Your Way, Your Magic

Maybe you already know what your gift is. If so, lucky you! That’s wonderful. But have you discovered what makes you different than everyone else in your area of giftedness?

I was blessed to have the opportunity to work with John Maxwell for several years. On occasion, he tells a story about how, early in his career, he started studying other preachers and speakers that he admired and respected. He figured that if they were the best, then all he had to do was mimic them. So he did his best to copy what they did well. But when he tried, he just sounded….silly. And felt even sillier. He said that no matter how hard he tried, it just didn’t work. He couldn’t do what they did.

Keep in mind – he was working in his greatest area of strength and giftedness. This was the work he was called to do. But he couldn’t do it anyone else’s way. He couldn’t speak poetically and descriptively. He couldn’t deliver the deep, complex sermon. Well, I guess he could, but he swears he didn’t do it well.

He says that it took him ten years in his strength zone to figure out what he does best. John connects. That’s his great magic. He connects with his audience through humor, often self-deprecating, and physical approachability. John keeps things simple, tells great stories, and makes things memorable. He says, “Hi. I’m John, and I’m your friend.” And you believe him.

His audiences love him. But it’s because he discovered his magic. Speaking is his strength. But the WAY he speaks is his magic.

If your strength is painting, then what makes you different than every other painter out there? Your magic is not that you can paint. Lots of people can paint. The question is: what makes you special and unique as a painter? Or as a singer? Or as a mom or dad? Or as a leader? Or as an entrepreneur?

I was behind the curve here. I knew I could write, but it took me years to discover my magic as a writer. And I’m still working on it. The more I write, the more I know – about who I am and what I have to offer. In recent years, I’ve learned that my magic involves writing collaboratively and creatively – often with analogies and word pictures that help people anchor their thinking. I love coaching people on how to shape and share their stories and ideas. I love my work as thinking partner for thought leaders. I’m good at research and enjoy asking thoughtful questions. And – while some of these things come easily for me – others are still challenging. But the more I work to strengthen the things that make me unique as a writer, coach, and speaker – the more clear those things become.

I don’t know where you are in your journey, but I encourage and challenge you to keep investigating your unique “magic.” Keep doing. Keep trying. Keep reflecting. Ask others for their observations.

Be intentional about finding what it is that only YOU can do in the WAY that you can do it.

Because the more you DO, the more clear your unique “magic” will become.


This post is part of a series! Don’t miss:

Post 1: Share Your Magic 

Post 2: Wait, I Don’t Know What My Magic Is

Post 3: Stumbling Into Your Magic

Post 4: Create Luck, Live Your Magic

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