She was small. I asked the teacher, “Should we be with somebody our own size for this?” They said, “No. It doesn't matter. Go ahead and pick the partner next to you.” The woman and I looked at each other and were like, “You’re in? I'm in.”

She went first and lay down on the ground. The objective was for those of us who were going to do the massage, we use our feet and massage from our glutes all the way down to our calves. We’re literally stepping on the person. For a moment, I got a little tense because I was thinking, “I'm going to snap her in half.” I couldn't figure out, “How is this going to work?” I was super tentative.

At that moment, I had that inner awakening or that feedback that I've gotten about my strength that I engage with people and connect with people but at the same time can be insistent and almost even pushy for some. I had the insight that this is how it must manifest itself with other people. If I come across too strong, I could break them. I didn't break the woman. I was very gentle. I did remember feeling very conscious of giving her a good experience. It's a massage. Massage is supposed to be pleasurable. It's supposed to be relaxing and enlivening.

At first, I was so tentative that I knew that I wasn't putting the pressure that she likely was benefiting from. I found myself communicating with her, “Is this too much pressure? Do you need more? Do you need less?” She would give me thumbs up or thumbs down and I was able to regulate the pressure that I put on the massage.

I thought that was such a great demonstration of when we are at our strengths or when we are doing something that we love, most of the time, it's pretty unconscious, I've found. In all the conversations I've had about strengths with people, we are not always that present to our strengths. We don't always have that sensation that we are connected to at the moment. If unregulated or unconscious, we can overpower. We could potentially overpower others because our zest or our zeal for what we're doing takes over. We want to break that person down. We want to tackle that problem. We're like a dog with a bone.

My invitation to you is to start looking at places in your life where you are not aware strength is being manifested. That's the number one thing. Number two is to think about when you are engaged in that particular strength, what is the experience of the person that is the beneficiary of that strength? How are they interacting with you? Can we be so present as to not only be aware of our own but also think, “What is the other person's experience? How are they interacting? Are they enjoying it? Are they benefiting from it? Do they need more or less from us?” Those are some things to think about.

NQS | Owning Your Talents
Owning Your Talents: Start looking at places in your life where you're not aware of the strength that is being manifested.

I came up with an acronym. Acronyms can sometimes be pretty cheesy, but I find that they're effective ways for people to remember things. I love StrengthsFinder. StrengthsFinder is a book that was put together by the Gallup organization, Donald J. Clifton. I've been using this book for almost a decade or maybe even longer at this point.

What I love about it is that it is an assessment that one can do where you can break down your top talents, and then based on those talents, it gives you a definition of the talent. It tells you how you can use that talent and maximize it. It tells you how you partner with other people. I'm such a nerd about this that I did the talents of everybody in my family. I put together a little graph or a little chart for everybody so that I know everyone's talents. It’s part of my thing.

Whatever tool you use, if you use a personality assessment or you go get feedback from people, what I'm finding as I'm having more conversations about talents and skills is that it's not enough to know the concept. It's not enough to know book definitions. It's not enough to have taken a class. There's that work that we need to do inward. We need to awaken inward so that we see how it's manifested.

The acronym that I came up with to help out with that for this year as I'm coaching people is the OMG of talents. For the OMG, the O stands for Owning it. It is embracing the talents that we have and honoring them. It is getting present to how they manifest themselves or how they feel when we're in our strengths so that we know how to access it even more effectively. It is the impact that's having on other people and being conscious of it. It's owning that and embracing it.

The M stands for Mastery. Donald Clifton who is the person who put together the assessment was the Chairman of Gallup for many years and a psychologist. Most of us focus on a weakness, something we want to get better at that we don't do well. We've gotten feedback about things that we do poorly, perhaps. He said the definition of a weakness is anything that gets in the way of excellent performance. When you think about your strength, your talent, or the things that you're naturally gifted at, that's where you will exponentially increase your performance in leaps and bounds. By owning it, learning about it, and practicing it, you will exceed anything that you could possibly do instead of focusing on your weaknesses.

Your weakness, at best, could get too mediocre. If you want excellence, you focus fully and completely on that strength and master it. The G, the last part of the strength and the real reason for having them, another word for talents is the gifts that you have. That G stands for Giving them away. Give it away. Gifts are meant to be given away. Part of our responsibility in owning and embracing our strengths and then mastering them, owning them, and making them effective is so that we are able to contribute them in meaningful ways to other people, our society, our families, our colleagues, and our workplace.

I remember I had a super team of people that I worked with several years ago. A shout-out to Jonathan Chapples, one of my best mentors. He had the unique strength of understanding and observing everybody else's strengths. Not all leaders honor strengths the way that I've ever seen Jonathan do it. We did the assessment. We all knew intellectually what our strengths were. We understood the concept of strength.

He did something so effective for our team. This was back in 2008 or 2009 when the economy had dipped. We had gone pretty lean in our office. We didn't have a surplus of people or an abundance of people to do things. We had to do multiple tasks and projects. One of the things that I felt was super effective was that he treated us like a team of superheroes. Whereas one person was responsible for a specific thing, he would bring in other people.

For example, he knew that I was gifted with coming up with ideas, innovative ways, and creative ways of doing things. He brought me into a project that was not necessarily my accountability, but he said, “We need some new ideas. Can you help us spur that on?” He would bring Danielle in. Danielle was super gifted at putting together plans, arranging things, and putting together a schedule. We had Melissa who was super gifted at putting together a communication plan and executing it. She was the achiever of the group.

Every project that we did as a team, we all brought our own brand of talent. It's like a superhero team. It reminds me of X-Men with the X school of the gifted and all these mutants. I don't know if you watch the X-Men or not. That's the example that came to mind. They all go to the school. They have been shunned for. They've been criticized. They've not been able to manage them effectively. In the school, they learn how to hone them. They learn how to convert them into these strengths. Talents don't become strength until you invest that time. That's what I want to invite you all to do. It is to use your strengths in service of your own goals, but more importantly, of the people in your life that matter to you. I'm going to get off my soapbox. I get excited about that particular topic.

These talents don't become strengths until you invest that time.

I'd like to start off by asking some of you to share A) What you are hearing in this conversation. Thinking about your own strength, when do you notice when you're in your strengths? When do you notice you're using your strengths or your talent? How do you feel when you're engaging those? We want to start with that. If you have a particular question about strengths, I'm also happy to answer those.

Who would like to go first? Jump right in. I'd love to hear something about what you're hearing for yourself in this conversation. What do you see? Where does this fit? Where might this be? Where might this be missing in your life? Where do you see it being enhanced or proven in your life? I am going to call in a couple of people because I do know some people's names here to get your thoughts. Johanna, welcome back. What's on your mind?

Nothing. I enjoyed your topic. Thank you so much for sharing. I feel like, for sure, when I'm tapped into my zen space, that's exactly how I feel. It's probably more like I feel like I'm in control. I feel like this is a safe space. I'm in the driver's seat and it feels easy. That's probably, for me, a comfort area. I don't know if it's a warm feeling. It's safe for me. It's not chilling. It's nothing like that, but I feel like I'm driving. I feel good. I feel confident. I feel like this is where I'd like to be, for sure.

That confidence control in the driver's seat all sounds like wonderful words. I’m curious because this would be helpful for everybody. Most of us don't necessarily look inwardly that much. When you're feeling confident or in the driver's seat or that control, what does it feel like in your body? Can you think of a time and describe where you noticed it physically?

You're about 5’11” and I'm 4’11”. I feel like I'm 6 feet tall. I feel like the space in the room is for me. It's easy. There is not an insecurity in terms of my lack of knowledge. There's no gender bias. There's not anything that makes me feel insecure about anything. It's more about that that I feel very secure in everything that I'm doing. For me, that feels like I’m 10 feet tall or whatever.

It sounds like you feel like you occupy more space. You mentioned you're back as a person physically, but energetically, you feel you expand. There is some sense of expansion or bigness.

I'm a person that likes to help. It's what I do in this role. When I feel like I'm doing that and achieving that and somebody's accomplished, whether it's a job or whatever, then I feel fulfilled.

Thank you, Johanna, for sharing. I'm curious about others. Say yes if you identify with what she shared.


Any others? There you go. Johanna, you're not alone. That’s very good. Thank you. How about someone else? Share with me. What are you noticing about our conversation regarding your strength or your talent? How are you owning it, mastering it, or giving it away this year?

First of all, I loved the acronym, the OMG. I was taking notes and it sounds awesome.

Thank you.

My question for you is how do you think we can hone our talents, master them, and give our gifts away without coming across as maybe too posh? I don’t know if it makes sense.

Give me an example. Bring some reality to what your question is. Give me an example of where you felt that or noticed that.

I was thinking about situations where I was talking publicly in my job, either I was giving a training session or speaking at a staff meeting and I feel good about it. People have told me I can do it in a very nice way so I feel good. There are times that I feel good doing that, but I don't want people to think, “Here he comes again. It's him again. He is one that speaks and feels good about doing that, so here he comes again.” I feel good about owning this talent because I finally understood it's beneficial. I try to give it away, but at the same point, I don't want it to become, “I'm so good at that. I'm the best. You don’t know anything about it.” How can I own that? How can we own that without coming across as too good at this job?

Here's the way to look at it. Tell me, how do you feel when you're in front of the group? What is the intention behind you demonstrating that strength?

I feel good because I'm using something that I feel comfortable with to influence people. Whenever I have to perform it or whenever I'm in these kinds of situations, usually, those are situations where I have to give a strong message. I feel that's influencing and I love it.

It is interesting because I didn't notice you say something like, “I'm trying to prove myself. I want to show them how much I know and how good I am.” It sounds to me like you have a lot of conviction. You have a strong belief that what you're doing and how you're doing it is authentic to you. Did I get that? Is that accurate?

I don't want them to have this feeling that I'm the only one who knows how to do that, but I feel comfortable doing it.

Good. Here's the second question. What feedback have you gotten from people? This is for everybody. As I'm talking to Johanna, Felipe, or whoever comes on, I want you all to notice for yourselves where this might come up. You might have a similar question or you might be the person that looks at people that are using their strengths and going, “Who does she think she is? Who does he think he is?” I want you to start engaging with this conversation from your own life. Back to you, Felipe. What feedback do you get from people when you are in your talents or when you're using those strengths?

That I should do it more often because it comes naturally. If there are colleagues who have a hard time doing that, it comes a bit more naturally to me. There's no reason to look for another person if I don't have a hard time doing that. I'm good at it.

The people in your life recognize that as a talent as well. They are asking you and they are offering opportunities to bring your talent to life.

That's it.

The concern for being conceited or too posh, where does that come from?

Here we go again. It's about being too worried about others' opinions.

Think about it this way. Many of us have these concerns. You started off by talking about your strengths and when you're doing them, how you feel. You feel capable. You feel strong. It's something that you do with ease. When I ask you about the feedback that you get from others, people want you to use your talents. They ask you to. Yet, the concern that you have is, “I don't want them to think that I'm too good or that I'm too much, or that I have this big ego about it.” Yet, no one has given you that feedback. The idea of thinking about what other people think and allowing that to guide us, what is it from Beauty and the Beast? Tale as old as time. That happens a lot. Let's take a moment and take a look here, Felipe. What would it mean if people thought that about you when you're using your talent?

I would feel bad because if it's something that I like to do and maybe I bother people with that, I wouldn't like to continue doing it.

It's such a considerate thing to say. You care about people. You want them to have a good experience. You don't want to come across the wrong way. Yet, when was the last time you heard somebody tell you when you were doing something that you were talented or skillful at that you were rubbing them the wrong way?

Luckily, I have never listened to that.

It sounds like there's a little inner voice in you. If you remember, in one of our first calls, we talked about the ANTs, the gremlins, and the dragons. These are the voices in our heads. Those Automatic Negative Thoughts are there to help make a second guess. That's probably one of the most common things, Felipe, that I see as a tale as old as time because all of us do that.

In our society, we focus so much on what we do wrong and what other people do wrong. There's so much judgment. We evaluate everything. Everything is a thumbs up, thumbs down, or a frowning face. We automatically evaluate everything. We make it super easy for us to evaluate other people. The reality, sadly, is we also evaluate ourselves sometimes far more critically than other people evaluate us. I would invite you to look at why that voice in your head is running the show.

We evaluate ourselves sometimes far more critically than other people evaluate us.

They're called Automatic Negative Thoughts, ANTs. You got to kill the ants.

That’s easier said than done.

It's cultural too. If you're going to see somebody up there talking and they're doing something about it and practicing their talent, you are proud of that. If they have any comments, then maybe they go and practice and do it themselves. If you have a talent, you show it and be proud of it. It's not like you're bragging or whatever. Maybe you're helping other people.

You have to know. Maybe get a group of people and say, “If I'm coming across that way, let me know,” or go about your business. There are always going to be haters so you have to do what you're doing. You can't hide your talents because somebody doesn't like it. They need to pipe up and go do it themselves. You can't worry about so many of those things.

You can't hide your talents just because somebody doesn't like them.

Tell me your name.

This is Martha.

Thank you, Martha. We can't worry about those things. They do get in the way of us performing at our best. I can also hear from you, Martha, that having those Automatic Negative Thoughts, and all of us probably experienced them too, how do you get rid of them? What did you have to do to counteract that?

It's a journey. You don't get rid of them, but you have to recognize them. Try to tell yourself that that's what it is and try to counter it with something positive.

Can you give us an example?

Everybody's going to always have negative thoughts. That’s you personally. It’s like, “I can't do that. I'm not good enough. I don't know why I'm here. Why did I get chosen? They're probably not going to approve something,” or, “They're probably not going to let me do this,” or, “They're probably not going to see me.” It's in everybody's head all day long.

Every morning, you wake up and go be who you are. Think positive thoughts. You have to practice that muscle. You have to practice that saying to yourself. The more you practice it, the better you'll get to show courage and confidence. Nobody is going to do it for you. You have to do it yourself. You have to know those things. When you hear it come, say, “That's not what is. That's not right. That's not true.” Keep telling yourself and practice that.

I want to acknowledge you, Martha. I could hear the focus on being positive about yourself. It is an action to take to counter those thoughts or counter that negative perception that you might get from people. That’s very cool. Thank you. Felipe, how was that?

Thank you, Martha. It's all coming back to me. I remember our first conversation. It was related to that. It's an exercise, but it's easy to forget. You have to push yourself in order to keep doing it until you believe it and it becomes a bit more natural to you. Thank you for sharing that. I'll try to be more positive and do that.

Here's an exercise that might be helpful. Let's say these Automatic Negative Thoughts or these ANTs creep up. We could be like, “They don't exist. Delete. Let me create something new.” I would invite you to do the opposite. Write them down. Write down those thoughts that come to mind like, “I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm not good enough. I have never done this before. I don't have enough experience. I don't think my parents would like this. I don't think my husband would appreciate this.” Write them all down because there's something to be said for not resisting. That was one of our other talks. We talked about resistance. What we resist persists. We spend so much time and energy fighting against it that we also don't allow it to show up and inform us.

Automatic Negative Thoughts, although destructive, could be informative because then you know what you're dealing with. I'm not saying to write them down, memorize them, and internalize them. Write them down so that you can see, “Here are the challenges I'm having. That's the voice of my parents,” or “That's the voice of my spouse,” or “That's the voice of my friend.” That could inform you of the relationships that might be contributing to those thoughts so that you can then deal with those relationships in a more empowering way.

You might also find that those thoughts allow you to see, “This is the area of my life that I need to devote some attention to and some TLCs or some Tender Loving Care towards because I've neglected it. I don't feel like I know enough, but I haven't gotten education around it or haven't practiced it.” I would invite any of you on the call who are experiencing those Automatic Negative Thoughts to write them down.

I remember working with a client once. She had some pretty big goals that she wanted to accomplish and she kept bumping up some resistance. We were looking at, “What was this resistance?” I remember one of the exercises that was helpful for her was, “Talk about all the Automatic Negative Thoughts. What would people say or what would you say to yourself about this goal that you have?” She wrote them all down. She had twenty of them.

We talked about the gremlins or those seductive voices that tell us, “You're doing good. Don't work too hard. You're not getting paid enough to do this. They appeal to our ego.” I had her write those voices down too. The dragon is the voice that doesn't want to be disturbed and that is hiding the treasure. That's that voice that won't allow us to give things away. It's there to protect something. I had her write down, “What is this protecting? By not looking at this, by not pursuing this goal, or by not taking these actions, what are you keeping yourself from? What is it protecting?”

A lot of hers had something to do with she didn't want to experience failure. It was protecting her reputation or protecting her marriage. Once we saw all of those things, we could look at, “How much of these are true? How many of these are getting in the way? Let's fact-check them.” I offer that to you all because it's a way to empower yourself in dealing with those thoughts. Is that helpful, Felipe?

Yes, very much. Thank you.

It never ends. Who else has other comments or questions about embracing your talents? We've been talking about some of the things that get in the way of us expressing and utilizing our talents, owning them, mastering them, or giving them away.

It's Jeanie. How are you doing?

Good. How are you? Thanks for calling in.

I’m good.

What's on your mind?

I was thinking about what you were talking about and thinking about those things that hold me back. I think about where else it has shown up in my life. That's what helps me get past my own fear of stepping up into my power. Most of the time, that comes out of something that happened when I was a kid that had nothing to do with me but I made it mean something about me. This is a great conversation in terms of getting past that fear and stepping into your power.

Jeanie, would you be comfortable sharing an example of something that you noticed based on your childhood that has been impacting you as an adult and how you got rid of it or how you're managing it, or if not?

Perfection was a huge issue growing up because of my family dynamics and anything less than perfect was unacceptable. Perfection is not something that, as a human being, I could achieve. I spent a lot of my time feeling like I'd failed because I wasn't perfect. That was a big one to get past.

NQS | Owning Your Talents
Perfection is not something that a human being can achieve.

How did you go about getting past it, Jeanie?

Lots of therapy, lots of classes, and lots of training. A lot of self-reflection is important, and support from the people that you trust.

That's huge. I remember having a conversation. A friend of mine was sharing how it has taken years for her to get involved in her church the way she wanted to. The reason for that is because she had this idea, “I'm not going to do a good job. It's not going to be perfect. People are going to be upset or they're not going to like it.” When we started peeling back, “Where is that coming from? Where does that doubt come from?” She mentioned also her childhood as you did, Jeanie.

For most of us, if we look back and self-reflect, it's one thing to say it was just our childhood. We could say, “A lot of things happened in our childhood.” I would challenge you to look at what happened in your childhood. What was said or what was done that we then interpreted into something that for 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60 years has kept us locked?

In her case, she said that there was a comment that was made when she was very young, let's say 7 or 8 years old or something, about being dumb. I don't remember the context of where that comment came from, but she did something that her parent or an adult in the room thought was a dumb thing to do and said that.

Ever since then, she measures her actions or her steps by, “Will somebody think this is dumb? I got to make sure I do it perfectly because I don't want somebody to think that I'm dumb.” Can you imagine living that way for 40 years and the impact that has on our confidence, our courage, and our ability to live life fully? Jeanie, thank you for bringing that up. Don't take for granted that there are things that happen in our childhood. Most of the time, we interpret those things and give them a life of their own well past their expiration date.

I'm very mindful. I spent some time during the holidays with my family. There are a lot of young kids in our family. The youngest is 1 year old and the oldest is 16. I was hyperconscious as I was talking to them about the comments that I made. Especially in our family, we like to joke a lot. There's a lot of sarcasm that we throw around. Even the older ones with my brothers are sarcastic about things. You never know when somebody takes something that you may have said in jest or said to make fun, poke fun, or be funny. It runs down the road for 40 years with that message. There's a certain level of responsibility that we also need to take for the words that we use or the spirit in which we do the things that we do.

There's a certain level of responsibility that we need to take for the words that we use and for the spirit in which we do the things that we do.

As adults, definitely.

Is there anything else about that, Jeannie? Is there anything that you're dealing with that you're trying to shake off and expand?

Presentation fear, but I'm working on that with a friend of mine. That's going to get resolved soon, I'm sure.

Was that the fear of public speaking and presenting?


What did you notice was behind that fear?

People don't want to hear what I have to say, but they do. I'm getting past that.

How are you getting past that? What are you doing to get past it?

Toastmasters, dealing with friends who are very good at it like you, and paying attention to the content and the importance of the message.

Good for you. As gifted as I feel in being able to do this type of work, I have my moments. I'll be honest with all of you. Fifteen minutes before this call, I was like, “I don't know if this topic is that good. Are people even going to be interested? What if nobody says anything?” I should have come up with a more interesting topic.” I spent fifteen minutes trying to figure out, “I prepared all this stuff and I don't even know if it's that interesting. It's not sophisticated enough.”

You have to start somewhere.

I realized that one of the things that I did commit to is a regular practice of meditation. Whatever your mindful practice is, which is one of the reasons that I started off our call this way, it’s to get a little bit more comfortable with the inner workings of our minds in our bodies and, in many cases, to ignore it. The inner mind has a lot of wonderful tricks up its sleeves sometimes. When I sat in meditation prior to the call, which was a fifteen-minute meditation for me, I remember right before I went to the meditation, I had all these thoughts about the topic. I don't know.

I then spent some time in silence and said, “That OMG, I'm going to own it. I've been mastering it over many years, but then I'm also going to give it away.” I can't always control how you receive the gift, but I can control my willingness to give it freely. I'm grateful that those of you who are on the call are willing to receive it and apply it in the way that makes sense to you. If it doesn’t, that's okay too. You might find someone else that you talked to for whom it makes a difference.

Good work, Jeanie. I want to acknowledge and applaud you for taking the steps that you know you need to expand yourself. We have a limited span in this life. We all have an expiration date. As my dad likes to say, “We don't always know when the expiration date is.” It’s not pre-printed on our backs or something. It's not tattooed somewhere, which I don't know could help or hurt us if we knew. That's why I say this is time to come alive. It's time to expand those areas of ourselves that we've kept small, we've kept hidden, or we second guess. I appreciate you and all the things that you're doing, Jeanie, and everyone else on the call who may or may not have shared it to challenge yourself or expand yourself. We have time for one more comment or question. Who else would like to share?

This is Clarissa, and this is my first time joining.

Welcome, Clarissa.

I found it very helpful. I want to echo the feeling that Felipe felt and the last lady who spoke. There are things that we internalize at a young age when we're learning and taking cues from society or from people we value that were met innocently then but inadvertently impact us. Culturally, at least for me, being raised in South Texas from a traditional Mexican family, you don't want to come off so proud. You are taught humility in everything you do. That ends up resurrecting its head. You want to speak and you want to be perfect, and then at the same time, you don't want to come off so proud when you do it.

It has been enlightening for me to hear others share that perspective and the coaching that you were able to provide to how you speak to it and minimize it. One of the things that I found is to go and do it and accept imperfection. When I've done that, I have found that I've grown even more and it's even more well-received. I try to think about that when I'm faced with another challenge where I'm feeling timid to go back and say, “Being a woman of faith, God brought me through that. He will bring me through this.”

Thank you, Clarissa. That's huge to expand yourself. That’s what it takes. There's a book. Felipe, you brought up this book before. Do you want to tell them what the book is?

I remembered instantly about this book. It's called The Gifts of Imperfection recommended by Valerie Hope and written by Brené Brown. She's amazing. This book has so many examples. It talks a lot about embracing vulnerability. She also has great interviews with Oprah where you can learn more about it. Maybe they're the fastest ways for you to get in contact with the theme. Look it up. It's Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection. Whenever I'm trying to be that perfect, I remember some of the thoughts and some of the lessons from the book. I find myself trying to stop myself from doing a couple of things. Sometimes, I succeed. Sometimes, I don't. We are all in this together. I recommend it.

Thanks, Felipe. That’s an endorsement for Brené Brown there. Clarissa, thank you so much for bringing that up. The imperfect is also by design. You are a woman of faith. It sounds like your faith has guided you to do what you're here to do regardless of how others might perceive it. Clarissa, I have a quick question. How do you manage the conversation knowing that in your culture, your family, or your environment isn't how other people think? What do you do or say about that?

That's interesting. Around my work friends, a lot of whom are on this call, I'm my professional self, which has to be different in order to be successful. Around my family, people don't know what I do. I don't talk about my work. What I do try to do is seek out young family members, especially if they're young ladies, and try to inspire them, build them up, and celebrate their talents. I don't talk about what I do.

What's been the impact of that?

If people ask me in small quarters, I will tell them, but I feel like I don't need to. I like that. Whether I was the cashier or a major executive, I'm loved by my family and it doesn't necessarily matter.

Thank you, Clarissa, for sharing. To wrap up the topic, first of all, I want to thank everyone who shared your input and your vulnerability and shared with us what's been on your mind or how you've overcome or are starting to overcome some of these doubts, self-doubt, and fears. I remember a story by Stephen Covey who was the famed author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, a book that was written back in the ‘80s. He had a business partner whose name was Will Marre. Will Mare and I met several years ago. He's since passed. He was a wonderful mentor to me.

I remember him sharing a story where Stephen Covey and Will had established a Covey Leadership Center. They were the co-founders of the Covey Leadership Center. Stephen was usually the person who was in the front of the room providing the classes and facilitating the sessions whereas Will was the business mind. He was out marketing, bringing in the clients, and that sort of thing.

It happened that Stephen had to go away for a trip of some sort during a time when they were having a very important workshop. He asked Will to take over and do the workshop in his stead because Will knew the same information. They created the curriculum. They worked so intimately together so he was like, “You got this. Do you mind doing this for me?” Will was like, “Absolutely.”

When Stephen came back from his trip, he asked Will, “How did it go? How'd the session go?” Will was like, “I don't know. I worked on the same stories that you gave. I brought up some of the same points. I sharpened up what I was doing. I wanted to make sure I did my absolute best, but people didn't seem to engage with me or engage with the subject the way that I've seen them do it with you.” What I loved about that is that Stephen responded by saying, “You were so focused on showing your best self and doing your best, which is a wonderful trait. The challenge was that you were seeking to impress people, not to bless them.” The moral of the story is to seek to bless, not to impress.

NQS | Owning Your Talents
Owning Your Talents: Seek to bless, not to impress.

When we talk about owning our gifts and our talents, if it's about us looking good, avoiding looking bad, making an impression on people, or showing our worth, if there's any of that mixed in with what we're doing, we will get that feedback very quickly from other people. They will either disengage or criticize. There are all sorts of things in the mix.

One thing that we could do is embrace that we are here to give something away that was intimately and uniquely given to us. We all have a seed of potential within us. It's up to us to nurture, water it, and give it the light and air that it needs in order for it to blossom. That's what I want to leave you all with.

Thank you all so much for joining our time. It has been great talking and sharing with you. We do these calls every week, Tuesdays at 8:45 Central Time. I'm based in Dallas, Texas. Please join me on LinkedIn or Facebook. If you have more questions, feel free to reach out to me. My website is If you have additional comments or questions, I'd love to hear from you. I’ll see you all soon.

Thank you. Bye.

Bye, everybody. Thank you.

Important Links

Thanks to the global crowd who made "Time to Come Alive" on Tuesday's weekly coaching session!

Shout out to the United States, Brazil, and Argentina among others.

This week:

  • Hear personal stories about challenging societal norms and cultural expectations that often fuel self-doubt, inspiring a journey toward self-acceptance.

  • Learn the concept of Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) and the impact they have on personal growth.

  • "Seeking to bless, not to impress": Explore the power of authenticity and a genuine desire to positively contribute to others.

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