“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Howard Thurman, author, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader

In my last post, I discussed some of the common pitfalls and misconceptions in looking for your “life purpose,” ways we can go astray on that quest and torture ourselves. Click here to read that post.

In this post I’ll introduce you to the concept of Unique Brilliance and help you uncover yours, so you can create a passionate, deeply fulfilling and joyful life.

tulipsEach of us, like a flower or tree, is encoded with who we are, what we are here to give, our unique beauty and brilliance. Each of us comes with unique gifts that are needed on earth, in our communities and our world, at this time. These are things we are innately good at and also love to embody, do or share (even if we also feel conflicted about them). Our unique gifts collectively make up our Unique Brilliance; they form a one-of-a-kind crystal made up of the facets of our many gifts. It’s this combination and how it expresses through you that is so unique to you. This crystal illuminates what you are here to do and be, how you contribute to our world, and where your heart path leads.

Your Unique Brilliance is the shining through you of the prism of your gifts, who you innately are.

9189847 - middle aged woman in white in the sun.When you are able to identify these gifts in yourself, you can begin centering your life around the use of them. When you do this, you will find yourself more lit up, inspired, engaged with life and feeling good about yourself and your life than you thought possible.

Here are 8 keys I have identified to help you discover your Unique Brilliance.

For those of you interested in exploring this, I recommend you get out a pen and paper and write what comes up in response to each of these keys and the questions I pose with them. Give yourself time and a conducive space to do this. Let it be fun, not work. Come back to it over a period of time. You’ll begin to notice more aspects of your brilliance as you move through your life and allow these keys to be your guide.

I’m going to divide these keys into several posts, so you can ponder and take them in slowly.

  1. The number one key to your Unique Brilliance is in what you most love, enjoy, are passionate about, fascinated by and drawn to again and again.

Joseph Campbell was onto this when he advised, “Follow your bliss.”

What have been your persistent loves, passions, fascinations, obsessions, pastimes in your life? What do you most enjoy? What do you keep coming back to? What do you choose to do in your down time that comes purely from your own desire or curiosity and not in response to some feeling of “should” or “have to”?

For instance, I read the dictionary and translate poems from other languages into English for fun.

Keep your focus broad as you look for the answers to these questions. Note down what activities you loved as a child, teen, adult, and what you currently do in your spare time. Do you read a lot? What kinds of books? Do you love to dance? Do you love camping, being in nature? Are you passionate about health and nutrition? Are you happiest when alone or with others? Doing what?

forestIf you narrow your focus too much, looking for one specific thing, you may miss the forest for the trees. In my life I have been drawn over and over to the arts, but not just one specific art form. As a child, I sang in a chorus, took ballet lessons and violin lessons, liked to draw, play with clay, and create elaborate scenarios with my dolls and doll houses, as well as inventing and performing plays with my friend Julia, and writing little stories and poems. In high school I studied photography, creative writing, drawing, modern dance, and acting. There wasn’t one singular art form I was drawn to, but rather the whole act of creating. And this confused me for a long time, as I kept trying to get myself to choose just one, but part of my brilliance lies in the multiplicity and intersection of all this creativity and in my fascination with the creative process itself.

Let yourself savor, explore and write your responses to the questions with this key. And as you move through your day, notice what you are drawn to, how you respond to things, what’s important to you, what lights you up. Everything can offer you keys to your brilliance. I recently read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I noticed that I was impatient with all the philosophy (though it was interesting and resonant at times) and totally uninterested in the motorcycle maintenance details, but I kept wanting the author to get back to the relationship between the father and son. That’s what really mattered to me. This is a clue to my unique brilliance, the way I’m wired. Relationships and the inner workings of the human fascinate me endlessly far more than theories or mechanics. You might read the same book and have a very different response.

In my next post, I’ll share three more keys to help you discover your Unique Brilliance. Until then…

I would love to hear your comments and questions on what opened up for you in reading this post.


If you would like help uncovering and making the most of your Unique Brilliance to create a passionate, fulfilling, thriving life, check out my one-on-one Mentoring Program.