messy gift

People generally know a present that comes from me–no “To, From” tag or card necessary. They can identify it just by the wrapping itself. Yeh, much of the time, I pick colorful and unique paper. It’s not uncommon to get gift from me with hot blue sharks biting in to neon green cupcakes.

But that’s not what makes my presents identifiable. It’s the wrapping job itself. Sometimes there’s too much tape and other times, one of my cheerfully wrapped boxes comes with the corners of the paper already lifting up, from lack of enough. 

And here’s the thing–it’s not for lack of trying. I carefully pick special paper and match it with shimmery bows or soft, touchable ribbons. I set everything out on the table before me and size up the gift for the amount of paper I’ll need. I cut with care and fold the corners on a hard surface so they crease just right. None of that matters.

In the end, a present from me is a present from me and my wrapping talent leaves something to be desired.

I was coordinating with my friend recently who was going to wrap a gift we were giving together to another friend and joked that “I’ll bring the wrapping and you can do it.” 

She responded with “Why? You’re the world’s best wrapper!”

Last week I was at a talk by Mark Fernandes, the Chief Leadership Officer for Luck Companies. His passion is people and helping them believe in themselves and live up to their own potential. He made a comment that really hit me.

Mark asked the audience to picture a room full of second graders in which the kids were asked to raise their hands if they could paint. He asked us to imagine what most of these 7 year-olds would do—raise their hands! Of course, any kid will tell you they can paint. 

He looked the audience square in the eye and asked the same question of us: “raise your hand if you can paint.” About 5 out of 400 raised their hands. 

Mark believes we are all born extraordinary and that we spend the rest of our lives being told that we aren’t. And after years and years of this conditioning, it’s hard to believe how remarkable we really can be.

Maybe my wrapping doesn’t lineup to Martha Stewart standards, but I sure used to be proud of it when I was younger. There they were every year under the tree, sitting brightly, proud and slightly crumply for my parents. And there they were at the birthday party, piled up on the table with everyone else’s presents, again, completely identifiable by the eccentric choice of cats sharing cake with mice or the cluster of coordinating bows on top.  

Instead of passing on the things we think we don’t do well enough, maybe we should do more of them. It’s running that race even though you know you might come in last. It’s volunteering to chair a committee even when you think you could never live up to the last person who held that position. It’s applying for that job even when you think you’re not as qualified as the other applicants. It’s about raising your hand, speaking up, speaking out and doing things because they make you happy.

It’s about living authentically. Who really is the authority on gift wrapping anyways? 

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