While stopped at a stoplight this evening, I watched a squirrel quickly run along the small wire strung between two telephone poles high above the sidewalk. I was impressed with its speed and agility and its obvious willingness to do something I would never attempt. Squirrels are very good at that sort of thing – bounding from limb to limb or tree to tree, nimbly walking their wired tightropes, etc.
I’m sure the squirrel thinks nothing of it. It just comes naturally. Unless you or I have the skills, however, of Nik Wallenda who recently crossed Niagara Falls on a wire, we’d be in trouble if we were judged according to our high wire abilities.
You and I have different skills, talents, gifts, and passions. Fortunately, each individual is incredibly unique in this regard. We don’t have to have the same skills as others. We couldn’t all be alike even if we wanted to (and I hope we don’t want to).
Because of our uniqueness, we would do well to spend more time developing our individual strengths and using them, and less time trying to make up ground in what we or others perceive to be our weaknesses. How many work performance reviews center around what the employees doesn’t do well rather than on what is done well? How many individual development plans devote more time, energy and resources to getting better at things we aren’t good at instead of maxing out our unique contributions based on our talents and passions?
If you’re a squirrel, be a squirrel and don’t let others tell you that you ought to be more like a dog. And if you know what your strengths and passions are, then concentrate on developing and using them in greater ways.
Nobody can be good at everything, nor should anyone try. We need to be the wonderful, unique creations we are designed to be.
Leap year lesson #176 is Be the you that only you can be.