You have a unique gift. It’s yours and doesn’t look like anyone else’s. It’s true, but not easily remembered in a culture where everyone else’s gift (or your perception of it) is posted online every day. It has taken me over 10 years to realize this and I have to remind myself of it constantly.

The Sickness of Comparison

I have a confession. A weakness. A sickness.

I fall victim to the trap of comparison almost daily. My worst habit is that anytime I read or hear about someone successful, I immediately visit their Wikipedia page and try to ascertain where they were when they were my age. Then, compare me to their situation and find what their “lucky break” was. This only ends badly. I am either glad that their “big” success came later in life, or I attempt to rationalize and give myself excuses on why I’m not “as successful” as they are, yet.

For example, one of my professional “heroes” is Jamie Dimon. He’s currently the CEO of JP Morgan Chase and no matter what you think of big banks, he’s a highly talented, fascinating individual.

In his riveting biography, Last Man Standing by Duff McDonald, is this sentence on page 53: “Dimon, now 34 years old, was not only taking on greater responsibility but making a lot more money. In 1989, he had earned $660,000, up from $594,348 in 1988. “This was still well below Weill’s $1.54 million take, but Dimon was just slightly behind Bob Lipp — a man 17 years his senior — who had earned $810,000.”

Now, you never know whos going to read these posts so that may not seem like a lot to you. However, when I first read that as a 26-year-old, it took my breath away. Instead of taking it as it is, his story, my mind spins into, “I’m smart, aggressive, and talented.” “Will I be able to do that?” I mean that’s the standard now, right?

But why should it matter? His father was a banker and personal friend with Sandy Weill (the billionaire founder of Citigroup.) He went to Harvard and took a big risk with his mentor. And, here’s what I didn’t mention. When he turned 30, he had no career prospects. Having left Amercian Express a year earlier, he was trying to figure out what to do next when Sandy invited him to join his next venture.

The point is — your luck can change at any time and a lot can happen in a couple years if you’re focused. You will get unique opportunities if you recognize them. If you seize them and commit yourself, success will happen for you too. (There, that little sermon was for me.)

The Truth

This is what I’m learning as I visualize my own past, current, and future life achievements. Changing jobs won’t fulfill you. Getting another college degree won’t. When you choose to discover your unique gift and put it to use, that’s when you are fulfilled.

Until I learned this, for years Jamie’s story frustrated me. But, my story and your story won’t look like someone else’s. It’s unique to you and the happiest people are the ones who discover this. They live every day with a sense of gratitude and anticipation that good things are happening. I recently heard someone say, “shame on us if we go into each new day with an ungrateful mentality while there’s someone in the hospital begging God for the opportunity we have right now.”

Your Gift

“A man’s gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men.” – Proverbs 18:16

This verse is my reminder that it isn’t a certain person who will grant you the keys to success. It’s that each of us has a unique gift. We just have to discover it and use it.

A Simple Affirmation

On a recent early-morning plane ride to an out of state meeting, I was reflecting on this thought and scribbled the following in my journal.

  • Ask for your gift.
  • Discover your gift.
  • Practice your gift.
  • Refine your gift.
  • Use your gift.
  • Your gift changes you.
  • Your gift will change others.

Reading this is now a part of my morning routine. I am choosing to make it an object of my focus. I am cultivating my gifts and excited by what life has brought me and will continue to bring.

Choose to live your life. You’ll be surprised how good it is.

Call to Action

I’ve always heard people say “Life’s about the journey, not the destination.” Each year that passes, I find I’m happiest when I’m enjoying the journey. I also know that when you’re in the process of the journey it can be frustrating. That’s what I wrote my e-book: You, The Ideal Candidate.

This manifesto contains how to know exactly what you want, create your future and re-wire your brain to succeed. This 3 step process is detailed in my FREE e-book: You, The Ideal Candidate: A Short Guide to Getting Exactly What You Want In Your Career — and Life.

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