Great Weakness or Great Gift?

~by Shannon Modrell

Do you ever suffer from comparison-itis?

Do you tend to avoid doing things because “it won’t be perfect”?

Do you ever worry that what you say or do won’t meet the approval of others? 

There’s an old saying about criticism and gaining the acceptance and approval of others and it’s a powerful mantra for kicking self-doubt right out the door. It’s called the 4 SW’s:

Some Will, Some Won’t, So What, Someone’s Waiting

I see too many people hiding who they authentically are and not sharing their authentic gifts in the world because they feel they don’t measure up to some standard of how they should be or how they should express.  Meanwhile the world isn’t getting the unique benefits of what they have to offer.

Brent and I watched a movie last weekend about the amazing Temple Grandin, PhD.  To say that Temple had obstacles to overcome is a gross understatement.

Temple is famous for having designed livestock handling facilities that are more humane, more effective and produce better meat for less money.  The systems Temple designed are used worldwide by major corporations.  Temple revolutionized the livestock industry!

But here’s the catch:
Temple is autistic.
And a woman.
A woman who effected massive change in a VERY male dominated, machismo, slow to change industry.
In the 1960’s, no less!

How did she accomplish this?  Her autism positioned her for several unique tendencies and abilities:

 1) Difficulty relating to people led to a deep kinship with animals.

 2) She possessed abilities to perceive patterns of behavior in the animals that enabled her to piece together clues to why current methods of handling were creating stress in the animals, causing unnecessary injuries, and eating up profits.

 3) She taught herself to draft the blueprints of her unconventional designs and translate those scale drawings into 3 dimensional form in exquisite detail in her mind, executing a completely operational and successful prototype – with no training or experience.  This was key in convincing ranchers to spend obscene amounts of money on systems that seemed outrageously ineffective by their own standards. (These are all common traits in persons with autism)

So what would seem to many like a death-sentence for productivity (they actually said that about autism back then) turned out to be the exact formula for Temple to create a massive contribution to the world.  BTW, she is now considered “the most accomplished and well known adult with autism in the world” (see her website) She’s the author of numerous groundbreaking and books and articles on animal welfare and autism advocacy.

What if Temple said “I can’t convince a bunch of ranchers to treat livestock more humanely, I’m autistic, I’m a woman, and I have no engineering experience!”  What if Helen Keller said “I can’t write inspiring books or fight for women’s suffrage, I’m deaf AND blind, no one will believe in me!”  What if Einstein said “I can’t influence the world of physics, I’m dyslexic and failed in school!”

What we think is our greatest weakness usually turns out to be our greatest strength

 So the next time you’re tempted to hold yourself back in life because you think you don’t have what it takes, or believe no one would benefit from your contribution, I hope you’ll remember Temple Grandin…and the 4 SW’s:

Some Will, Some Won’t, So What? Someone’s Waiting!

Peace and Blessings,


Want to use this article in your Ezine or Website? 
Please do – just be sure to include the following blurb in it’s entirety:

Singer, Songwriter, Motivational Speaker Shannon Modrell changes lives and mindsets by performing transformational healing music at international conferences, holistic events, and at Unity and United Spiritual Centers all over the USA. 
If you want to be inspired, encouraged and empowered to live the creative fire within you, you can sign up for a FREE
subscription to her Ezine Gifted U by emailing:  
Visit Shannon’s Website at
Want to read more articles like this one?  Visit Shannon’s blog at:


Permission To Do Things Badly ~by Shannon Modrell


“Did she just say what I think she said?!?”

We westerners are such a results oriented, perfectionistic culture in so many ways!  Too often we confuse striving for excellence with striving for perfection.  If the thought of allowing yourself to do things badly has you aghast with horror, then you have a perfectionist streak, my friend! 

Now granted, there are times when striving for perfection is preferable – Doctors performing surgery springs to mind as one example.   And you’d better believe that I want the auto mechanic who works on my brakes to be on the top of his game the day he’s under my car! But more often than not, perfectionism hampers good results. 

I know because I am a recovering perfectionist myself.

Allowing myself to do things badly has been the single most effective tool for getting me into action.  It was the policy I finally had to adopt in order to accomplish anything.  Everything I have ever created including my CD’s, articles, resumes, artwork, speeches, classes, workshops, my Ezine, my songwriting – everything – has only been created because I was willing to just start somewhere, anywhere, and step into action…and do it badly.  I always know that I can adjust and make corrections along the way, but giving myself permission to not be perfect is the only way I even get started.

And, of course, there are times when mistakes happen.  Despite my best efforts, sometimes I generate writing, performances, speeches, classes, and articles that contain errors.  Funny thing is people always seem to get something of value out of them anyway!  In fact, not only are the flaws in the things I do usually nowhere near as huge as my magical magnifying mind makes them out to be, but often I find that the “flaws” actually put people at ease.  It gives them permission to make mistakes too and not beat themselves up over it.  And then there are the times when what I judge as a flaw turns out to actually be an asset!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten tripped up on a lyric or made some other error while performing, and it actually made the audience and I more connected with one another.  It has a way of melting pretence and separation, giving everyone a sense of “we’re all in this together”.  It gives me and the audience something to laugh about together.

I know plenty of musicians who have had music in them for years, but they are waiting for the chance to make the perfect CD before they will even start.  I know many writers who would be wildly successful except that they can’t finish -or even start-  their book or articles because they can’t write up to their own lofty standards, or they sit around worrying about improper grammar.  I promise you I am intelligent enough to look past their bad grammar (should I even notice it) – I would much rather gain the benefit of their concepts and ideas.

It’s counter-intuitive to what our western culture reinforces, but it’s amazing how taking the pressure of expectation off of our results can actually improve our results!  Letting go of the voice of perfectionism helps you to see how imperfectly you can do things, and still do them effectively.  Perfectionism is healed by taking action imperfectly and surviving!

So if there is something inside of you that wants to be birthed, a project you’ve procrastinated starting, an idea to create something you just can’t seem to get going on, I invite you to ask yourself this one question:  “What small, imperfect action step can I take toward my desires today – even if I have to correct course along the way?”

Peace and Blessings,


Want to use this article in your website or blog?

Please do ! Just be sure to include this ENTIRE blurb with it:

 Nationally acclaimed Singer, Songwriter, Motivational Speaker Shannon Modrell changes lives and mindsets by performing transformational healing music at international conferences, holistic events, plus at Unity churches and United Centers for Spiritual Living . 

If you want to be inspired, encouraged and empowered  to live the creative fire within you, you can sign up for a FREE subscription to her Ezine Gifted U by 

Visit Shannon Modrell’s  Website at

Want to read more articles like this one? Visit Shannon Modrell’s blog at