“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?'”
— George Bernard Shaw
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you’re lucky enough to experience a rare occurrence where your natural gifts and skills lend themselves to a moment of grace, you experience a profound change. It can feel mysterious and awesome all at the same time. The key is to discover and nurture your natural gifts and skills so you create a life fertile for these breathtaking moments of grace.
I’d like to share with you a special quote from writer Anne Lamott:
“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”
In March, I posted a blog titled “Psychology and Success: The Magic of Your Talent Advantage”. In it I wrote:
“When you use your natural skills consciously and intentionally something interesting happens. Your skills and talents don’t just develop, they blossom and transform in ways that you cannot predict. By leading you into actions, environments, and situations that draw upon and support them, your innate gifts and skills open you to new possibilities that you could not previously imagine. New layers, new depths, and new meanings unfold that will draw you into new, unexpected manifestations and applications. You will not just discover; you will live your unique skills and talents. It’s magic!”
A recent experience encouraged me to consider that rather than “magic,” I should use the word, “grace”: “a moment of unmerited divine assistance given humans.”
Over the Memorial Day weekend, I went to California to attend a family reunion of my wife’s relatives on her mother’s side, and to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday. She comes from a-long lived family in which seven of the nine siblings lived to at least 90 years of age (the ages of the three remaining are 105, 95, and 90).
Part of the weekend’s events included gathering to remember one of the recently deceased sisters (who died at age 98), and spread her ashes in a beautiful place along the Big Sur coast. I had previously only met a few of the approximately 50 people who gathered, so after people had spoken their memories and we had re-arranged ourselves to watch the spreading of the ashes, I was not surprised to see a man whom I didn’t recognize walking toward where I was standing alone on the path.
It was a cold, misty, rainy day, as it so often is along the Northern California coast in late spring, and we were a curious bunch ranging from 18 months young to 105 years old, obviously gathered for a purpose.
The ‘stranger’ and I acknowledged each other, and then he revealed he was not a part of the family when he asked me, “What’s this all about?”
I explained it was a family reunion, and that we had gathered to remember a recently deceased member. I pointed out the two sisters of the deceased, but was cautious regarding the spreading of the ashes, since I wasn’t completely sure of the legality of what was happening (I have since found out that is technically illegal, but that it is a common occurrence and officials generally look the other way).
As we continued to talk, it was obvious he was just curious, unconcerned about legalities, and I ended up explaining exactly what was happening. His face lit up with a smile and he told me that his mother’s ashes were spread on the hill right behind us; that this was a beautiful final resting place. He explained how he was seeking to photograph a Swainson’s Thrush, but was unlikely to see one on such a cold and wet day. We stood silently for a few more minutes observing the scene, and then he wished us well and went on his way.
Even though I knew the woman whose life we were remembering, I had not shared any memories with the group. None of mine stood out as particularly significant, especially in relation to those of her sisters, children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. But I had liked her very much and had been feeling a little diminished by not participating.
But the interaction with the ‘stranger’ left me with a warm, happy feeling and a sense of completion and closure.
It wasn’t until later, during a quiet moment reflecting on the morning’s event, that I was struck by the aspect of grace in my chance encounter.
As I mentioned, I had been feeling a little disconnected from the memorial because of my lack of participation, but the arrival of this total stranger presented me an opportunity to use one of my natural gifts – the ability to provide to others contextual understanding of what is occurring, in a way that includes them and makes them feel “a part of”.
Grace is rarely a one-way phenomenon, and I don’t know all of what the stranger received from our encounter, but I do know that in our brief interchange he got to remember his mother fondly, and share with a group of strangers a moment of connection and common experience. The experience remains a powerful one to me.
Discovering your natural gifts, talents, and skills is not just about success in business; it is integral to becoming you in all aspects of your life and sows the seeds for amazing moments of grace.
“If you work on your gifts they will make room for you.” – Jim Rohn
Gary Jordan, Ph.D., has over 27 years of experience in clinical psychology, behavioral assessment, individual development, and coaching. He earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology – Berkeley. He is co-creator of Perceptual Style Theory, a revolutionary psychological assessment system that teaches people how to unleash their deepest potentials for success. He’s a partner at Vega Behavioral Consulting, Ltd., a consulting firm that specializes in helping people discover their true skills and talents. For free information on how to succeed as an entrepreneur or coach, create a thriving business and build your bottom line doing more of what you love, visit http://www.YourTalentAdvantage.com
Congratulations, your daughter is getting married! You will soon be a father-in-law!
Being the Father of the Bride is a wonderful time for most men, but it can also be challenging when the reality of the whole event hits home. There can be confusion as to exactly what the role entails and how to assert one’s own idea of how it should be. There is the challenge of the Father of the Bride speech. And no matter who gives it, it’s a great start to know what the traditional expectations are, so that you can decide what you will a dopt and what you will choose to say. Will nerves be a problem? Might emotion get in the way of a great speech?
If you know a Father of the Bride facing these challenges, give him The Father of the Bride Pack …
Learn what the traditional duties are for the Father of the Bride and the traditional structure of the Father of the Bride speech, then use the suggestions to create your own. Includes ways to overcome nerves and emotion on the day, where to find stories, and supports to use and tips on public speaking and storytelling in gerneral. => http://bit.ly/OCsutM