If you were watching movies in 2006, you saw a movie called “You, Me and Dupree”, with Owen Wilson playing Dupree, a clueless house guest of a newlywed couple, who completely disrupts their lives before finding his true calling as a motivational speaker. The gist of his motivational theme was to recognize the gifts within you that make you the person you are; your “ness”, i.e. your  “Carl-ness”, as he explains the concept to his best friend Carl. This post is about finding my “MaryAnn-ness”.

Some people appear to have talents and gifts that make certain things seem to come to them with ease and natural flow. It looks like a light within them was lit by an unseen hand, compelling them to let the light flow from them in their art.

I’m not one of those people. The gifts that I was given are less romantic. I’ve never been able to draw. I’ve never been able to recreate a scene on a canvas. I was never able to shape a ball of clay into any kind of desirable form. 

But I’ve always been driven by creativity. Even in my nursing career, my focus was always on creative problem solving; looking at things as they currently exist, envisioning them transformed into something else, then being able to come up with a plan to make that transformation happen.

Another unromantic gift I’ve been given is tenacity. It is a gift and also a curse. Like a dog with a bone, I don’t easily let go of something once I take ownership of it. But that gift has allowed me to fight through difficult things. It also drives me to work at something creative I’m learning until I feel more skillful. Tenacity also pushes me not to settle for less than what I want. It creates patience because nothing worthwhile comes immediately or without effort.

Those are the “talents” I admit to, because of the fact that I’m not one of those naturally artistically gifted people. At every event I do, there are always people who tell me how talented I am, and I think to myself, “I sure have them fooled." I didn’t roll out of bed one day and start weaving with wire. 

People say “I can’t do that, I’ve tried and I got frustrated and quit.” My little secret is that I had lots of gobs of wire that didn’t amount to anything in the beginning. I still do. I have a tray with unfinished projects that I stopped doing because I got frustrated. But I know I will get back to them, and they will turn out to be better than my original vision for them. That has turned into part of my creative process.

My point is that anyone can create their own “gifted-ness.” By looking at the invisible gifts hidden away (like problem-solving and tenacity) and turning them into that tangible thing you have always wanted to have. That is an exciting idea to me. Thanks Dupree.