Confession time…This blog article is an occasion to reveal the “mystery” around the probing question “How Do YOU Use Your Talents ? “that I ask You, visitor of my web site, when you land on Giftedlab’s homepage. This is a story about how GiftedLab came to life…how I found my life mission after having been through extreme professional and health challenges.
I found this phrase in one Parisian freebie newspaper (that you can get in the metro or in other places in public transport) and kept it for years….somewhere visible… and still keep it in my files as a part of personal history and DNA of GiftedLab’s story.
So, here’s how the story goes:
It was back in 2011 when I bumped into this question that was a part of this freebie newspaper publicity that made deep impression on me. Back then, I was in the middle of my biggest life crisis provoked by mobbing/sexual and strategic harassment that happened at my workplace in my home country Belgrade, Serbia.
At the time I came across this phrase, I moved back to live in Paris, city where I had studied and got my second university degrees few years before. I was also finishing business school ESCP Europe Executive Master when I started to feel physical consequences of mobbing that changed my life forever. I was not at the best point in my life back then: I felt like I was hit by a truck and my self-image was very bruised if not in pieces.
This violent professional experience got me deeply confused and demotivated…killed enthusiasm that I have as one of main character trait…If it had been a scene from a Western movie, I would have been the actor shut in both legs and left in the desert to find my way out of trouble. I felt so bad because with giftedness goes heightened sensitivity so what would be just a scratch, it often become deep wound for a gifted person. So, for someone like me who works on “enthusiasm, passion and meaning” fuel, this even was the killer. This mobbing also provoked falling down the ” rabbit hole” of illness. I got diagnosed with auto-immune condition due to the great amount of stress I have to digest during work in this unhealthy and dysfunctional working place. Long story short, it took me six to seven years to get my health on the track and three more years to figure out how I am going to live my life with what stayed as serious consequence of this deeply traumatising life event, auto-immune condition that demand serious rearrangements in life style.
I have succeeded in making sense out of my “trauma”, “crossing the desert” , “dark night of the soul” or however we can call what happened to me back then. First important thing that happened to me was meeting my professional coach Pierre G. whom I asked for help and guidance to find “how to use my talents” again. It occurred to him that I should do IQ assessments to check up if I was gifted. This would not occurred to him if he hadn’t had a gifted friend, father of three gifted boys, who taught him the basics about giftedness. That’s how I found out I was gifted or, better say, rediscovered that I was gifted because before entering primary school, I was said to be gifted but I forgot it.
So, the first key to recovery was rediscovering my giftedness. This was a big “aha” moment for me…especially when I read about social-emotional challenges of gifted in the book of Fabrice Bak…I even read some other gifted specialists and researchers mentioning that many of gifted people have been facing bullying in school or being mobbed later in life. I “connected the dots” about how deeply giftedness as personality trait affects life, how it affected mine….I realised that I need to do something about it: create business activity that will support (young) people not to live the life in survival mode but to embrase their difference, learn self-advocacy and do something creative with their potential.
The thing that stroke me the most about discovering giftedness was the fact that this is, FIRST OF ALL and BEFORE ANYTHING an inner, social-emotional reality and not obligatory an achievement, stellar career, membership in Mensa, PhDs or any other sign of extraordinary performance. We need to know how is our inner functioning, (not only as gifted) so that we do not lose ourselves in this world…We need to have healthy self-boundaries and self-regulation…Without this self-knowledge, loosing yourself is possible in so many ways.
This new information about my inner functioning was a first ray of light in this sticky fog of confusion and lack of meaning where I found myself after THE event (mobbing).
As every good idea starts with a problem, my journey toward comforting self-discovery and newly revitalised Me started from THE event….and most importantly, toward the creation of GiftedLab platform that you have in front of your eyes.
As my health problem cleared up and my great life energy returned, I knew I had to get this out to others…I can confirm you from the experience that authentic self expression can feel like double enigma for gifted and twice-exceptional people. We have such complex minds that don’t always get along well with intensity of our emotions. Sharing my story of transformation is to show you my jumping off point and to empower others to know that if I could do it, everybody can do it.
Here are the most important milestones of this journey of mine toward the re-appropriation of my talents and finding answer to the question I asked myself since the time I found the probing question ” How DO You Use Your Talents?” in freebie newspaper:
- One strengths-based assessment I made in 2010 was the first happy moment that reassured me in my intuition. We almost regularly happen not to do the job we’re born for because we don’t know ourselves, how we function on some, call it, “nano” level. That was the moment when I said to myself that if I had known about strengths-based approach when I was in my teens or in early youth years, my professional choices and options would have been much different.
- By passing WAIS IQ assessment (still, I don’t believe that IQ test have all the answers), I discovered that I am gifted and set myself on the journey of discovery what it means to be gifted..Only then I made connection with my childhood memory of early school entrance testing when I was 6 years old…On physical level, I started to feel my diaphragm deeply relaxed for the first time in thirty five years. Yes, I could take a deep breath for the first time in 35 years. It was over with “Rapid Rabbit Breathing Style” I cultivated for years. I also had a deep realisation about importance of understanding giftedness on social-emotional level and its strong influence on psycho-neurologic functioning in one person’s life. I let the light of this precious knowledge get inside of me and start to accept myself as I am and realise how many people close to me were the same as I am.
- I even understood what was difference between me and some of my friends who seemed to choose their career path much easier than me: I was the one with strong multipotentiality and they were more specialist types of people. Lack of role model is obvious…No wonder why multipotential people feel little bit confused about who they are when surrounded with specialists.
- Mobbing confirmed me in my enthusiasm to help creation of business world less violent, more emotionally “literate” and more collaborative…
Ok…I know few of us had a chance to have parents or other guides to show us the way…I also now and I experienced it’s not easy to become a person…As many of you may feel, I haven’t been in the center of my life for so long…I walked away from myself… It was painful to be be different..But from the moment I realised how I function, I was at peace with it. I stopped “squeezing” myself from inside and stopped putting myself into “mould”. I stopped little by little to repeat internalised messages others used not to approve you….I realised my intensity, common to gifted people is my superpower.
This change didn’t come right away. It takes courage to knock down your “false self” that we have build for years instead of our authentic self. Embracing my intense and complex nature is something I had to learn. But once you live in congruence with the fire of your intensities, you can align with your purpose and create more meaning for yourself…Create a life and career for yourself…Even in 40s, 50s, 60s..
I know with every atom of my being that…You, if your shut up your inner critic and stop with toxic excuses and comparisons with others, have everything it takes to actualise your deepest and truest potential. These two “pals” are self-made prisons that keep us trapped in misery, mediocrity and self-doubt. And we’re the only ones who hold the key to our freedom.
When I found my whys to fuel my future professional action, I felt so full of life….it’s priceless to have this sense of purpose…
This is last but not the least step.
Yes, we need a dogged amount of hard-work and discernible amount of grace to lead us to fulfilled and creative selves but every single effort pays off in joy, loads of creative energy, fulfilment and sense of purpose….everything you do to get there it’s worth of it.
I invite you on this journey to find your unique expression of talents…If you choose me to assist you on the journey toward your authentic talented self, together we will dig deep but we will also have fun in learning and “crunching” knowledge, as knowledge is a key to open many doors inside you and around you. GiftedLab will be that platform and “laboratory”…Welcome.