As she opened the wad of wrapping paper that her son with his small hands did his best to tape together, the young lad’s entire body was squirming with anticipation. Those small hands over a number of weeks during art class had formed, shaped, painted and glazed the great surprise that was taking his mom far too long to reveal! It was hard to determine who was more excited when the lovingly crafted coffee mug began to emerge from its wrap. The giver and receiver embraced, overwhelmed with the joy of the gift.
“May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.” – attributed to Mother Teresa.
Every young person that I have worked with over the last number of decades has heard me say multiple times, “You are uniquely created. You have been uniquely gifted. Those gifts are meant to be shared with others.” At the core of my being I believe that if each of us could fully embrace both in ourselves and in all others those three fundamental truths our world would be a more healthy, hopeful place.
Imagine if each of us were given the opportunity to become clear about our particular gifts. Imagine if each of us took the opportunity and the responsibility to walk with others in helping them gain clarity of their giftedness. And then imagine if all of us felt both empowered and encouraged to use our unique gifts in our own unique way. Can you imagine what the world would be like if all of us were encouraged and embraced in this way, and we fully used our gifts? “We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.” – Mary Dunbar
The best leaders I have served with are the ones who created a space that promoted individuals’ gifts to surface. Likewise, these same leaders created a culture that encouraged all to be intentional about stretching their gift’s capacity. Leading in this way meant the leader almost always lead not from the front but from the center or around the edges making room for others to fully utilize their particular giftedness. All felt valued, all felt utilized; the giver, the receivers, the world was changed for the better.
“Blessed be those who have loved you into becoming who you were meant to be…blessed be the gifts you (would have) never noticed”… John O’Donohue.