Shine Baby Shine!

Published on July 19, 2011

One of my favorite quotes was written by author Marianne Williamson and reads:

"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."

I have shared this quote with hundreds of people and not surprisingly, virtually every person hears something different as they read it. Some focus on the beauty of it and some focus on the message of the words. There are many who merely “agree” with what she writes, while others look for the meaning in the words and what it means for them. As we surf the web, there are hundreds of blog posts about it’s origin and a multitude of ways to appreciate the short yet powerful paragraph.

Coaching for a living, I encounter people daily who are struggling with their self-esteem. This issue doesn’t discriminate either... young or mature, men and women, married or single, tall and short, gay or straight... each one has their own struggle with the balance between humility and pride. Sometimes the ones who “look” the most confident are the most unsure. And by the way...not one shows up for coaching saying, "I have a self esteem problem."

Growing up in the Bible belt in a small town in Oklahoma, I was taught to not be “prideful.” One doesn’t “show off” or act in a conceited fashion. Not a “bad” lesson overall. There is good reason for this and I’m sure we can all think of a million reasons why being boastful isn’t attractive or helpful.  The message was well intended. The challenge, however, is that sometimes this particular message is internalized in such a way that we might begin to think that it isn’t “OK” to publicly display that we are good at something... talented, smart, fast, pretty or gifted.  We hear, “Don’t shine.”

And for some... the message wasn’t “don’t shine in public” ... it was “you don’t shine at all so don’t even try.”

The fact is, we are all talented, smart, and well-equipped...for something! We all have talent in one area or another. The challenge is ... We are ALL different. Everyone doesn’t have the same talents, gifts, and “versions” of physical attractiveness. As a result... we are always comparing ourselves with others and as Marianne Williamson says, “...shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.” After shrinking for so long and without a clear understanding of “WHY” we are shrinking, we just automatically do it.

I know this has been true for me! The big joke around my house is that “Nikki has never had a self-esteem problem!” For the most part that is true. Most of my life I have carried myself as a confident, self-assured, and assertive person. When I set my mind to something, I went after it and got it or achieved it!

The sad part in all of this is that what people saw on the outside is not always what was really happening on the inside. The Nikki that walked confidently into a room was sometimes terrified on the inside wondering, “Will people like me? Will I be good enough? What will they think of me? Am I prepared? Am I skilled enough? Do I look OK? Am I coming off as arrogant?” The confidence was a facade... and a good one.

Coaching has helped me with this more than anything else I have every tried on my own. After identifying my own strengths and gifts and realizing that they are from God, the Universe, our Higher Power... and that it is my moral obligation to use them to fulfill my purpose  in this life... it hit me! This is what Marianne Williamson is saying!!!!

Here is my "less eloquent" version ....

We are all perfect. We have everything we need within us-nothing more nothing less. We were created for a purpose.  The gifts we have are to fulfill that purpose. It is our job to use those gifts and fulfill that purpose. When we hide our gifts, we are not living out our purpose. When we hide our gifts, others will also hide theirs. There is nothing to be afraid of. Have faith. We are all here for the same purpose and different gifts are required to complete that purpose. Lift each other up. Give of your gifts and help others give of theirs. Work together as a team. We are all in this together. We are the same but different and that is a perfect mix for the job we have to complete. Accept your gifts and use them. Help others see and accept their gifts also. We are all perfect.

So, if we are ALL perfect and we all have gifts and we all recognize that everyone has different gifts and accept that this is a GOOD thing...what the heck is the problem with showing those gifts off?

I say... Not a thing! Shine Baby Shine!

If you aren’t sure what your gifts’s time to figure it out.
If you know what your gifts are...make sure you are using them to fulfill your purpose!
If you see others who aren’t “Shining” ... help them shine!


Nikki Buckelew is the Co-Founder and President of Coaching and Training, a coaching and training company specializing in real estate, leadership, and life coaching for Realtors, brokers, and leaders with SoulFire. Buckelew is also the Founder and CEO of the Seniors Real Estate Institute, a coaching and training company specializing in senior real estate and housing and administrator for the Certified Senior Housing Professional® (CSHP) designation.

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