Research Paper By Tracy Coan
(Creativity Coaching, UNITED STATES)
Dictionary.com defines “great” this way:
- unusually or comparatively large in size or dimensions
- large in number; numerous
- unusual or considerable in degree, power, intensity, etc.
- wonderful; first-rate; very good
- being such in an extreme or notable degree.
When you think of gifts of greatness, think of gifts that are very large in size or number, unusual or considerable in power and intensity. Think of wonderful gifts, first-rate gifts, and gifts of extreme or notable degree. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Would you like to have gifts like those? Most of us would.
Here’s the good news. You already have those Gifts of Greatness. So do your clients. They aren’t found outside or in a store. They are found within your calling, your passions, your dreams, and your desires. They are the things that wake you up at night. They are the things that follow you around whispering and enticing you to imagine what could happen if you just tried. They are the soul and spirit of who you are.
It takes courage to meet your Gifts and allow them out to play. One of my favorite quotes by Anais Nin says
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
That is the moment when your Gifts refuse to lay dormant any longer. They simply must be let out. She also said,
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
Are you brave enough to step into the Gifts of your Greatness? Brave enough for a large, full life?
As young children, many of us know our greatness. It is who we are. There is no hesitation in the wonderful spirit about us and the dreams we have. At that tender age, we believe the world is ours for the taking. And we are correct.
Then something changes. We find labels and adopt them, carry them as our own. We accept them and feel their weight. Others decide who we are and who we aren’t. When sharing their dreams, children are told “that’s nonsense”, or “you aren’t an artist”, or “why don’t you do something practical”, or “that will never pay your bills”, “when are you going to grow up and settle down?” After a period of time, we begin to believe those things. We begin to believe we aren’t enough. Or maybe we’re too much. We are too fat, too thin, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not athletic enough, or don’t make enough money. Maybe we are labeled clumsy, flaky, unfocused, and “not the brightest bulb.” What happens to those precious Gifts when we assume these labels? They simply get put away, buried, or forgotten.
What does like look like when you are not living in your Greatness? You exist. You don’t really live. You amble through a sedated life on automatic pilot. You become your labels. At times you may wonder if this is all there is, then quickly go back to your day to day life, marking time until the next “should” comes along. Sometimes, this life leaves a nagging feeling deep within you. You start to feel like something else might be there. Restlessness sets in, but you aren’t sure why. Your normal activities become unsatisfying.
The question becomes how do you interrupt this bland existence? The first thing is that you must realize you ARE gifted with greatness. No question about it. You have the ability and makeup to do amazing things and to live a life of passion. Go wake up your greatness. Seek it out. Call for it. It will answer you. It always does.
As coaches, our clients often arrive when their Greatness is trying to wake up. This is an exciting moment to be a coach. Reintroducing our clients to their greatness is one of the best honors I can imagine. We have the privilege of walking with them through a part of this process. The outcome is like an ongoing ripple effect. Once they have met their Gifts again, it’s challenging to ever go back to a sedated life. When they choose to live fully in their Gifts of Greatness, they give courage to others who are just beginning to feel that stirring. It’s exciting to witness.
How do people step fully into their Gifts of Greatness? There are as many ways as there are people. Each person carries their own unique gifts within them, as well as their own unique way of reaching them. Some gifts are large and loud, while others are quiet and gentle. What matters most is what the client chooses to embrace and enjoy.
Here’s a beautiful story Benjamin Zander shared in his book, The Art of Possibility. He described an event in which a teacher gently stepped into her Gift of Greatness and led her students into their own.
A little girl in second grade underwent chemotherapy for leukemia. When she returned to school, she wore a scarf to hide the fact that she had lost all her hair. But some of the children pulled it off, and in their nervousness laughed and made fun of her. The little girl was mortified and that afternoon begged her mother not to make her go back to school. Her mother tried to encourage her, saying,