[Editor's note: this is a re-post from November 2010. Part of a series of year-end posts I write each year. When we migrated to the new site design, all the old posts were archived.]
Confetti! Fireworks! Hooray! Huzzah!
This has been a goal of mine for several years, and I'm beyond thrilled that it's finally happened. It was a lot more challenging than I expected, and I've learned a lot along the way. As my channel grows I've developed a love and strong respect for the YouTube community. If you're on YouTube, please say hi and spread the love. Your awesomeness makes this show possible.
I was on a coaching call with a client this week and we spent a good amount of time talking about how hard it can be to shine brightly when everyone around you is complaining about your light.
"You're too bright."
"Can you turn it down a little?"
"You're always so enthusiastic about [topic]. I'm tired of it."
While occasional constructive criticism is important (when you work with me, I'm not afraid to give it to you straight), it's also important to remember that you've got Divinely-given gifts that are uniquely yours to bring into the world.
Shout it out! Tell everyone about your brand. Heck, have your brand name printed out onto face masks, hoodies, pens or mugs if necessary. Don’t hide them away; be proud of who you are and what you have achieved.
Often times, we're put down, or we feel guilty about being so awesome. And even if you're shy and reserved, it can be tough to deal with the criticism and "baggage" others want to foist on you when you're sharing your gift with the world. It often results in being overgenerous as a means to counter the criticism, to be liked, or to "apologize" for your existence.
Been there, done that.
You don't need to apologize for being awesome. We all shine in our own way, and yes, some of us are called to shine "brighter" or to a "bigger" audience (remember: size is relative. If it's your dream, it's big. Period.). That doesn't make us any more (or less) needed in the world.
Sometimes we're put in a position where we shine brighter than the folks around us because they need to get used to having more light in their lives. This isn't a statement of arrogance. Most of the awesomely talented people I know didn't ask to be awesome. They just are. But the amount of guilt they feel and crap they take for being so shiny is overwhelming. I'm reminded of the crawdads in a bucket that keep pulling each other back down so that no one escapes.
You don't have to make your light any less bright. That's what sunglasses and window shades are for. People can choose to be around you and they can choose to leave. This is a lesson I'm learning myself. For YEARS I have felt the need to dim my own light because the people around me couldn't deal with how shiny I am. I never asked to shine. I was born with these gifts, and while I've honed them over the years, it was never in an attempt to be better than anyone other than myself.
It's not your job to diminish your light. Your job is to shine your light into the world. (Click to tweet this)
There are plenty of people in the world who are afraid of the light. Heck, even Plato wrote about it in his Allegory of the Cave. But here's the thing:
Just because other people are afraid of the light, or judge the light, or shun the light, doesn't mean that you need to take it personally.
When I walk into my bedroom and flip on the light, sometimes my husband grumps about it. My light bulb doesn't get all defensive and start apologizing for being bright. That's what light bulbs do, for pity's sake! And while I might apologize for causing my husband pain, I rarely apologize for turning on the light because I needed the light to see. Don't apologize for your needs. Apologizing for your needs equates to saying "I'm not worthy of having my needs met. I'm sorry for my existence."
Word choices can be tricky, eh? But I've said this many times in the past: you train people how to treat you based on what you've come to accept from them and what they've come to expect from you. If you're constantly apologizing for your existence, then, Houston, YOU have a problem.
Katy Perry sang an inspiring song that confirms that the only way to shine is to ignite yourself:
"You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July"
I think it's safe to say that if you don't ignite yourself - and let yourself shine - it's improbable that anyone else will do it for you.
On the surface, Independence Day is about celebrating my country's establishment as a sovereign nation. It's become the high holy day of picnics, beach fun, and fireworks.
But at the core, it's a symbol to embrace what matters most to you, hold it out for the world to see, and stand your ground. Do you think the British were particularly pleased? Hardly. They fought us for several years before and after we claimed our independence.
You'll probably face a few battles of your own (both internal and external ones). That's to be expected. As several great minds (including William Lamb and Stan Lee) once said, "with great power comes great responsibility." Being awesome ain't always easy, but you've got it in you to handle it!
Need a little extra incentive?
Our Independence Week edition of Creative Freedom brings us a special "guest appearance" - this time by Katy Perry. It's a friendly reminder to own your awesomeness.
What are you awesome at? Go on! Toot your own horn (I dare you)! How have you been holding back your awesomeness? Do you know someone else that's letting their light shine "brighter than the moon"? Share your stories, thoughts, and ideas in the comments.
If you or someone you know could use this information, please share us with them and be part of our Rising Tide! Every share helps. THANK YOU!
OH, BTW... Des is coming back from California this week, so look for new videos in the 300 songs project soon! YAY!
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