Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What you love is what you are gifted at - Barbara Sher

My dear friend Jennifer has created a fabulous website aimed at women called Femcentral - filled with resources for women and their health, relationships, careers- emotional and spiritual needs- http://www.jenniferlshelton.com. Several weeks ago she featured a video clip by a woman named Barbara Sher about mapping out your life, particularly the second half of your life if you happen to be in my age group. I had never heard of Barbara Sher before but it turns out she is somewhat of an icon in the career coaching, find your way movement; a life coach before they were known as such. The message of clip has stayed with me for weeks and I have shared it with friends.

The bottom line premise is simple - what you love is what you are gifted at, there is no other way to know who you are. According to Barbara, every single one of us is born with a gift, a unique vision of the world. We need to find our inner genius. If we can tap into that, our path in life is so much richer. Discovering, or in many cases, remembering what we love is more powerful than any other tool you an use to find your way.

Unfortunately, that is not always the message that we get from parents, teachers and others who influence us- she said imagine being a little artist born into a family of lawyers...they will wonder when the child will stop scribbling on the floor and get on with picking a career. Conversly, imagine the little lawyer born into the family of artists- he or she would be seen as obnoxious, argumentative and probably sent to therapy.

I have heard the message before that you should do what you love, follow your bliss and find out what "you are good at." Interestingly, you can be good at many things that you do not love; that don't tap into your passion. The message that I took from her work is that if you really want to thrive and adore your work - you know some people really do- then you have to find a way to figure it out. What is it that you truly love? When are you so in the "zone" that you forget what time it is? It is the most accurate guidepost that we have in life to find our way. The cynic in me says, but what about reality - who is going to pay you to read or bake or fight for chidren, meet new people, thow a party or write or train or speak...wait a second maybe there is something to this!

The other lesson for me from Barbara's work was about my kids and how darn careful I have to be to not make assumptions about the path their lives should take. I could assume Lily will end up in law because of her tendency to argue and negotiate. However, she also loves music, especially the piano and cello and lately she has been spending her evenings reading and writing very imaginative and colorful short stories. Avery is a gentle soul who loves to draw and is a whiz at math. She also is an instinctive caretaker who has a "wild heart" or way with animals. Who knows what my daughters will discover that they love. My task is to keep an open mind, encourage them to try new things and stay out of the way as they find their path.

What you love is what you are gifted at; there is no other way to know who you are...

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