As anyone who uses Facebook has seen, the tributes to Prince started showing up fast and furious the minute he passed.
One really spoke to me in particular, and that one pointed out how Prince had such amazing success against all odds.
Obviously, I was not alone in being really shaken by Prince’s death, but with that post, I understood what was really stirred up in me.
I suspect that as people affected by addiction or the family disease of addiction, we all know something about the odds being against us.
The obstacles in these circumstances, or in the face of any kind of trauma, are immense.
And I could really see a parallel here.
It’s easy to forget what Prince started with. A 5’2″ effeminate black man born to a broken family with very little means in the rough and tumble neighborhood of northeast Minneapolis.
If the circumstances were any indication, this man was not supposed to succeed.
But he did, and he did so spectacularly. On his own terms.
Now, these aren’t my specific circumstances and they may or may not be yours either. But I nevertheless know something about the odds being against you.
So, at the very least, Prince’s death is a powerful reminder that we need to stop believing in our excuses.
But I think it goes even deeper than that.
Prince wasn’t just a success. He was a genius.
And so I thought about how he didn’t let his circumstances hold him back.
And given the fact that he stayed in Minnesota, gave so much to the Minnesota music scene and so many other local organizations, I started to think that Prince perhaps never even looked at his so-called limitations as such.
I mean, it’s easy to think that Prince would have never worn platform heels in all his appearances if he were taller. But man, he’d never be the same man without them!
The flirtatious effeminacy was so much of what made us all love him.
It’s clear, if you dig into his story, he never let any of that stuff mean anything. At least not anything that diminished his gifts.
Quite the contrary.
All of that, the height, the effeminacy, the challenging life circumstances. They were the fertile ground that nourished his gifts. It was the mud which the lotus actually requires to bloom.
And he never let any false beliefs stand in the way of that. It’s like he said a big FU to all the things the world would have said stood in his way.
So those are the two things we can learn from Prince:
1. To stop believing in our excuses.
2. And that which we perceive as our so-called obstacles are perhaps the key to unleashing our own world class genius.
Or, in other words, striving for perfection may be precisely what keeps us stuck in mediocrity.
And we are not broken.
No doubt, showing up completely embracing what others would consider shortcomings takes tremendous courage.
But let this be an invitation to stop calling yourself damaged goods.
I promise – the world will thank you.
And now, I have a question for you: How can you, too, be unapologetically yourself?
What obstacles might you need some courage to embrace in order to do that?
And how might embracing those aspects of who you are help you show up with more of your genius gifts in the world?
Share your answers in the comments on. I read every one.
P.S. I want to make sure I’m practicing what I preach about showing up. One thing about me is that I LOVE to dance. When I dance, I just feel like I’m truly living, holding nothing back. The Thursday Prince died, I knew I couldn’t just swallow the news and go to bed. So I recorded a video of myself dancing like a hot mess to Let’s Go Crazy and posted it as a farewell tribute to him. The sound’s not great, but here’s the video of my dance tribute to Prince.