I live in a beautiful section of a small city just south of Philadelphia called Wilmington, Delaware. There is a world-renowned art museum and sculpture garden just around the corner from our house, and from there we can walk to lovely cafes, bistros and coffee shops. Our vibrant, diverse neighbors are transplants from all over the world.
Yet, in the past few years crime, economic challenges, corruption, and education issues have infiltrated our neighborhood. As a result, there was recently a high-profile mayoral race to vote on who could turn our beloved city around. When I read the vision plan of the winning candidate, it was overwhelming to think about all the obstacles he has to overcome in the next four years and what challenges lay ahead of him.
I still wonder…are we ever fully capable of leading the changes we believe are important?
The truth is, there isn’t a single one of us that’s 100% equipped and prepared for what we are tasked with, given, or choose to take on.
For example, when a baby is brought home from the hospital, it’s common for the new parents to feel incredibly inadequate and unprepared. Yet, time and time again, they rise up, figure it out, and learn so much about themselves in the process.
I reflect on all the the times when I wasn’t quite sure if I could accomplish what was in front of me. How I never really took on a role without self-doubt — whether it was photographing my very first session, public speaking in front of thousands of people, or adding value into my first CEO round-table.
I never felt ready in those moments, and many of them were so intimidating that I almost chose not to take them on. But I did it, and succeeded (if not right away, then eventually!).
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
I once had coffee with a very successful “turnaround expert” who would go into failing multi-million (sometimes multi-billion) dollar businesses and turn them around. I asked him how he prepared for each role. He gave a surprising answer. He never felt ready or prepared for the roles he took on, and many times questioned the judgement of the board in selecting him. But he accepted that as part of the process and trusted his own ability to figure out what needed to be done. And he did. Every. Single. Time.
You were born to shine.
You were born for a great purpose.
Many times, this means you may take a seat that stretches your capabilities.
And in that moment you have an opportunity to learn how truly capable you are.