What am I really good at?
Potentially all kinds of things, but I’m not likely to “get good” at all of them. That only happens with the things I work at.
OK, that narrows it down.
What are the things that I really work at?
I can think of a few. That – yes, and that, too. Oh yes, and that.
Do you have a list also?
Take a look at that smaller list of the things you really work at. Now winnow it down again by asking:
What is the thing that you work the hardest at – and what drives you to work so hard at that one thing?
Now, a wildcard.
Go back to the larger list of what you are good at. Is there something on that list that you don’t have to work at – hardly at all?
Now what can you learn by looking side by side at all of these things?
You might find it an interesting exercise to try, but I’m actually just telling the story of a thinking process of my own, one that led me to realize there is one thing that seems to be both what I am really good at – and the thing that I work at the most.
What is that thing?
I have always felt things very deeply. And yet I work at how I feel all the time.
I teach the Feldenkrais Method. I teach people how to feel more and I show them how to work with what they feel in order to make their lives better.
I have come to see that there is a fundamental truth in what each one of us feels. Not true for everyone – but true for us.
Our feelings tell us our complete truth – if we are willing to listen.
Truth is powerful stuff – and often it’s really damn hard to listen to.
I work hard at what I teach.
But even before that, I feel so much – too much, it often seems – so that I have often felt that I had to work very, very hard at how I feel.
I still have a lot to learn.
For much my life, I have thought of my sensitivity as a weakness. Because again and again I felt things I didn’t want to feel – and yet there was no escaping the feelings.
I had to work at being with those feelings while being with others who didn’t have to do that same work.
This is a piece of my current thinking process as I experience how my life intersects with the world at this moment.
Now back to your process.
With all the time you spend working so hard at that one thing – what other things that you might be good at have you not developed in yourself?
Are you perfectly happy with that trade off, or could you imagine something better?
What if you were willing to adjust the proportions of your priorities?
What if you spent a little more time working at a thing that wasn’t so easy for you – but the kind of thing you could make progress at if you worked at it?
In other words, what might be the value of spending a little more time being uncomfortable?
For me, this second round of questions doesn’t bring insight as quickly as the first, but it gives me something that I’ve learned to trust – a very tasty mix to stew upon for a while.
The recipe for my stew again boiled down to a question:
With all that you are capable of – what comes easily to you and what doesn’t – what is the most valuable contribution you could make right now?
What’s the truth that you feel in your body in this moment when you ask yourself that question?
If you’d like to make a regular practice of listening to your body to discover your truth, you’ll find a practice community online right here.