A recent conversation with a mentor put a new twist on some long-held beliefs for me. I’ve always told others, “Follow your gifts, and do what comes easy.” Over the years, with my three daughters growing up and wondering what to major in at college, I always said “go with easy; you’ll get great grades and have fun at the same time.” I mentioned the same idea to my mentor. He agreed with the idea of following one’s gifts, but he changed my thinking with the idea that what feels natural may not necessarily be easy (much the same idea as “simple but not easy”).
His counsel was to follow your gifts and go with what feels natural – not easy, but natural. Think spontaneous, unaffected, genuine, innate, instinctive and legitimate. Not just easy. There’s a difference. Easy can often be taken for granted. Easy can make for “lazy.” Natural makes for “fully heartfelt.” A musician friend named Maynard told me once, “My wife always asks, ‘Why do you sing all those sad songs?’ And I said, cause I like ’em!” Sad comes naturally for Maynard. Listen to Maynard Holbrook sing sometime, and you’ll know exactly what I mean. Do what is natural for you. That, in fact, should be your path in life.
I want to add something here that I’ve learned over the last couple of years: What’s in our hearts and what is natural for us at any given point on the path are not static. They’re dynamic. They will evolve, and I’ll add a related truth: Everything ends. My father passed away two years ago, my mother now suffers from Alzheimer’s, I recently ended what had been a 25-year business affiliation, and my wife and I are now officially empty-nesters after raising three beautiful daughters. Change, too, is natural.
Let’s do something different; we can’t help but get better:
- Buy the book. Pick up “Strength Finders 2.0” for a powerful assessment of what comes naturally for you.
- Give the book. Buy an extra copy, and gift it to someone you know who is trying to find their way.
Help another understand what comes naturally to them, and then share what you learned about yourself. Life isn’t always easy, but consider going for “natural” every time.