Do you know how special you are?

Do you? So often we tell ourselves, and others, the story that says we are “just a …” wife, mother, employee, manager, and so forth. We tell the story that says we have nothing special to offer. Secretly, inside, we hope that someone looks at us, sees us, and notices that we offer value or can do something special. To which we will humbly reply “Oh, it’s nothing. I was just doing my job.”

I say that story is a lie and we all know it. Deep inside, we know. It’s a false humility to deny that we are unique, special, and one of a kind. It’s an untrue story that serves no one. The truth is that each one of us has something special to offer. The challenge is to discover what that is and find a way to put our specialness to use. When we do what we love, and what we are great at, we thrive. And when we thrive, everyone benefits.

My own story coach, Lisa Bloom, recently posted this story on her blog (and I encourage you to check out her post at . I have heard her tell this story a few times, and it is one of my favorites. And so I want to pass it along to you today as a reminder that you, too, are a special, one of a kind treasure with so much to offer.

 

THE APPLE TREE’S DISCOVERY
by Peninnah Schram and Rachayl Eckstein Davis

In a great oak forest where the trees grew tall and majestic, there was a little apple tree. It was the only apple tree in that forest and so it stood alone.

Winter came. As the snow fell to the forest floor, it covered the branches of the little apple tree. The forest was quiet and peaceful.

One night the little apple tree looked up at the sky and saw a wonderful sight. Between the branches of all the trees, the little apple tree saw the stars in the sky, which appeared to be hanging on the branches of the oak trees.

“Oh God, Oh God,” whispered the little apple tree, “how lucky those oak trees are to have such beautiful stars hanging on their branches. I want more than anything in the world to have stars on my branches, just like the oak trees have! Then I would feel truly special.”

God looked down at the little apple tree and said gently, “Have patience! Have patience, little apple tree!”

Time passed. The snows melted and spring came to the land. Tiny white and pink apple blossoms appeared on the branches of the little apple tree. Birds came to rest on its branches. People walked by the little apple tree and admired its beautiful blossoms.

All summer long, the apple tree continued to grow. The branches of the tree formed a canopy overhead as they filled with leaves and blossoms.

But night after night, the little apple tree looked up at the sky with the millions, and millions, and millions – and millions of stars and cried out, “Oh God, I want more than anything in the world to have stars in my tree and on my branches and in my leaves – just like those oak trees.”

And God looked down at the little apple tree and said, “You already have gifts. Isn’t it enough to have shade to offer people, and fragrant blossoms, and branches for birds to rest on so they can sing you their song?”

The apple tree signed and answered simply, “Dear God, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but that is not special enough! I do appreciate how much pleasure I give to others, but what I really want more than anything in the world is to have stars, not blossoms, on my branches. Then I would feel truly special.”

God smiled and answered, “Be patient, little apple tree.”

The seasons changed again. Soon the apple tree was filled with many beautiful apples. People walked in the forest. Whoever saw the apple tree would reach up, pick an apple and eat it.

And still, when night came to the forest, the apple tree looked at the stars in the oak trees and called out, “Oh God, I want more than anything in the world to have stars on my branches! Then I would feel truly special.”

And God asked, “But apple tree, isn’t it enough that you now have such wonderful apples to offer people? Doesn’t that satisfy you? Doesn’t that give you enough pleasure and make you feel special?”

Without saying a word, the apple tree answered by shaking its branches from side to side.

At that moment, God caused the wind to blow. The great oak trees began to sway and the apple tree began to shake. From the top of the apple tree an apple fell. When it hit the ground, it split open.

“LOOK,” commanded God, “LOOK INSIDE YOURSELF. WHAT DO YOU SEE?”

The little apple tree looked down and saw that right in the middle of the apple was a star. “A star! I have a star!”

And God laughed a gentle laugh and added, “So you do have stars on your branches. They’ve been there all along, you just didn’t know it.”

 

EPILOGUE:

Usually when we want to cut an apple, we cut it by holding the apple with its stem up. But in order to find its star, we must turn it on its side. If we change our direction a little bit, we too can find the spark that ignites the star inside each of us. The stars are right there within each one of us. Look carefully, look closely, and you’ll find that beautiful star.

I tell you this now with 100% certainty:  You are special.

Can you see your stars?

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Client Stories

When I first met Lori, I was in a rut. Having spent 25 years in the same industry, I was bored, max’d out and didn't know what to do next.  I was pigeon-holed into an industry that I was not so fond of, and saw no way to get out.  I felt trapped. Lori understood my predicament, as she had seen it all before -- she was sympathetic, but resolute in knowing that she could help me find answers.  I took great solace in that! 

Through several sessions and dozens of exercises, I began to get a clearer picture of who I am, and where my strengths and talents truly lie.  Working with Lori, I was able to translate that understanding into updated, targeted resumes that quickly produced interviews and gave me the confidence to express myself better than ever before. 

Consulting a Career Coach should be mandatory for anyone in today's work force, and Lori is the best at her profession.

Robert J. Norris, Warrenville, IL