Presence, gifts and courage
I recently participated in an interactive seminar. One activity involved participants verbalizing the gifts and strengths we observed in each other. A couple of insights surfaced for me.
First, there is a power of presence that we carry with us. My first impulse was to dismiss what my fellow attendees were saying about me. After all, we’d only known each other for a few days. But as the group members identified strengths and gifts they observed in me, almost everyone named the same traits.
These were the same qualities others who have known me for a long time, who know me best, identify. They also happen to be the characteristics I have recognized as being my personal strengths.
The ones I identified in them, likewise resonated with familiar themes in their lives.
This affirms what I’ve heard discussed in other settings. We carry a sense of presence. Who we are radiates through us. Our very being impacts others, for good or bad.
We can’t hide it.
This has huge implications as leaders. We lead more by presence than we do our technical prowess or performance skills, as important as those are in their own right.
The second insight has to do with ownership of my gifts and strengths. On the heels of my impulse to dismiss the feedback, was my reluctance to allow others affirm me in this manner. It was uncomfortable and a bit embarrassing.
But as I stayed with the process, I realized the truth of something C. S. Lewis once stated. To dismiss the talents God has given us is not humility, it is cowardice.
Maybe my discomfort isn’t because I’m humble. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid to step up and own who I am. Afraid to take responsibility to utilize the gifts God has invested in me. Afraid to offer my presence and my gifts to a world of need.
I don’t want to be THAT man.
Combining these two truths, God’s calling is for me to courageously be present with others, owning and giving expression to the gifts He’s entrusted to me.