“When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you.” ~ Walter Payton
Our greatness, when reflected back to us, can be overwhelming.
We often don’t realize the impact we have on others, even when we’re just being ourselves. Who we are matters and what we do matters.
I was at a birthday party recently and the guest of honor was showered with accolades, poems, stories, and reflections on how she made a difference in so many lives. She shared, with a voice full of gratitude and tears, how all of this was very difficult to accept and embody. However, since she trusted us to tell the truth, she would do her best to open up and accept it all and allow the fullness of her impact to sink in.
I was moved by her honesty, openness, and authenticity. I’ve felt the same thing myself, but instead of sharing how difficult it was to take in, I just slapped a smile on my face and went numb. It wasn’t until much later (when I was alone and could process things) that I allowed myself to soak in the experience.
But in the meantime, I robbed myself of the opportunity to have a peak experience in the moment and I robbed the giver of being able to fully show my appreciation and gratitude for the emotional gifts that had come to me.
When you’re greatness has been reflected back to you, how have you responded?
Did you deflect by minimizing the value of your impact or the importance of the event? Did you deflect by focusing on the other person instead? Did you change the subject? Or maybe you said “Thank You” but didn’t bother to explain how significant (or even uncomfortable) this reflection made you feel, robbing both parties of a deeper and more meaningful interaction.
Oh, how we love to play small and discount our talents and our impact!
I think we are worried that we’ll become ‘stuck up’ or we’ll get ‘too big for our britches,’ or we’ll let all of the accolades go to our head. So we deny, deflect, and discount.
I don’t know about you, but I know myself well enough by now to know that it’s not my nature to put myself on a pedestal. Or to think I’m better than anyone no matter how much glory others want to bestow on me. So, I just need to lean into the discomfort (and be honest about it) and appreciate that my passion and my path has helped me inspire others. That’s what I’m here for after all.
What are you here for? How has your greatness been reflected back to you?
And you don’t need to wait for a birthday party. Take some time this week to reflect back over your life. Remember the times people have reached out to you and let you know how much you’ve meant in their lives. Have you saved any Thank You cards? Or emails that spoke about the value you added to someone?
Make a list this week of those people you’ve inspired or uplifted or mentored or guided with your greatness. Write these down and bask in the lusciousness of seeing yourself as others see you.
You might need to put on your sunglasses because the reflection may be so bright!
Janet Kingsley is an effective 'Belief Change Expert' who helps clients transform frustration to focus, confusion to clarity, and self-doubt to self-confidence.