Enlightening The World
Founding Partners
Faculty & Associates
Workshops & Institutes
Executive Coaching
Client Comments
Web Links
The Event Horizon: Essays On Our Spiritual Journey
Empowerment Stories
Networking Groups
Paul Houston's Blog: Political pH
Contact Us
Center for Enlightened Leadership

Unique Gifts? Hmm...

  Robert W. Cole

Robert W. Cole
Managing Editor
and Senior Associate

A couple of years ago, I wrote in the Lens that “serving others entails first seeing others.” I was reminded then (and now, once more) of Joan Osbourne’s terribly poignant lyrics:

What if God was one of us,
Just a slob like one of us?
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home?

Yes—oh my, yes—God is exactly that. To see others clearly is to see God manifested in all imaginable guises on this Earth—each of us, all of us, just trying to make our way home. Seeing others truly and serving them—in large ways or small ways, in any way—is serving God. Serving others is serving God in us.

One marvelous, loving way of seeing others is to see talents or gifts in them that other people in their lives may not have recognized previously. That’s probably why I still remember fondly my third-grade teacher, Betty Fisher (and even featured her in an editorial decades ago). Miss Fisher saw something special in me—exactly what, I’m not sure—but she acted on whatever she saw the entire time I was in her classroom, and that time elevated me.

Leaders have that same opportunity to elevate the lives and the possibilities of those with whom they work. As Steve Sokolow and Paul Houston write in The Wise Leader:

When you are being positive, you see the possibilities and the potential in the people with whom you work. People appreciate the fact that you believe in them, and that you see them in a positive light. Don’t all of us really want to be thought of in a positive way? When leaders think highly of you, don’t you want to act in a way that justifies their view of you?

Often, though—very often, in fact—each of us is left to the task of recognizing our own unique gifts and talents, whatever they may be. This process of self-recognition and self-acceptance—of self-respect and self-love—can be the work of a lifetime. And then, after that step, which many people never dare to attempt, figuring out what one can do with whatever those gifts and talents may be can present a totally separate, and totally agonizing, undertaking. Who am I? What am I good at? And what is that worth in the world?

In this same issue of the Lens, the wonderfully loving and multi-gifted Christa Metzger hesitantly lists her gifts and talents (critiquing the elements in her list all the while). So does Tom Vona, chronicling his attempts to use his career experience to help up-and-coming school administrators. So do Peter and Anne Selby, writing of their Angelic powers in their characteristically other-worldly way. And so does Adam Sokolow make clear (maybe for the first time) the gifts that he tries to employ on this Earth.

I admire these gifted and talented people (not to mention the other brave folks in this issue) enormously. But I must say that I could no more jot down publicly a listing of my supposed gifts and talents than I could run in the New York City Marathon. My reclusive, unable-to-dream Inner Self simply would not permit that list to see the light of day. So all of these good folks I just named have my highest regard.

That stated, and in some way to address the topic of this issue, I have never served as a leader of any kind of educational institution. I am a springboard for simplicity and clarity. I help people who have something valuable to say find a way to say it more clearly so that they can be understood. If children are helped along the way, that’s a very good thing. Makes me happy, along the path toward home.

Center for Empowered Leadership ®
Email: info@cfel.org
Phone: 1.609.259.7911