In my last article, I wrote about becoming aware of things that are hidden in plain sight, things we’re so accustomed to that we stop seeing them.
That increased awareness of what’s right in front of us is really just the first step. The next step, the bigger step, is to go digging for what’s hidden from sight.
I know this can be a bit scary. There’s a saying that goes, “If you go digging, you’re going to find dirt.”
Yes, you are. But you’ll also find treasure, especially when you’re digging into your own psyche. Because that’s what I’m taking about doing: Digging into your own psyche to find the treasure you buried away.
What is this treasure that you’ve buried away? It’s usually one of your greatest strengths: your creativity, your broad perspective, your turning everything into a story, your ability to spot flaws, your restless innovative spirit.
It may sound crazy that you’d bury away your own greatest strength. But I’ve seen it time and again in my clients and even in myself. Why? It’s usually because this gift that sets us apart is often misunderstood, unappreciated or outright criticized by other people.
When I insisted that a client’s ability to spot flaws is actually a gift, she argued, “How can it be a gift if no one gets it or appreciates it?”
Just because something isn’t understood or appreciated by others doesn’t mean it isn’t a gift to be mastered.
With this client, her ability to spot flaws has saved her company money and embarrassment by getting to fix the flaws before a product launch. Do her husband, kids, friends and colleagues like it that she’s always pointing out what’s wrong? No. In fact, she’s lost relationships over her hyperawareness of flaws. And that’s why she buried this gift.
Rather than keep the gift buried, I suggested that she dig it up and master it. Mastery involves using this gift in a way that allows her to keep and ideally even strengthen her relationships. Instead of always looking for flaws, she is playing with putting a filter on the gift in certain situations, such as in her relationships.
But she has to take that filter off and all the gift to come forward in order to feel happy and fulfilled. She understands this fact because she was deeply unhappy and restless when she was keeping the gift buried.
Digging up your gift doesn’t mean you have to use it all the time. Constant innovation can make you feel unsettled. Turning everything into a story can make people lose interest in what you’re saying.
Keeping a perpetually broad perspective can keep you flying in circles, missing the details and avoiding making decisions.
A more effective way to master your gift is to find the right outlet for it. Instead of pointing out your spouse’s personal flaws, use your gift while editing, doing the books, organizing, or applying Feng Shui to a room. Instead of losing focus by constantly reinventing the wheel, schedule some time during which you can go crazy innovating and creating.
So, how can you dig up your buried treasure, your unique gift?
You may already know what it is just from reading this article. If you don’t, or if you’re still rejecting it as a gift, then journal about these four questions.
- What comes easily and naturally to me?
- What energizes me and really lights me up?
- What has made me feel special and different from other people?
- What has made me feel separate and disconnected from other people?
Don’t censor yourself while answering these questions. Just let the words flow, and write down anything and everything that comes to you.
After you’ve answered all four questions (by the way, that last one is key), read your responses and pick out the patterns and the themes. Follow that thread, and you’ll find your gift—or gifts.
Give your gift a name, something that feels empowering and inspiring. The Fixer of Flaws. The Seer of Infinite Possibilities. The Weaver of Stories. This is like your superpower. I call it your Soulpower. So create a name you’d be proud to wear on your chest.
Now claim your gift, your Soulpower (e.g., “I am the Seer of Infinite Possibilities”) and use it. Even if people don’t understand, even if you get criticized, keep at it. Mastery takes practice.
About the Author, Kelly Eckert
Kelly Eckert is an author, professional speaker, and shamanic leadership coach. She is a graduate of Harvard College with a bachelor's degree in biological anthropology and Tufts Graduate School of Arts and Sciences with a master's degree in biology.
Kelly is a certified MentorCoach® and a certified coach member of the International Coach Federation. She is the creator of the Fear Releasing Method™ and Coaching with Animal Archetypes™. Kelly speaks nationally and internationally on the topics of fear and unleashing the animal within. Her latest book, What's Your Spirit Animal?, is now available. Find out more at kellyeckert.com.