Back in 2006 the Dixie Chicks released a song titled “Not Ready to Make Nice.”  Without going into the politics of that particular song I actually like the message that sometimes it’s just not necessary to try to make everyone else happy. 

In fact, the negative labels that people may have used to describe you – often provide clues to your unique genius.  Common examples of negative labels may include “nerdy,” “loud,” “flighty,” “unfocused,” “bookworm,” “sloppy,” “shy,” “quick-tempered,” “intense,” “unsociable,” “stingy,” “artsy,” “jabbermouth,” “day-dreamer,” “soft touch,” “aggressive,” “antagonistic,” and “self-righteous.”  You get the idea.  You may have been hurt by some of those terms being directed at you.  But there may be a silver lining.

In order to see the clues to your genius, it’s helpful to ask yourself what you were trying to accomplish when you were perceived as annoying to the person who gave you the label.

Here’s aThree-Step process for discovering your extraordinary value on the other side of being called names.

Step 1:  List the negative labels that others have sent your way:  (I’ll use myself as the example here.)

  • Impatient
  • Blunt
  • Insensitive
  • Opinionated

Yes, I could go on but I’ll keep the list short for demonstration purposes.

Step 2:  For each of the labels in Step 1, describe what you were trying to accomplish when that term was applied to you:

  • Impatient       --     Save Time
  • Blunt             --     Not easily deterred by excuses
  • Insensitive     --     Able to see the core issues quickly
  • Opinionated   --    Cut through the unnecessary garbage

Step 3:  Now look for a common denominator in all of those situations.  What I see from my list is the desire to cut to the chase.  I don’t like lengthy committee meetings, complex government regulations, whining about what happened 20 years ago, blaming others, or any kind of indecision or procrastination.

So if I had to write a summary statement of what those negative say about me it would be something like this:

Gathers necessary information and creates solutions and action plans quickly.

Yes, that’s part of my genius.  Does that mean I always “make nice” with everyone around?  No.  But that has served me extremely well in many, many situations.  It has been the pivotal key that has allowed me to write with clarity from a Biblical perspective, be paid extremely well as a life coach, speak in a compelling manner, and start new businesses.    

Now, it’s your turn.  Make your list of “negative” things people have said about you – and clarify your genius.  What is that short statement that makes you remarkable?  Just maybe, “making nice” is burying your genius.