Last night my husband and I went to one of our favorite local restaurants—a little Indian restaurant that’s one of the best-kept secrets in town. It’s one of those places you drive by and would never try on your own. You only go there after someone recommends it to you. It’s a tiny little place where the tables are jam-packed together, and your neighbors are right next to you eating their dinner while you’re eating yours. The spot is a lot of fun, and the food is delicious!
Scott and I ordered dinner, and we were waiting for our food when a table not too far from us was served their dinner. The couple requested this fantastic bread that is as big as an airplane tire! It’s a type of naan bread that is rarely ordered, so it got the attention of the entire restaurant as the waiter brought this giant bread to the table.
The Indian gentleman who ordered the bread jumped up right away and started tearing off big chunks of bread passing it out to all the tables around them. He handed out bread saying, “You got to try this. It’s fabulous! You’re going to love it!” Uncle Sam (the gentleman’s name) shared a chunk of bread with us. And, Uncle Sam was right. It was incredible! We thanked him and enjoyed it while we waited on our dinner.
Eventually, our dinner arrives. We are enjoying the food, eating, and chatting when Scott notices the perplexed looks on the Japanese exchange students faces who are sitting at the table next to us. It’s obvious their English language is limited. They are speaking to each other in Japanese while looking around at everybody’s plates to figure out what dishes people are eating, and what seemed tasty. Then while studying the menu, they use their smartphones to translate the name of the Indian dishes into Japanese.
One of the young girls keeps staring at our table. Scott whispers to me, “Let them try our food.” And, I look at him like he is crazy. “I don’t think they want to try our food.” “Yes, they do. She keeps staring at it.”
Me being a little reluctant and shy about suggesting they taste our food. I turn to the most curious girl to get her attention and gesture that she can try our dish as I hold the bowl in both my hands kind of like an offering. In slow English, I say, “You’re more than welcome to try our chicken saag if you want”. The girl looks at me and as soon as I nod yes she takes the serving spoon right out of the dish and pops the saag into her mouth. My husband and I laugh because she was so excited to try it.
We then offered it to her friend who was more shy about trying someone else’s food, but soon she took a bite and was delighted too. Once the ice was broken, we offered them a taste of all of our dishes so they could decide what to order for themselves.
I’m telling you this story because it was interesting to notice the different styles of sharing throughout the night. The Indian gentleman’s method of sharing was full of confidence and knowing. He knew that he was offering something people were going to like and he was right. He was bold and sure as he approached nearby tables and people responded to his confidence by trying even if they were hesitant.
Whereas my husband’s style paid attention to who wanted something, who was curious about what he might have to offer. Scott wanted to help someone he noticed needing help.
I noticed that my own style was more of a reluctant sharing, a shyness about getting their attention and offering them what I had to give. But, once I knew there was interest in what I had to offer I was willing to provide everything I had.
I see this style of sharing playing out in my in my work life too. I tend to be somewhat shy about what I share to the world, but once I know someone’s interested in my ideas or what I have to offer, then I’m willing to share anything I have with them.
Dinner at the Indian restaurant helped me realize my pattern of sharing and maybe even question if I can be more bolder in my sharing.
Try this for yourself. Focus on the gifts you have to offer and notice what ways you enjoy sharing, how you like to share, and what feels natural. Are you bold like the Indian gentleman, do you look for opportunity like my husband, or are you like me—shy until you know someone wants your gifts? Maybe you notice a different pattern altogether?
The important thing is that we all share differently and that is completely okay! It doesn’t serve you or the world for you to share your gifts in any way that is not natural to you. The Universe is designed to work with your natural tendencies so that you can offer your unique gifts in your own way.