February 19th, 2013 11:41 EST
What is Your Greatness Factor?
We hear about the "X-Factor" that special something "that extra" that separates the great from all others. We are lead to believe that only a few have that certain something that makes them stand out. Actually, we all have that factor. It isn`t the same for each of us but we each do have that factor "our Greatness Factor."
According to science, we each have unique talents, strengths and passions hardwired into us. Based on our DNA, our brain connections are strong in some areas and weak in others; the stronger the connections, the more powerful the abilities, understandings and preferences. Our strongest brain connections create our core abilities "our unique talents, strengths and passions" these are our Greatness Factor. This Greatness Factor allows us to be extraordinary at math, or connect easily with people, or solve things quickly, or invent things, or sing, or inspire others, etc. Another way to say it is that our "Greatness Factor is our thing" that thing we do better than others; that thing that we love and are good at but don`t know why. We all have the ability to be exceptional at some things. The challenge is that we don`t know how to identify our Greatness Factor.
When my 5 siblings and I were kids, it was not unusual for us to identify some personal (and unacceptable) genetic traits that we inherited from our parents. We`d complain about long arms, unruly hair, the Italian nose or the need for glasses. As we started our list of all the negative things we felt inherited, we were quickly reminded by our parents that in addition to the things we felt were unacceptable, each of us also inherited amazing abilities " a love of the arts, the ability to write, the passion for justice, the infatuation with language, a connection to nature, great musical ability and rhythm " the list went on. We had, as my parents told us, enough of the right stuff to show up and live an amazing life. We each had our Greatness Factor.
Though we were aware we had a Greatness Factor, discovering or defining them can takes work. DNA (or something divine) decides which attributes we inherit and which become our strongest abilities. There was no owner`s manual for us at birth " nothing to either list our unique abilities or give us guidance in how to activate, improve and live these abilities.
Instead, we have the gift of life to as the way to observe and assess how we react to things. We notice what we learn quickly and the things that don`t make sense for us. We notice our preferences and the things we hate. We notice what we rock at and what we stink at. And through each of these events, we uncover information about of our Greatness Factor " more information about what makes us different, distinct and unique. Try things. Investigate. Read. Talk to people. Be part of life. These are all the ways to start to discover our Greatness Factor.
As kids, and in a large Italian family, we rarely went out to eat. First, we were told, it was too expensive to take all of us out. Secondly, we`re Italians " our food was better than in any restaurant. Inspire of this, I do remember one time when we went out to eat "at a smorgasbord" a buffet. My five siblings and I descended on the tables of amazing food only to be called back to our table. At the table, Dad reviewed how we were to approach this buffet. First we were to follow him and walk around the entire table of options three times without touching a thing. We were told to notice everything. Notice what seems to appeal and what doesn`t. Notice the choices. After the 3rd time around, we were allowed to take a small plate and try only those things we had never tried before. He promised that if we did this, by the time we left that day, we would find things we loved that we did not know about. And we all did.
Discovering your Greatness Factor is like walking around the buffet table. Until you try things, you don`t know how you will react, and what you will notice about yourself. Until you start to see how you react to situations " what you like, what you hate, what makes you feel competent, what makes you feel incompetent " you move through life unaware of your Greatness Factor. Though you have it, you have to work to discover it. And that is because we are each so unique and we alone are the ones who can decipher our reactions and responses to know what works and what doesn`t " what fits and what doesn`t.
The world is providing us with information all the time. We must constantly gather this information and "make sense of it" to observe and assess. In this process we start to discover our talents, strengths and passions. We start to identify the things that move us and the things we love. We start to connect with our inner and true self "we start to see our Greatness Factor."
As we start this discovery process, we frequently are confronted by our family, traditions, religious upbringing, ethnic expectations, societal preferences and other mandates given to us by others. In so many cases, we are forced to ignore or disregard our Greatness Factor in order to fit in and comply. This is where things get challenging. Just as you start to discover what makes you you, the world tries to tell you who you should be.
What if what inspires you most in life "because it is part of your core passions and strengths" is different than what your parents want to you to be, do, believe or how to live? What if your particular Greatness Factor isn`t considered greatness or worth it by your peers " you love classical music they don`t; you want to spend time with your younger siblings, your friends don`t; you want to travel the world and live in far away places and your parents want you to take over the farm. We frequently come into conflict in how to manifest our Greatness Factor; the inside can be in conflict with the outside.
I am reminded of what an uncle told me about being gay. He said, being gay is fine, but those who are, can`t act on it. So what value is in it if it is only identifiable by name? What benefit does identifying your Greatness Factor have if it were never able to used or connected to the right applications in life?
I believe the greatest gift we have in life is choice. And what helps us choose wisely in life is knowledge and clarity about our "Greatness Factor" our unique and particular view of the world "our sense of being" that is the source of our greatest joy. We have an obligation to discover it. We have an obligation to live it. Because as we each discover what our "Greatness Factor is" and we find ways to show up in life bringing what is best about us " we transform our world. Discovering your "Greatness Factor" good. Living your "Greatness Factor" priceless.
When we are told that only some people have the "X Factor" that special something "the rest of us are made to believe we are not special. Though a television show may present their definition of the factor," we know that each of us has a Greatness Factor. Each of is special, unique and has enough of the right stuff to show up each day and do amazing things. Not in everything. But definitely in some things.
Knowing this is empowering. Knowing that I have the potential to be extraordinary in the things that I am naturally good in and passionate about doing helps me feel that I can build a life on my terms " one that connects my greatest abilities to the world`s greatest needs " one that connects my inside with the outside. And in this I`ll be able to find my place "a place that allows me to show up and stand out. Maybe not singing in front of a crowd, but maybe as the most amazing dad, or a great writer, or someone who discovers something that can improve people`s lives."
Clarity in life comes from knowing who you are and what gifts you have "your Greatness Factor " This clarity improves the quality of work and life choices. And the more wisely we each choose in life, the more courageous we become in living our best, and bringing that best to the world - authentically, powerfully and honestly.