This weekend I’m going to be giving a short speech, and I was asked by the event coordinator to provide her with a short bio about me to be read in my introduction. Now I felt a little funny writing about myself and the things I’ve done to get to where I’m at in my life and career until this point. I don’t know, maybe it’s because of the Scandinavian value of humility that’s been drilled into me since childhood, but whatever the reason, it felt weird so I reached out and asked a good friend to help me with this one by writing the short bio for me. She graciously agreed without hesitation, and I have to say it was one of the best decisions I have made in a long time. She just sent what she had written, and I was absolutely blown away. Not only is this friend a very talented, eloquent, and beautiful writer, but her words were about me… if only part of what she wrote is true… I was so touched and moved, almost to tears. It made me feel so loved and valued.
So this led me to think: Why do we typically only get to have expressed what people value and esteem in us during the eulogy at our funerals when we’re not even there to hear it, or accept their gift with grace and honour?” It seems a little silly to me.
So what I’m challenging, if you’re up for it, and believe me it’s worth it, is for you to reach out to a loved one and ask them if they will take some time to sit down and write a short paragraph about you. Maybe even frame it as “Let’s say you are going to introduce me to a group of people who don’t know me, and you want to tell them some of the things you notice and appreciate about me that you want them to know.” They don’t have to write a novel, just a short paragraph or two… and you can also tell them that they don’t have to worry about covering everything about you. That might take the pressure of forgetting something off of them. It’s a really powerful experience, and it will likely make you feel closer to both yourself and that person.
I think I’m going to print my little paragraph and keep it close by at all times, and then read it every time I feel like I’m lacking in value or significance. It’s pretty hard to feel crummy after reading something like that.