Create Yourself Through Your Strengths

Andrea Toole
Sep 27 · 5 min read
Get the Creativity flowing
Get the Creativity flowing
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Once you harness what you’re good at, you can create yourself.
-Lady Gaga

I just finished reading Howard Stern’s new book, Howard Stern Comes Again. It’s a collection of partial transcripts of some of his favourite interviews over the years, in both terrestrial radio and satellite radio. I remember listening to that Lady Gaga interview several years ago. As was the experience of many, this is the interview that changed my mind about her. I don’t know how anyone can not get chills listening to her belt out a song while playing the piano.

This passage stuck out at me. Again:

Once you harness what you’re good at, you can create yourself.

It’s the only part of the book I highlighted.

Lady Gaga’s statement fits into the conversation (that I often write about) about finding and executing your passion. What you’re good at isn’t always your passion, and when you find your passion, you need to keep working at it to improve or maintain it.

When we find that creative thing we love — whether it’s writing, painting, singing, cooking, acting, playing an instrument — we need to practice. Practice not only improves or maintains our skills, as I mentioned but also keeps that spark alive. Doing the thing moves us forward.

This might be the case for non-creative pursuits too. All professions require professional development and keeping up with the industry, right?

We keep practicing and learning to feed that passion, to improve what we’re good at and to create our selves.

What we do becomes part of our personal brand.

We define ourselves by our profession or hobbies or professional designation, and many of us are “multi-hyphenates”. I am a Writer-Digital Marketing Manager; though sometimes I use the phrases “Social Media Manager” and “Heath Coach”. I am a non-practicing Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach, a course that I took for the designation rather than to coach.

Maybe you’re a “lawyer-food blogger”, an “IT manager-opera singer” or a “project manager-rugby coach-karaoke host”. We’ve all got our things.

Photo by Stefany Andrade on Unsplash

Timeless advice

Here’s another related quote, from a book that I’m currently reading:

It has always been my viewpoint that intuition is the decisive element in both the composing and the performance of music. Of course, technique and intelligence have vital functions — one must master the technique of an instrument in order to exact its full potentialities and one must apply one’s intelligence in exploring every facet of the music but, ultimately, the paramount role is the at of intuition. For me, the determining factor in creativity, in bringing a work to life, is that of musical instinct.

This is a statement by Pablo Casals (December 29, 1876– October 22, 1973) — cellist, composer, and conductor. It appears in a book called, Joys and Sorrows: Reflections by Pablo Casals, as told to Albert E. Kahn. After being on hold in the library for a few months, it was finally my turn to pick up this book. I found it on the Holds shelf with its original glued-in library pocket for checkout cards. It was like looking at a relic; The card would have had the borrower’s name with the due date stamped.

Published 50 years ago in 1970, Joys and Sorrows came to my attention last June via a website newsletter called Brain Pickings by Maria Popova. Popova describes Brain Pickings (the website and newsletter) as her “one-woman labor of love — a cross-disciplinary library of interestingness culling ideas that shed light on what it means to live a good life.” The mid-week edition, from which I learned about Casals, is described in its introduction this way:

“Once a week, I plunge into my 12-year archive and choose something worth resurfacing and resavoring as timeless nourishment for heart, mind, and spirit.”

I often find gems in there and a lot of the books she references are old.

Popova published the article about Casals in December 2014. She titled the article, “Legendary Cellist Pablo Casals, at Age 93, on Creative Vitality and How Working with Love Prolongs Your Life”. It is, indeed, timeless. Remember, the Casals/Kahn book was written 50 years ago!

“Working with Love” means executing passion, I think, and it means executing with passion.

You can read the New York Times review of Joys and Sorrows from April 12, 1970. (Also historically noteworthy, the review noted the book price at $7.95. The hardcover price on Amazon.com nearly 50 years later is $144.11. On Amazon.ca it’s $117.23 — $75.76 for softcover.)


The ice cream of your dreams
The ice cream of your dreams
Photo by Benjamin Sow on Unsplash

Finally, adding on to this theme is a card that I picked from the Universe Has Your Back card deck by Gabrielle Bernstein:

I am the dreamer of my dream
I am the dreamer of my dream

I am the dreamer of my dream.

I decided to pick a card blindly to use as a writing prompt. When I picked this one, I noticed that it combined nicely with the Gaga quote.

I am the dreamer of my dream. I harness what I’m good at to create that dream. I use my intelligence, technique, skill, and intuition to execute that dream and to create myself. My self is a display of what I’m good at and that about which I’m passionate.

That paragraph could be used as a mantra, though I didn’t intend it that way, and only made that observation after I’d read this post through a few times.

It all comes together. I feel that themes often pop up in our lives for a reason.


My question to you: What are you good at? What do you create?

Andrea Toole

Written by

Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach. #ADHD mentor. Social Media Manager. Writing about wellness, mental health, spirit & more. Contact me for info.

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