What is That Gift For You?
The other day, on the way out the door to school, my daughter Nova was singing, "Mr Sun, Sun, Mr Golden Sun, Please shine down on me!" She interrupted herself mid-way and said, "But he can't shine down on me, because he has to shine down on ALL of us!"
And I thought, if that isn't a prayer, I don't know what is.
This morning, let's pause for a moment, close our eyes and ask the sun to shine down on ALL of us. 🙏🏽☀️
This week during a long catch-up chat with a friend, we talked about leadership - how we perceive it vs what it can mean in our lives. When we think about leadership or leaders, we often think of official roles, like a boss, manager or an elected official. Someone who is a leader because they were formally assigned that role.
But leadership is actually about the capacity to translate vision into reality (as defined by Warren Bennis, a pioneer in leadership research). The truth is, anyone can be a leader.
I heard Agapi Stassinopoulos (Arianna Huffington's sister and an inspirational speaker) say on a podcast this week that we all have a role to play in sharing what we learn with our fellow humans. It is how we elevate the collective, by continuously sharing our insights with one another vs keeping our learnings, wisdom and increased levels of understanding to ourselves.
I would go one step further and say that maybe it is actually our responsibility as a human being to be a leader. If not us, then who? Not to over-simplify things, but if we don't step into that role for our fellow humans, someone else always will and we've seen that often it's for all the wrong reasons.
Being a leader doesn't mean we have to gather people beneath us or give unsolicited advice or call people out when we don't agree. I believe being a leader means leading with our gifts. It means taking the best, strongest parts of ourselves and generously sharing them with our family, community and the world.
This is just a tiny example, but since I was a child, I have always loved writing. Writing was never what I did full time, but whenever I came back to it, I felt at home. When I would write about my insights and perceptions as I navigated through life's challenges and share it, I'd often get emails back, thanking me for sharing or for inspiring someone in even a small way.
No one asked me to write and share. I wasn't hired to write a column. There are already plenty of pedigreed experts out there. All I did was offer what was inside of me. Over time, I came to realize that my ongoing search for meaning and sharing my gift of writing is one way I can lead.
What is that gift for you? No need to overthink it - maybe you are amazing at creating playlists, or cooking or seeing the good in people or making people feel safe. Whatever it is, how would you approach it differently if you saw it as a responsibility to share?
What if everyone shared their gifts more generously?
“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
– J.K. Rowling
Kena Paranjape, Founder, All You Are