Have you ever done something that you considered normal or 'no big deal' only to find yourself on the receiving end of heartfelt gratitude from another? Have you ever done something that seemed insignificant to you that rocked someone else's world? Likely you have, and just as likely you've likely said or thought something like “Oh, it's no big deal” or “really is was nothing” discounting the experience.
The other day, huddled around the ranch equivalent of the water-cooler (a.k.a. the hay stack) with my four-legged co-workers, I was thinking how amazing each of them are. How naturally and confidently they own their strengths and gifts, effortlessly using them to create amazing experiences for the people we work with. How easy it appeared when they shared profound wisdom, awareness and insights with clients. And I have to admit, I found myself a little envious of the ease in which all this seems to naturally occur for them.
Lost in my thoughts around this I gently brushed the last of the winter coat from Princess when she turned her head to look at me. I glanced over and our eyes met in a gaze I've come to recognize as a pre-cursor to a profound moment. Anticipating what was to come, in my heart I heard her say “Your ordinary is your extraordinary.”
As the meaning of those words sunk in, the wandering of my thoughts ceased. Images, feelings, and knowing entered my heart and mind as I grasped the power of that statement. I realized that when we come from our place of authentic self, what seems normal and ordinary to us, often seems extraordinary to others.
For each of my horses, just like myself, our greatest gifts and contributions to others often come in what might seem easy or effortless acts to us, yet are experienced as amazing or profound by others. And then I realized the deep rabbit hole my envy was taking me down. For in the envy of another's gifts I discount the value of mine.
Within the act of discounting, we engage in some of the greatest acts of disservice to ourselves. We diminish our value in our own eyes, adding to or creating issues of low self-esteem, self-worth, and self-acceptance. These acts are far from benign. They're acts of self-sabotage and self-defeat that put our authentic power in shackles.
Often, attempting to counteract the negative results of discounting, we seek to make it up to ourselves by:
working to become exactly like someone we admire. In the process we become a mini-version of someone else in their full power. Not only does this cause a split-personality as your true self screams for recognition, it also gives your power away to a false persona.
learning new skills to prove ourselves. Often these skills aren't necessary or in direct conflict with our innate gifts and abilities. Learning can be empowering, but only when done for the right reasons. For instance you probably don't need just one more certification, one more class, or one more “magic bullet”. What you need is what you already have. Use it!
putting aside the person we truly desire to be and create an “acceptable, for public consumption” version of ourselves. This results in shaming and shunning who we truly are and putting our authentic self in solitary confinement away from the world, and even more sadly away from ourselves – the very lifeblood that creates us.
Each of these things takes us further down the rabbit hole.
So, exactly how do you recognize the ordinary that is your extraordinary? How do you stop the self-sabotaging act of discounting and turn it into a powerful energy that feeds you? Here are three things that make a world of difference:
Put yourself on notice. Take note each time you do something for someone and they express heartfelt gratitude and excitement for what they just received from you. What was it you did? How did you feel while doing it? Did it come naturally or seem like a lot of effort? If you're discounting it, likely it felt effortless and therefore easy to dismiss.
Acknowledge what you did. It may seem small or insignificant to you, because it just naturally happens. Often we think because it comes easy to us, it's easy for everyone. Not true! Take a moment and recognize what you just did as part of your extraordinary!
Own it! Over time as you notice and acknowledge your ordinary that is extraordinary you'll see patterns and potential, even new found strengths and abilities that you've overlooked before. The more you witness, acknowledge and own them, the more you give life to them. These are your traits, strengths, talents, and gifts that set you apart from others.
Whether it's writing, speaking, leading, cooking, gardening, or the ability to know when to listen and when to speak – take notice! Own your ordinary and make it your extraordinary! You're here because the world needs the real YOU – your unique extraordinary!