Tell Me Something Good

Each week at work I send an email out to all of our employees (a couple thousand folks across the US) with highlights from around the country of what people are working on, milestones we’re celebrating, and updates from our industry. We also feature one employee each week that has been nominated by his/her peers. This has become one of the highlights of my week because it allows me the opportunity to get to know so many people in our organization, most of whom I will never get to meet in person, and to introduce these wonderful people to everyone else in the company.
 
Everyone gets the same questionnaire to fill out, which always starts with, “Tell us about a special talent or hobby you have.” It’s incredible how uncomfortable that question makes people. (I am not immune to the discomfort having turned down nominations to be featured myself, because I don’t want to fill out a questionnaire about myself. And as editor, publisher, and lone writer of my company’s lil’ publication, that is my prerogative.)
 
The responses to that question usually go in one of three ways: “I am not good anything,” “I am not good at anything interesting,” “My kids are good at (fill in the blank) and I like to watch.” And I get it. I really, really do. As far back as I can remember about myself, I have been uncomfortable saying out loud, with my mouth, the things at which I excel or that I am just plain ol’ good at. I’m afraid it will come out sounding self-absorbed, silly, or God forbid, delusional.
 
But, at some point, we have to stop believing that we’re not good at anything or that we’re not good at anything interesting (which is just another way of saying we don’t think other people would value it). We’re all interesting. We’re all good at something. We all have a story to tell.
 
We have a responsibility to share our gifts with each other. It’s a form of service. It’s a form of gratitude. It raises the collective potential of what we can do together. And it starts with admitting what you’re good at, out loud. Me, I’m good at connecting people. I can always think of at least one person that needs to meet another person because one has a solution to the other’s problem; they both have the same problem and could maybe find the solution together; or I just think they would make great friends. 
 
When we deny ourselves that experience of acknowledging our talents, we diminish their value and we unconsciously lose opportunities to help others, ones who could benefit from knowledge, a gift, or talent that we possess, that they need or are wanting to learn.
 
So now I have a request. I want to hear what you think you are good at. Will you email me (you can reply to this email directly or email me at kate at aimingforokay dot com)? Or you can post a comment below if you’re courageous enough (which, by the way, you are).
 
You will be helping me by showing me what it looks like to own your talents and your gifts. You will be helping me stay accountable to my commitment to own my own talents and gifts. I won’t share what you send me. I’m not collecting it for any purpose other than as further proof to myself of how many wonderful, insanely talented people there are in this world and how fortunate I am to somehow be connected to them.
 
The only rule is that you have to send/post it without judgement. No qualifying, no I’m good at X, but…” Say it with conviction. Say it like it is the truest thing in the world. 
It is.

I look forward to agreeing with you soon.