Sad and true story.
I posted this nearly 7 years ago, but it’s even more valid today. I had to share this again as this is something I’ve seen so many people struggle with this year, more than ever. I hope it inspires you to live a bit lighter and brighter!
Flashback to 2014:
I was on my way home from a TED event, feeling so inspired, motivated, and in love with life and all the beautifully passionately talented people in it. I learned so much on that day and was grateful to have been a part of a day where people told their stories about their passions, skills, and knowledge. On the train home I met a woman who had just come from the same event. We got to talking, and I felt a little crack in my heart get bigger and bigger as the talk continued. She said the day’s events made her sad. I asked why. She said “Because I can’t do ANY of those things they all talked about.” And then we got to talking about that. A lot. (I nearly missed my stop over an hour later.)
I asked her why she felt she needed to be good at those things she heard. She thought about it and said she didn’t really know why. I asked her if she felt being good at all those things she heard would make her life more meaningful. She said she wasn’t sure. I asked her if she felt that she herself, as a person, maybe felt that she had nothing to offer the world. “Yes!, she said. “I have no special skills to share.” Bingo.
In order to feel that your story has value, you first have to realize that YOU have value.
Let me share with you what I shared with her. It’s called my D.I.G. Method©. It’s simple, and it might just be a game-changer for you.
- Make a list of all the things you’re not good at. Don’t be shy – let it rip. Make a looooong list. What do you suck at? What do you find challenging? What do you hate doing because it’s too hard?
- Now give that list to someone (in a workshop recently people had to do this with a stranger – feel free to do so or ask someone you know), and have that person read that list back to you, slowly and carefully.
- For each item you hear on that list, you can do 3 things: 1. Delegate it to someone else 2. Improve it with strategies, if it will contribute to a meaningful life 3. Gracefully let it go, if it doesn’t contribute to a meaningful life.
Let me give you some examples from my own life. I was smart enough to build a career around the few things that I’m really, really good at and completely passionate about. However, there are hundreds of things that I suck at. Here’s some of them:
- I cannot parallel park (“fileparkeren” in Dutch)
- I do not know how to work in Excel
- I cannot read a map
- I can’t play the piano well
- I cannot flip an omelette
- I make typos and have to Google new words
- I cannot drive (safely!) at night
- etc, etc, etc. (Oh, I could go on for hours.)
This is how I applied my D.I.G. Method© to myself:
- I don’t need to learn how to parallel park. Having this skill will not make my life more meaningful. Just maybe a bit more convenient. I Gracefully let it go. Just kissed it goodbye and stopped worrying about it. I always drive to a parking garage and walk to my appointment. This means extra exercise and sunshine (and sometimes rain). It’s just how I live now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
- I have a super-smart team around me that puts my info into Excel for me (I Delegated). They get to do what they are good at – organizing my life – and everybody wins.
- Not being able to read a map means I get to talk to attractive strangers on the street who show me where I need to go. Sometimes they walk with me and we become friends. Once I had a police escort. This lack of map-reading skills has really made my life kind of awesome. (I Gracefully let it go.)
I’ve used this often in my coaching sessions and wow – the results are astonishing. People often feel clearer and lighter when we do this simple exercise together. Please stop beating yourself up about not being good at everything. You don’t have to be. Let someone else shine by giving them the chance to do it for you. When you really focus on improving the skills you need to have a meaningful life, this incredible sense of joy and clarity takes up the space that was once filled with worry and low self-esteem. Try it, and let me know how it goes!
Wit lof from Buffi x