My name is: Ashley Wick.
I live in: Boulder, Colorado.
I’m talking about: The impact of shifting our internal focus from what we believe we lack to an appreciation of our innate gifts (our genius!). So often, we shortchange ourselves by overlooking our gifts. Isn’t it amazing to think that we are unique beings with distinct essences and aptitudes? No one has your exact iris or fingerprint—or your unique constellation of gifts. You are one in eight-billion! One of the ways we can live graciously is to embrace our gifts and share them with our communities.
Before I started doing this work, I was:
Before I understood my genius, I was more susceptible to unhealthy
striving, felt less focused and spent my time in some unproductive and unfulfilling ways. My field of awareness was narrow, and I felt unsure about the nature and value of my contribution.
My interest was sparked when:
Ten years ago, I felt the call to pivot and fill my time with more meaningful work, but I wasn’t sure how and felt insecure about my capabilities.
Someone gifted me Gay Hendrick’s book The Big Leap which helped me see the beauty of my natural gifts with fresh eyes. It had a profound effect and inspired me to create a workshop to support other women who were struggling to hone their purpose and build confidence.
Later, I stumbled across an essay by Charles Eisenstein entitled, “Circle of Gifts,” which offered an exciting perspective on what could be possible if we engaged in a “gift economy” (built on a culture where people depend upon people they know personally for life’s necessities and pleasures). It underscored the importance of exchanging our gifts to deepen the authenticity of our relationships, fuel creativity and create reciprocity in community. As Eisenstein says, “Community is woven from gifts.”
One of the unexpected things I experienced when I landed in Boulder was people’s interest in trading services. Coming from NYC, this idea felt foreign, but I learned that when you remove the financial transaction, the exchange is typically more gratifying.
The idea behind it is:
Before you can appreciate and share your gifts, it’s important to articulate them (something we cover in depth in the Ingenius workshop). To help you unearth your genius, consider the following questions which address who you are as well as what you do well:
- What are the essential qualities I naturally show up with when I am at my highest and best? (ie. compassion, wit, courage)
- What activities make me feel in flow, most alive and give me the greatest return on effort?
Then, as a daily practice, you can bookend your day with these journaling prompts:
- In the morning: “Which of my gifts shall I appreciate and express today?” or “How will I use my genius today?"
- In the evening: “How did I use my genius today? How was my day improved by someone else’s genius?”
- If you have a meditation practice, you can incorporate an affirmation like “I give thanks for my natural ability to ____(problem solve)_____ and offer it in service of creating more ____(calm)_____ for myself and others.
Try hosting a “gift circle” to share your gifts with your community:
- Gather at least ten people. Sit in a circle.
- Round 1: Everyone takes a turn sharing one thing they need. Others in the circle can interject to offer to meet the need.
- Round 2: Each person shares something they would like to give. (This could be time, a material item or service, ie. my lawnmower, negotiation skills). During this share, anyone can speak up to request a gift being offered.
- Note who is giving what to whom. Exchange phone numbers for follow up.
- Round 3: Express gratitude for the gifts you received from the last circle. Witnessing generosity inspires more generosity!
My work is an expression of gratitude because:
Gratitude for our gifts turns our focus to what we already have and away from what we lack. This practice is a doorway to living life from a place of abundance rather than scarcity.
Gratitude improves your life—and our collective experience on this planet—because:
We live in a consumptive, hustle culture, that encourages us to always be grasping at more, bigger, better or different. It’s easy to believe we aren’t enough. When we appreciate our natural talents, we reconnect with our inherent value (which feels good) and, in doing so, we expand our capacity to serve others. What you place your attention on grows. When you pay attention to your unique abilities, then your appreciation for and confidence in yourself will grow too.
The words I live by are:
Gratitude for our innate gifts and sharing them with others is the antidote to the rat race of achievement without purpose.
One truth that is so important, but people don’t always realize is:
We all have genius. You were born with it. You don’t have to work hard to get or learn it or earn it. It’s just what is. Celebrate it!