There are cycles in all of our lives. We experience greatness, tributes, celebrations, wins, moments of bliss, perfect vacations, falling in love, good solid days, enjoying the extraordinary and the ordinary that life offers.
And, of course, not all of life is made up of these high moments.
Ultimately they pass and we find ourselves in difficult, sometimes painful, desperate times. We question everything—Who am I? Where Am I? How did I get here?
When you ask yourself these questions the things you’re doing in your life may no longer feel right. You may crave change but don’t know exactly what you want or how to achieve it.
Though you might know yourself to be talented, courageous, smart and wise, you can still be unsure of what your next steps are and what you’re truly capable of.
I’ve felt this before and know it well: Even though you know from experience that the sun will rise every morning, sometimes you may wonder if it will really happen for you in your own life.
If you’re at an impasse like this I encourage you to reflect on your childhood. Many times what you did as a child or loved as a child can reconnect you to your purpose and passions.
When you were a child, were you ever accused of being “too much”? For example: you’re too impatient, too detailed, too opinionated, too sensitive, too introverted or extroverted, too shy, too loud, too weird etc. Were you ever reprimanded for being “annoying’?
It may feel like these childhood “flaws” are far behind you, but don’t underestimate how these experiences might offer a clue about your unique gifts and talents. They might reveal what’s calling to you right now.
As a child, my mother often felt I was “too much.” I was sometimes discouraged about my passions. But today, I see my “too much” as my superpower.
In fifth grade, on one of my father’s business trips to Manhattan, my parents decided to bring me along.
Mom asked my father if he would get us tickets to see my first Broadway musical, Annie. I’m not sure if it crossed my mother’s mind that the story was about an adoptee, just like I was, and how much it might influence me at eleven years old.
Sarah Jessica Parker starred. I wore the suit my mother had bought me back home: a plaid red, black, and yellow pleated skirt with a short red wool jacket with gold buttons, white tights, patent leather shoes. It was all topped off with my grandfather’s red beret sitting at a slant on my petite head.
My father rented a limousine as a special treat. It pulled up in front of the theater, the sidewalk filled with ticket holders. As the driver got out of the car and opened my door, the crowd turned, saw my patent leather shoes, my small legs reach to touch the sidewalk, and when they saw the red suit emerge, with a little girl in it, they started to applaud. I thought the welcoming was because of the limousine. I didn’t realize they thought I was Annie.
That was the moment I fell in love with the theater. I returned to Tulsa singing the songs from the musical out loud on the playground at recess. At Thanksgiving dinner, arms stretched out and fingers extending full force, I practically screamed the lyrics of “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” for my entire family.
My 21 year-old brother, Marty, who was a theater major at Northwestern then, did a drum roll on his knees for me. Mom closed her eyes, sticking her fingers into her ears, begging me to stop because I was so loud. But I kept singing.
In fifth grade I performed in my first play as Nori in The Hobbit. In seventh grade, I was the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland. And in eighth the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz. The theater became my place for self-expression. On the stage, I was free!
Today, I still hold this little Lynn close within me. I make it my goal to stay true to my expression as much as I can and share myself vulnerably.
What’s your childhood “too much?” And how might you use it to find and strengthen your superpower?
May you fully embrace and share all that is within you!