Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Courage to Shine at Your Work: This Year and Into the Future

During my annual presentation on Leadership and Strategic Thinking for the Rensselaer Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership Institute last October, I included for the first time a slide projected with this quote as the class worked on their breakout assignment:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
 - Marianne Williamson

Shortly after that session (I'm convinced at this point that there are no coincidences), my dear friend and colleague Dene called me to point out one of the lights that shine within me:  my ability to quickly identify, summarize and directly reflect back the talents / success potential that I see in others, which in turn tends to ignite that potential in those who seek my help.  "It's time to make it official," she said, in her factual, practical way.  Of course, the rest - the hard work, the courage to implement that talent, whether it's securing a job, promotion or new direction in their career path - is up to them.

The online Merriam-Webster dictionary has a richly nuanced definition of courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

But what joy to witness the courage and the subsequent recognition of their own talent and potential, when they begin to see what I clearly see.  And when they continue to courageously apply that recognition and achieve the results themselves:  what joy to revel in their freedom, and the authentic light that emanates from them.

Thank you, Dene, for seeing and uplifting me.  To do work that ignites my spirit as well as those I serve is one of the greatest vocational gifts I've experienced.

How will you shine at your work, this year and beyond?  I look forward to basking in the collective light.

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