I was at the gym on the bike for the first time in two weeks (don’t judge me). I was hoping to be motivated to pedal a little longer through the time-honored hack of distraction. I was looking forward to listening to a Women Taking the Lead podcast, Number 201 with Dana Malstaff, and now I was finally getting a chance.


Well, fifteen minutes went by in a blink. I was so absorbed in what I was hearing, not to mention temporarily blinded by all the lightbulbs going off in my head, that I forgot I was even on the bike.


This podcast perfectly distilled something for me that I have been struggling with (as I discovered looking through my journals) for years.

Here’s what I learned: the difference between PASSION and GIFT. You can pursue your passion forever, but if it’s not also your gift–that thing that you do so joyfully and effortlessly that it doesn’t even feel like a thing–it will never be more than a hobby. Which is fine, of course, as long as you aren’t trying to make a living from it.

When you live your gift, you can infuse it with your passions, what you love and are good but not necessarily great at, and then watch out! You will be unstoppable.


(Did you just hear that click into place for me?)

I have a lot of passions (don’t even get me started), but my gift is writing.

I am a great writer.

I also love how she called me out on being an island. We have to let others help us on our path, doing the things they are great at. When I published my first book, when I didn’t know what I didn’t know, I did everything but the editing myself. It was an exhilarating but also (yes, Dana, exactly!) a tear-filled process.

Now, what shall I do with this newfound knowledge? Because, as Marie Forleo* says, “Insight without action is worthless.”

I shall be worthy!

This time, I’m getting more help. I’m getting help with tasks I could have done myself, but I don’t love doing. Hello, formatting? Kill me.

Thank you, Boss-Mom, Dana Malstaff! Thank you, Jodi Flynn (Women Taking the Lead) for sharing this with us!

*By the way, have you seen Marie Forleo’s website? It blew me away. Check it out.



4 thoughts on “Aha!

  1. Claire, I am still thinking about it too! I feel like some of it is (for me) is “First Born Syndrome”–it all must be perfect and it all must be done by me. One part that I didn’t write in my post (that I believe I recall Dana saying in her interview) is this; just because you CAN do something yourself, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Hello? How freeing is that? Because even though you can do it yourself, if you allow others (who maybe are better at it than you are, whatever ‘it’s is) to help,you are gifting them as well as yourself. I love this. You are giving someone else the chance to use their own gift in conjuction with yours, and isn’t that how magic is made? 🙂

  2. Hey Karen,

    I love that the episode spoke to you. 🙂 That makes me super happy. Yes follow your gift…once you do that it becomes easier to see how you can leverage your gift to create revenue in your business.

    1. Dana, your interview with Jodi has been the ‘gift that keeps on giving’. I have thought about the ideas you raised several times since I listened, and it truly is spurring me on to see how I can involve others in my author and book publishing journey, and how this can be beneficial for everyone involved. My second book is coming out next month and I have already asked several other writers and authors how they did their own books, and I’ve tried some new things this time around. With my first book, I pretty much went it alone. The interview truly came at exactly the right time for me. 🙂

  3. Interesting. I will have to listen to this one and see what I think. I know writing is my one superpower because I come to it so naturally and do it so much better than I do anything else. But I don’t think I would call it effortless. There are times when I have to push myself to the page b/c I’m fighting off other things that are getting in the way, like disappointment that I can’t make a living with my superpower (I want to say “yet” but I don’t have that confidence at the moment) or guilt from feeling self-indulgent and like I should be spending my time working for a charity or at least visiting with sick people (I’m finally coming to an age when I can pretty easily defeat that guilt) or other flitting worries. I definitely suffer from being an island, so even if I don’t share her conceptions around gifts vs. passions, that part of the podcast will likely resonate with me. I’m not sure it ever occurred to me that I could ask anyone for help with anyone before I was the age of, oh, maybe 35? And it’s been an extremely slow process since then, understanding the meaning of community, figuring out what networking means and why people do it…. It’s still mostly a mystery to me, honestly. And I think it comes partly from growing up blue collar and poor. You’re taught to fend for yourself and the world does not appear to be a place to seek generosity and aid. It’s amazing how long and how rigidly we are shaped by childhood experience, isn’t it? In any case, thanks for the meditation on these things. Thinking, thinking….

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