Snow-Blind to Our Own Talents

~by Shannon Modrell

Are you snow-blind to your own talents?

In the 80’s my husband Brent worked for a family who owned a popular restaurant chain in Houston TX.  J.R., the man who trained Brent for his managerial position, taught him to start each day by walking the perimeter of the restaurant to look for anything amiss that might need to be addressed: an overlooked soda can sitting on a ledge, a board coming loose, dead flowers in the landscaping, etc.

He stressed the importance of seeing with fresh eyes each day because of our human tendency to get snowblind to those things that are in the environment that we become accustomed to. Brent jokes that after a few weeks of training he used to rib J.R. because he often caught things that even J.R. had overlooked.

This is a great analogy for what we tend to do with our talents and creative gifts.

We are often completely snow-blind to the true magnitude of our special gifts because we are so close to them.  They are so much a part of us and feel so normal to us that they just flat seem insignificant!

All my life I thought everyone could sing acappella because it came very naturally to me.  I sang to myself constantly and automatically everywhere I went: the grocery store, work, home, the mall – everywhere.  It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that people started commenting on how amazed they were that I could do this, always declaring “That’s such a hard thing to do!”  I would think “What on earth are they talking about?  It’s the easiest thing in the world – everyone can do this!”  Finally, after hearing it from enough people I started realizing that, no, not everyone could easily sing acappella.

But as much of a revelation as this was, I still thought that surely all singers could sing acappella.  After all, I was a singer, so I thought that must be why it came so easily to me and not everyone else.  But in time I found out that no, not all singers – even great singers – can sing acappella.  I’d always taken it for granted because it’s so much a part of who I am.  It took an outside perspective for me to see it as anything but an every day run-of-the-mill activity.  (Though I do maintain that everyone can sing if properly taught (yes, even you!), not everyone has the same set of abilities when it comes to singing – but that’s another article!)

I know a young man from a very chaotic and dysfunctional family – we’ll call him Steve.  Steve has never done well in school, has ADHD and struggles with severe depression.  Besides being quite intelligent and creative he also has the ability to see – literally see – complicated math problems and their solutions in his mind’s eye as if they are written out on a screen.  It comes so easily to him he doesn’t understand how others don’t see math as he does.  Low self esteem plus the ease in which it comes to him keep him from seeing it for what it is: a very special ability that not everyone has.

Another thing about Steve; he gets so focused on traits and abilities in others that he does not have, (good grades, good social skills, organization), that he is snow-blind to his own gifts.

Most of us do this with our own talents. Has someone ever expressed how impressed they are at an ability they see in you or with something you did and your immediate thought was “What?  There’s nothing special about that!  All I did was….”  Has it maybe happened several times throughout your life in regards to the same ability or set of abilities?  Or do people ever say “You’d make a good_____!” or “You’d be great at_______!” and you immediately wonder how in the world their judgment could be so off-base?

Is it at all possible that they are actually on to something?  Something you cannot see?

We all have multiple talents and abilities.  And I know – I KNOW – that all of us have talents and abilities that still lie dormant.  And they are often connected to those things we do every day and take completely for granted.

 It doesn’t even have to be anything grand or flashy – I know people who’s very being makes others feel comfortable just as they are. Whenever they are around, others just feel a sense of emotional safety and feel like they are accepted for who and what they are and that they can just be themselves.   That is a gift!  And it just emanates from them naturally without their doing anything!
So what are some of the things that come easily to you, things that you often don’t give a second thought?  Maybe even things you’ve done since childhood.
The next time someone comments on an ability they see in you and your first thought is “Are you crazy?!?”, what if you stepped back from that thought and considered that they just might be seeing the seeds of greatness within you….
In love and support

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  Nationally known award winning vocalist, composer and speaker Shannon Modrell travels the US singing music to Encourage, Empower and Inspire. Her one-of-a-kind performances receive standing ovations on stages at international conferences and holistic events from coast to coast.

If you want to be Encouraged, Empowered and Inspired to live the creative fire within you, sign up for  a FRE*E subscription to her ezine Gifted U by emailing .  Visit Shannon’s website at:


The Enormous Breakthrough Power of Just Jumping In

~by Shannon Modrell

You know the story.  You need or want to get something accomplished: write that report, plan that speech, create a beautiful work of art…

But the blank paper, the unformed lump of clay, the hazy song idea are screaming defiance at you endangering your motivation and magnifying just how far you really are from your goal. 

 We’ve all been there at times, myself included.

 Fortunately I’ve learned one of the most powerful tools to get over that hump: dive in and let ourselves be led into the process, by the process.  

 Often when we have trouble getting started we need to just start somewhere – anywhere – and just move forward.  Start writing.  Dip the brush in the paint and put it on the canvas.  Place the pencil on the paper and start making a mark. 

 Most everything I’ve ever created (including classes, articles, craft projects, songs, speeches, my blog, my Ezine) was because of this concept.

I’ll give you an example:

Often when I have an article to write I may have a vague idea of the concept that wants to come through, but it’s not completely formed.  So I’ll start typing whatever comes to mind, freeform, without censoring and without caring if it makes sense. I follow the impulses of thoughts within me. Pretty soon catch-phrases and tidbits grow into sentences and concepts that begin to form the article. Then more ideas begin to flow and I keep writing.  Then I’ll stop, re-read, cut-n-paste all over the place, insert transition statements and expand on the concept, reword things, and add ideas until it’s cohesive enough to do somebody some good.  Before I know it, I have an article!

Remember that saying: “Leap and the net will appear?”…..

We open a floodgate of new inspiration when we take an action, but that doesn’t happen unless we take the action.

This is a matter of trusting that we can step out even without seeing where it will take us.

Waiting around for inspiration rarely – if ever – brings results.  The same goes for waiting to “feel like it” and waiting for validation from others that we are qualified to do it.

Having trouble getting started? Try just jumping in and seeing where it takes you!



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