Bright Apple Sunshine is all about sharing moments which make our lives brighter, make us smile or laugh or cry or think. People, places, experiences, ideas – big or small – which remind us to be grateful for each day and celebrate every good and perfect gift from above.
With this in mind, I am opening my blog with a series on a few of my favorite moments from the past year. Today…
Favorite personal insight: Bill Hendricks – The Giftedness Center, Dallas
“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” – Louisa May Alcott
About 4 years ago I started actively seeking out more balance in my life – reaching toward the sunshine for my highest aspirations. Driven by a desire to create more space for adventure, meaning and creative projects, I began a quest to re-discover who I’m created to be, what I’m really about and who I want to be for others.
I took cool photography workshops, attended Storyline conference (three times… because it’s inspiring and I really believe the process makes a difference), swam-cycled-ran in a sprint tri (read sprint – very short!), safari-ed in Tanzania, planned an inaugural “sibs trip” with my brother, expanded friendships, read a zillion books about figuring out your purpose in life, shifted volunteer commitments from one area to another, participated in a 9-month leadership course through work, hired a life coach and have since formed a trusted team of advisors – some professional, others friends and colleagues, both formal and informal – the latest addition, the remarkable Bill Hendricks.
I’ve been reminded of a couple of important lessons along the way.
1) Sometimes we need to ask for help.
Seeking help is not always my favorite thing. I’m pretty independent. Learning – great! Asking someone for help – blech! In hindsight, it’s really the same thing. I find the gravitational pull of day-to-day life, of my ingrained business as usual pattern so strong, it takes support not only to pull out but also to sustain a breakthrough. And there is something much more satisfying about sharing the journey with friends.
2) Sometimes the answer isn’t a finite destination; many times the answer is the journey – the story itself.
I am a big advocate of Donald Miller’s “living a better story” concept, in fact I just returned from the Storyline conference in San Diego… more about Storyline coming soon!
But the biggest Ah-ha moment for me in the last year came through my experience with Bill Hendricks and his Giftedness Portrait®. Bill is a giftedness consultant who has worked with thousands of business and community leaders, students, parents, and non-profits around discovering their natural giftedness. At the office, we partner with a consulting firm, Gap International, who calls this your “genius.”
Bill says, “The Giftedness Portrait® is like having your own personal ‘owner’s manual’ describing how you do life. It explains what you were designed to do, what you need to do your best, who you need around you to be effective, and what kinds of work and other activities will prove most rewarding.”
The unique thing about Bill’s process is he uses your life story to discover your natural giftedness, rather than a test or an inventory. Then he works with you to harness the power of your giftedness.
All of the sudden a lot of things made sense about why I was struggling to create space for some of the priorities in my personal life. (And while work is personal, too – it’s me whether I’m at home or the office – I’ll use personal for the sake of delineating my life outside the office here.) The ideal conditions for motivation existed in my work environment, but not in other areas. Now I had the insight to create them.
The feedback also helped clarify my “best use,” my unique contribution and understand where to focus to make the biggest impact. For me, I think of it like spending more time in the pool rather than on the track. I’m a swimmer, not a runner. While I could practice to improve my running, I would never be a natural and it would take a lot more time and effort to see progress (and I speak from experience). Contrast that with the same amount of effort expended in the pool and I make great strides. Swimming comes as naturally as breathing. (Ummm… when I take the time to do it. I hope my trainer isn’t reading this…)
In college I was friends with a very bright Chemical Engineering major. Her labs sounded like torture to me. One day she asked me about an upper level Communications course I was taking. Much to my surprise, she said in a horrified tone, “That sounds really hard – almost like you’re speaking a foreign language.” Huh?! Here’s the thing, I’m sure we both could have succeeded in the other’s major… but it may have involved a lot of unnecessary blood, sweat and tears.
Where can we make the biggest impact? As Storyline asked last week, “What will the world miss if we do not tell our stories?”
Let me be clear. The Giftedness Portrait did not give me all the answers. I still have to do the work, but better understanding how I am wired and motivated is encouraging. The time with Bill provided insight and confidence to enact change and I’ve invited Bill on the journey for accountability, inspiration and wisdom.
It took me 4-5 months to absorb everything before I called back for my follow-up coaching session and now I schedule a consulting call with Bill every 2-3 months to help me stay on track. Thanks, Bill!!
So, the journey to live a better story continues… an amalgamation of people, experiences, learning and insight. What is your journey, your sunshine, your highest aspiration?
Other tools and inspiration making a difference for me:Share