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Have you ever had one of those moments when everything in your life suddenly made sense? For years, I had been trying to figure out how to solve a problem I was having, and then came along a great big old “ah ha” moment at the most unexpected moment. I learned something that changed my personal relationships and it changed how I coached all at the same time!

When I was in my coaching certification program, my mentor was coaching me through a very vulnerable conversation about abandonment. I had just told her that I had finally discovered the best parts of me, but when I began sharing them with those closest to me, everyone was running the other way. It felt like I was in a game of “Tag, you’re it!” and I was IT! And I remember stopping at one point and thinking, “What’s the point of having a gift (my authentic heart and spirit) if no one wants it in the first place? And why would I be given something that I can’t use in the world?” Nothing made sense. Until…

It was a beautiful autumn afternoon. Three of us were hiking near Morganton, NC. One of my clients had requested a VIP day that included hiking up a mountain (I love what I do, can you tell? Mountaintop coaching is awesome!). This particular afternoon found us standing on the edge of a rock jutting out of the mountainside, looking at the beautiful view, and listening to a powerfully strong wind that sounded like a jet plane flying through the valley. We stayed a bit too long because when we turned to head back down the trail, we realized it had grown fairly dark on the wooded pathway. My client was prepared. He had headlamps for us to use to navigate back to the trailhead and further on to the car. What an awesome concept! A headlight is like an elastic band with a light attached to the front, so you can literally turn it on and light up whatever is in front of you!

I turned my headlamp on and then looked straight at my client to see if he could tell me whether it was on the High beam or Low beam setting! He put his hand up to block the ‘high beam’ and had to turn away from me! So I looked at the other person hiking with us, and she did the same thing. And I had this surreal experience in that moment that felt very much like what life was like for me. The people I most wanted to ‘shine’ for were all cowering down and avoiding me, if not turning their backs to me altogether!

So in that moment on the side of the mountain when I was shining my headlamp into my client’s face and watching both my client and my friend turn away, my reaction was to just turn my light off, or, at the very least, dim it! That would have been a big mistake! But, I still fumbled around trying to find the switch to turn it off. Every time my client tried to help me find the switch, I looked up and zapped him with my bright light again! This exchange, while very comical really, was frustrating to me! Because I couldn’t figure out how to connect to anyone without hurting them with my LIGHT! What a metaphor it was! But once I got settled and gained control of this process, I actually partnered with the LIGHT, rather than staying irresponsible and reactive with it. I learned that I could control where the light was directed and that meant staying fully present. I controlled the direction of the light, and by doing so, I could light up the pathway, and everyone could easily follow my lead.

Here’s what I learned in that brief, but powerful moment:

1. IDENTIFY YOUR LIGHT – embrace your UNIQUE GIFTS! What are your natural gifts and talents? We are ALL given a unique gift to put into the world. Never underestimate it or take it for granted! Whether your gift lies in music, art, teaching, healing, the art of hospitality, writing, running a business, or being a great communicator, you have a gift! And the world is waiting for you!

2. HONOR YOUR GIFTS! Stepping into your gift for the first time can be tricky (many people don’t even discover their natural gifts until mid-life). Far too often, we are more afraid of our brilliance than our shortcomings. I love Marianne Williamson’s quote that says,

“It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

So true, isn’t it? It is our natural gift that finally leads us to our purpose in life. Many of my clients find that their gifts and purpose lead them to a significant career change! And when they combine their gifts and purpose with their career, it is almost effortless, its extremely lucrative, and certainly its not called a JOB or WORK! You are simply being paid for being YOU in the world!

3. VALUE YOURSELF! Are you actually placing a value on what you do that is so effortless? Just because it’s simple for you, doesn’t mean it’s easy for someone else to do! I’ve seen this happen over and over again. I am guilty of this myself. I used to give away the very thing that made me unique! To me, it felt like an even exchange: I got to do what I loved to do in the world, and whoever gives me the chance to shine, gets the benefit. It was always a win/win… until I needed to pay some bills! So yes, this relates directly to how much you are being paid at work, especially if you’re not doing something you love! (If you struggle or resist this one, please watch for my upcoming VIP Day Training about Sacred Money Archetypes!) In the mean time, spend some time reflecting on how you use your gifts, how you are incorporating them into your work, and how much value you value them! Do you honor and appreciate the very parts of you that need to SHINE the BRIGHTEST in the world? Because until you do that, no one else can value your gifts either! What do people come to you for? What do you LOVE to do more than anything? Develop that gift and incorporate it into your life every single day!

4. DON’T DIM YOUR LIGHT! Have you watched the scene in one of the Harry Potter movies when the class first gets their magic wands? They began accidentally blowing things up and zapping things with energy! They didn’t understand how to use their wands with intention and purpose. That’s what I did, shining my big ol’ bright light right into the faces of those nearest and dearest to my heart. Too much all at once – that’s not so good! People may run in the opposite direction simply because you were irresponsible in how you managed the intensity and passion that is inside of you! We often hear things like, “You’re too much! Settle down! Reel it back in a bit! You’re over-the-top when it comes to…. “ That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share your gifts and talents with the world! Don’t dim your light, direct it in a productive and effective way!

5. SHINE ON! Once you step into your life with confidence and put YOU and your incredible gifts and talents out into the world, all that’s left to do is SHINE ON! There’s no stopping you and the sky is truly the limit! This is when you align with who you truly are! Authenticity and passion collide and let me tell you, life is good once they do! Obstacles disappear. No more drama and struggle. Yes, there are still circumstances and life is still… LIFE! It has its ups and downs. We still get disappointed, we still face fears, but it’s from a place of courage and power, and that’s where we really SHINE!

So go ahead and put the high beam on and go SHINE BRIGHT in the world. Be an inspiration to others! BE YOU! Give yourself permission to ENJOY and play in the abundance of life! Be energized and ALIVE rather than resigned and on autopilot. When you get there, life is good. Life is really, really good. I promise!