I’ve written eight books so far, and I just came out with the latest one. The books that I’ve written previously were a little more erudite, many had footnotes, a long bibliography, and careful references. About a year ago I realized “Hey, I’m in my 50’s, sooner or later I’ve just got to say it straight up, as it is, as far as I’m concerned.” The naked Arjuna Ardagh, if that is not too unappetizing an image. I wrote this latest book in a very simple way: pretty much just the same as if I spoke to a friend about what is absolutely most important to me. You know those games we’ve all played at parties sometimes? “If you had just 5 minutes left, what you would do, what would you say, who would you call…?”
The book I’ve just written is the condensation of what I would most like to leave behind in the world. Now here is the interesting thing that I’ve noticed, since this book got published: I’m way more edgy about it. If people like it, it has way more significance for me than anything I’ve written before. I want to kiss them, invite them home, be lifelong friends. If someone doesn’t like it, or even doesn’t like bits of it, it also feels a little personal… just as if I’d taken all my clothes off, and then somebody pointed and laughed out loud at the size of my … pectoral muscles.
I’ve realized that giving the gift you were really born to to give is a huge risk. Whether it’s writing a book (like it was for me), or a piece of music, or a song, or even your signature recipe, or putting on your finest clothing, and making yourself look really beautiful, you are putting yourself on the line. It’s more dangerous, more alive, more rewarding, but also more terrifying, than staying in the safety of business as usual.
As a coach, I’ve often worked with people to help them bring forth this deepest gift, the unique gift that I am convinced everybody has waiting inside of them. Over the years I’ve come to accept the fact that we have just as much resistance, if not more, to stepping into our greatness as we have enthusiasm. Sometimes it is confusing isn’t it?
Why do people get jobs they don’t really like, and stay in them for decades collecting a regular pay check, all the time knowing full well that they have left their true passion to grow moldy, in the very back of the refrigerator. What is your deepest passion? What is the gift that you intuit you were born to bring to the world? The one that will not only light up your own heart like a Christmas tree, but also drive everyone around you to fits of exuberance as well?
When you start to feel a twinge of terror, as well as excitement, you have probably hit the nerve. You may not be ready for a public performance, or an official launch today, but coming out of the closet right now and writing in the comments box below your intuition of your deepest gift may be a great step, perhaps an irreversible one. I’m looking forward to reading what you have to say.