My friend Alysha owns and operates a successful salon and boutique in downtown Bellingham, Washington. It is a darling little shop, sleek and stylish and full of sparkle. It is appropriately named Bliss, and simply walking through the door makes you feel a little more glamorous, a little prettier, just a little more special. Her chic display racks are filled carefully with clothing, each piece individually selected by her expert eye, and she has a way of making everyone who walks through her door feel absolutely beautiful and one-of-a-kind.
She is not just good at what she does, she is great.
Alysha and I have been best friends since the sixth grade and as such, I have had a front-row seat to all the times she was underestimated by the people around us. An “average” student, she didn’t play sports, wasn’t involved in clubs, was never voted into student council. She never really stood out or commanded attention. To many people she was simply ordinary. Nothing special. Forgettable.
But those people didn’t see her quiet drive and determination. They didn’t see how she worked her way through high school, saving enough money to pay for community college and beauty school. They didn’t see how the personal tragedies in her life—first losing her dad as a child and then her brother in her early twenties—only inspired her to work harder because she understood that life is short and precious. They didn’t see how she consistently pushed herself to be better, learning everything she could not just about doing hair, but about fashion and style and running a successful business. They didn’t see how even when things went wrong, she kept doing what she loved.
Although we now live more than three thousand miles apart, Alysha still inspires me every day. She never let being called “average” stand in her way. Instead, she followed her passion, discovered her sweet spot, and never looked back.
How many of us can say we’ve been that brave?
Our sweet spot is that place where our greatest passions and our talents or abilities intersect. It is that special place where we are able to do whatever it is that we feel most called to do, that thing we love, that thing we are great at, that thing that makes life worth living. Just like Alysha did, living in the sweet spot means having the courage to follow our dreams, take risks, and work harder than we ever thought possible in order accomplish our goals.
Your gift might be leadership or wisdom or discernment or patience. It could be kindness or administration or communication or diligence. It might be generosity or healing or knowledge or empathy. Perhaps it is teaching or organization or creativity or music. Maybe it is even just doing or serving or being able to step up when needed. Some of us excel in forging a path for others, leading the way and administering change, while others are able to effectively serve in the background, quietly creating or organizing or following through. And while some gifts may be flashier than others, or seem preferable or more important, they are all essential. Your sweet spot is yours alone.
The truth is that all gifts come from God, in order to serve and glorify him: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6).
Finding your own sweet spot often means a messy process of finding and then learning to embrace the God-given talents and aptitudes you already have, rather than the ones you only wish you had. It means taking the time to discover what you are truly good at and enjoy, then figuring out how to merge that talent and those abilities with the ideas and dreams and pursuits you are most passionate about. And sometimes finding your sweet spot even means taking a wrong turn—and even failing along the way.
But despite the messiness of it all, my hope for you is to become fearless and to dare to take the plunge, even when it means risking failure. Remember those words of Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Don’t let the possibility of falling short deter you from trying. You will make mistakes. You will screw up along the way. There may even be times when you have to admit defeat. Keep going. Use those lessons as opportunities to discover what doesn’t work, and always persevere.
Because your sweet spot is there, waiting for you, even if you haven’t quite found it yet, and in the end, it is exactly where you need to be.