This week, a question-based response in our asshole brain podcast series! Catch up on the other episodes with interrupt the pattern, joy is not canceled, and if you ain’t got haters…or dive in starting here!
TODAY’S QUESTION! What if my inner asshole won’t let me identify or accept what I’m good at? I want other people to tell me, but I’m realizing that no matter what anyone else says, I won’t believe it because my inner asshole says no. You are so specific on yours, and I’m curious how you figured out and accepted your super powers. I’m also secretly scared that I want everyone else’s super powers and don’t actually have any of my own (hi, there again, asshole brain). — Anna
First up: YOU HAVE SUPERPOWERS.
You are a being of this earth, and therefore you have superpowers. No one is the exception to this rule, including you!
That said, your superpowers aren’t necessarily easy to see. They’re easy to gloss over because THOSE people over THERE appear to have better, more advanced, and/or more profitable superpowers. Sure, you can paint or draw or make or write or speak or roast or whatever it is you do, but ssshhheeeeeee is making millllllllllliooooonnnsssss doing that same work.
We’re not doing that shit.
Comparison isn’t allowed for the duration of this exercise.
Not because comparison is bad or wrong, but because comparison has often led me to the despair of not being a modern-day Rumi AND a paleontologist AND an interior decorator with her own kickass line of custom sofas AND a person who looks good in cropped pants AND a person who’s good at cooking, say…rice.
If owning your gifts is all new to you, ask other people to help you see them.
That’s often the start: someone has to sort-of-yell, ‘HEY, YOU’RE REALLY FUCKING GOOD AT THIS’ a number of times before we believe it in any capacity.
Those who love you have been trying to get this message through for quite some time. But we can’t hear them until we’re ready to hear them. Starting now.
What am I really good at doing, handling, or making?
What are some circumstances in which you would want or need my help before anyone else’s?
Which talents, gifts, and superpowers do I take for granted or pretend aren’t real?
Where and when do you see A WILDLY MAGICAL BEING and you can’t get me to see it?
What do you wish I could see about myself and/or my work?
Choose a question and send 3 texts to 3 different people. Ask the friends, colleagues, partner(s), or relatives you most trust to be honest with you. Ask them to be kind and clear, and then take whatever they say into your being.
They aren’t lying when they say you’re amazing; they’re only highlighting the ways in which you diminish yourself when you refuse to believe them.
Owning your gifts starts with knowing that asshole brain is going to throw up some pretty standard responses to these efforts.
When asshole brain says that there’s nothing you’re good at…that’s a lie.
When asshole brain goes wild with envy because he, she, or they are far more_______ than you’ll ever be (where ____ is talented, wild, connected, gorgeous, enlightened, swimming in cash)…that’s a lie.
When asshole brain only lets you see the flaws, the bad bits, and the imperfect messiness of your life instead of the whole picture of your decades-long existence on this planet…that’s a lie.
When asshole brain whispers over and over that you should be further along by now..that’s a lie.
Interrupt the pattern, okay? Catch asshole brain in the act and refuse to believe it.
At some level, owning your talents is a matter of humility and acceptance.
It means you have no issue sharing the things you’re not good at with others, because you’re also grounded in your strengths.
Here are things I’m not good at: keeping plants alive, calling customer service reps (THE PHONE = WHY???), giving up control, using power tools without supervision, and making a plan for cooking dinner before it’s too late and I’m hungry and OH WELL it’s a microwave dinner again tonight.
Accepting that those things aren’t my strengths allows me to turn and say…okay, now what am I good at?
Writing, coaching, connecting with people deeply (small talk AGGGHHH I AM THE ACTUAL WORST), using my voice, experimenting, making stuff up, ignoring people who say ‘You can’t do that,’ taking action, having good boundaries with my phone, and (even, sometimes) asking for help.
See how neither the positive nor the negative is dramatic?
I am not THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD because I can’t be handed a nail gun and left to fend for myself on a construction site.
I am not THE BEST PERSON IN THE WORLD because I’m good at moving small talk aside to get to the root of an issue.
Humility is knowing what you’re good at AND what you’re not good at, then accepting them both.
Owning your gifts means accepting that this is where I can help people — i.e. all the things I’m good at — this is where I need help — i.e. all the things I’m not good at.
I can help you move through your business life as you learn to generate more money and meaning in your day-to-day existence.
I can help you try on new ways of being, give up the patterns that aren’t working for you, and listen to your own interiors with an eye toward what lights you up.
I can help you get more alive and build more joy into your life, even in the midst of a global pandemic.
I cannot help you choose tonight’s dinner. Or any meals. Because having to eat 3 times a day, every day, no matter WHAT, is still a challenging problem in my life.
When you can do this owning-your-gifts exercise without shame, guilt, or judgement, you’re getting free. Of asshole brain, of society’s infinite ways of making you feel like shit so you buy more stuff, and of the mental chatter that keeps you stuck or small.
Own your gifts.
Really and truly, all the way down. That’s not short work, or easy work, but it’s work that pays off for the rest of your life as you do it.