If you asked an eight year-old the question: “What makes you amazing?”, I bet you’d get an answer. Maybe something like “My superpowers!” or “I can fly!”.
Ask an adult the same question, and you’re likely to get a blank stare.
Children believe that anything is possible, that they can do anything their imagination dreams up. So a question like “What makes you amazing?” doesn’t seem strange to them. LOTS of things make them amazing, because life is amazing!
By the time we’re adults, most of us have lost our sense of wonder about life. To be honest, it’s worse than that. We’ve been ground down by life.
Yet, “What makes you amazing?” is an important question for us to be able to answer.
What makes anyone amazing is what makes that person unique. And what makes us unique is who we really are.
Society puts the bulk of its efforts into making us all the same – we’re much easier to manage and control that way. But our souls, our true selves, just want our uniqueness to shine. This awareness deep within us is why we so often feel uncomfortable in our own skins, even lost.
Society has a ‘One Size Fits All’ approach. And we need an ‘I’m Unique’ approach.
A blank stare was my response the first time I was asked: “So, Sarah, what makes you amazing?”. I, someone who is rarely lost for words, had NO idea what to say. Sensing my discomfort, the questioner rephrased the question, asking: “What would your friends say is amazing about you?”. That, I could answer. Just about.
My utter inability to answer that question haunted me for days after the event. At that point in my life, I’d been working on my self-awareness for 25 years. But, with my back against the wall, I couldn’t say what made ME amazing.
Figuring this out became my mission. I’d already done a lot of work trying to understand who The Real Sarah was, but clearly hadn’t yet finished. I realised that, in order to answer the master question “What makes you amazing?”, I had first to answer some questions that lay behind it. After much reflection, I found that the responses to three simple questions provided the information I needed to answer the master question.
The three simple questions were:
- What’s important to you?
- What do you love doing?
- What are you truly good at?
And whilst the questions may be simple, answering them fully and honestly wasn’t! I had to peel back layers of conditioning to get at the true answers, but it was well worth it.
From the output of this exercise, I created what I call my Personal Statement – a few sentences that express who I am, what I do and how I live every day. I’ve changed the words many times over the years – each change reflected where I was along my path towards living my purposeful life. Now that I am living my purposeful life, my Personal Statement looks like this:
These 86 words are MY answer to the question “So, Sarah, what makes you amazing?”.
What makes YOU amazing?
Image credit: Sarah Blick