I was 14. It was my first year running track and as a Freshman, I made the varsity track team which was mostly Juniors and Seniors. I just finished my first regional track meet. And I had qualified for the state championships.
On our way home in the mini-van, my mom and I got to talking about things I wanted to do, the kind of college I might want go to (college was a non-negotiable in my family.)
As we pulled into the garage and my mom turned off the van, took a breath, looked at me and said, “Wow Kris. Do you even realize that everything you touch turns to gold? I mean everything. You can do just about anything you want to do.”
While I understood her words, I had no idea what they actually meant about me or for my life until much later.
As I look back on my life now, I can see that there have been a great number of things I’ve been good at. I’d tied my hands at various sports prior to that with almost similar results. With most of them, I got bored. While there are many things I am gifted at without trying, I am by no means a “prodigy” or other type of genius.
While my mom was talking to me that day, she could have been speaking to any one of the members of my family in my generation: we are all rather intelligent overachievers. Most of my cousins went to college on full academic scholarships, several to Ivy League schools. We are second generation college grads and our parents are proud. Doing well in school is considered a family value – on both sides of my family.
However, there is a dark side to having The Golden Touch (whether you were “gifted” with said touch, you work for it, or some combination of both.)
It came up the other day like this with one of my clients:
Me: So let me make sure I understand this – you are actively auditioning and doing commercial acting, building a business, want to write a novel and build a healing center for survivors of war trauma?
Her: Yes, that’s right.
Me: Tell me, how do you imagine your ideal week to look if all of this was to fit into your life?
I listened as she described a week that was rather unrealistic and exhausting given what I know about what it takes to do each of these things well as I have friends who do all of them, just not all of them together.
Her: I just need to figure out what is the next step for someone who is good at making things happen. Like, what order I need to do each thing in? Because I’m certain I can do it all. I just don’t know which step to take next.
Me: I see. Well, what do you believe is the #1 thing you need to change in order for any of it to become possible at all?
Her: Honestly I think I just need to celebrate more. I need to celebrate my little successes, because I’m on my way. I get into a panic and then start pushing and and things become very masculine. I grew up not celebrating any of the little things, but you know what? They matter.
And that’s when I knew I was talking to someone who had The Golden Touch. She was already in the act of making a lot of the things she wanted come into being. And clearly, she was good at what she did – she was booking work as an actress, and people were paying her in her business. Her current challenge wasn’t that it was unrealistic to have it all (though some might think that, and at some point, she and I will revisit that.) Her current challenge was that she was good at it all and had no way to focus what her next step needed to be.
I explained to her that this is why she needed to know her purpose on the planet. When you can do any and everything well, it’s especially critical that you know your purpose. Because that’s how you will know where to focus your attention and time.
The awesome thing about having The Golden Touch is that you can do anything you set your mind and hands on. The sucky thing about having The Golden Touch is that you don’t know what to set your mind and hands on to go anywhere so you stay stuck.
Most people weed out what they do with their lives based on what they are good at. When we are good at things, it feels good, so we just keep doing more of that. But when you are good at anything, eventually the praise you receive is no longer motivational. And the ability to choose what to do becomes more and more difficult. In extreme cases, this will leave you depressed, frustrated with your life, underachieving and under-earning.
But when you know your purpose, it crystallizes what’s high leverage. You don’t have to do it all because you can do it all. You want to do only what will allow you to better express your purpose. Everything else becomes a distraction that takes away your impact in the world.
I explained this to her and now she is getting the clarity she needs about her purpose through my 40 Day program, Ignite Your Purpose.
Have you ever struggled with The Golden Touch? What are some of the ways you’ve dealt with being good at everything?