Sometimes, the word “gifted” makes me cringe. There are many stereotypes around what that word means and sounds like to others. When I started and ran the Gifted & Talented parent association in my small town in Montana six years ago, I was confronted with many parents who thought their child should qualify. Every parent wants to believe they and their child are gifted. It’s understandable when you define gifted as:
- Bound for greatness
Who wouldn’t want their child included?
Unfortunately, the stereotype around “gifted” is not the reality of what it is to be gifted. I do not mean to say that there are not positives around the commonalities that “gifted” individuals share. There are many positives, the best of which I think is experiencing every moment of life in full color, 150% richer than the majority. There are, however, some very real drawbacks to giftedness. This quote by Alice Miller is a good sum up of what giftedness entails:
“When I use the word ‘gifted’…, I had in mind neither children who receive high grades in school nor children talented in a special way. I simply meant all of us who have survived…thanks to an ability to [abstractly] adapt… Without this ‘gift’ offered us by nature, we would not have survived.”
I consider myself gifted. I write on giftedness and I work exclusively with gifted women to align who they are with their work and amplify their influence and message. This is because I believe to be gifted means you are also destined to lead. In all actuality, you have no choice but to lead. People see in the “gifted” something that inclines them to follow. This is not by anything the “gifted” do, it’s by virtue of the message and spark you carry.
In my summation, “gifted” = leader.
To be honest, it has been a past challenge for me to allow myself to be fully seen; to combine my professional life with my personal life online. I thought long and hard about whether I should share this post and in the end, my heart told me yes. Why? Because I am on a mission to be vulnerable. It’s my desire that through my nakedness you will see yourself and know who you truly are. If you choose to work with me as a coach, I am honored. I understand what it means to be “gifted” and the costs it is requires to step fully into the expression of yourself as a Leader. With that, I offer this from my personal journal…
What It Means To Be Gifted —
Some days are good. Most days are, in fact. I think thoughts…I become lost in them. I have 900 ideas at once. I hyperfocus on one, two or three at a time until the light goes out. I get a lot of stuff done. More than most people, in the same time frame…I can be fiercely hyperactive. Hyperfocused…and then, that’s it, the light goes out and I can’t turn it back on again. Today I am very sad. I feel like sh#%$t. It’s probably hormonal but that doesn’t matter when you’re in the middle of it. People would say, “That’s your problem Daun, you feel too much.” Yes, that’s true, I probably do. I feel the tears of a child a hundred miles away crying about anything. I feel for those in Africa with AIDS, the hungry child in Burma. I haven’t read about these in weeks but just thinking about their plight too much would bring me a half hour of emotional agony and tears. In fact, I feel for you..for you reading this, if that makes sense; your injury, your hurts… You don’t even have to tell me about them, I can read emotions. They soak into me like energy. I am charged with electricity. This is what it means to be highly sensitive…overwhelmed by stimuli. Thankfully, I only feel this way a couple times a month. Some others, I imagine live in this world of hypersensitivity all the time; when the slightest noise brings you to rage or your child’s voice rips your from your thoughts like trauma. You become so engrossed in thinking or feeling that you can’t shut it off. Giftedness, is like being naked in the Antarctic; an environment not fit for life. Being in this world is rude; like living in a place you were never meant for – simply having woken up in this harsh environment called humanity and earth. Naked. You can’t shut off and every whisper is a shout.
I feel ill equipped for life on this plane….
Can you relate to the over-excitability, hypersensitivity and abstract synthesizing thought processes involved in being “gifted’? It means you’re a leader. Embrace that and let it sink in for awhile.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below.
Want to learn more about giftedness? This book is a good place to start, The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius ™