Are You Brilliant?

What was your internal response to this question?

What comes up for you if you imagine yourself sending out an email to all of your family, friends and colleagues, asking them to tell you what you are brilliant at?

I am working with a business coach and as part of our program she asked us to get other’s perspectives on ourselves. She is helping us find our strengths so we can focus our offerings to our “divine right clients.”

Here is the one question out of seven that gave me pause before I pushed the “send” button on my group email. What do you see as my talents and abilities? What am I brilliant at?

I thought to myself: Am I brilliant at something? Doesn’t that sound conceited? What will they think when I send this out asking them to tell me I’m brilliant at something?

I sent it out anyway because I am paying my business coach for her expertise, and I decided to trust her. I also thought, I’m asking my clients to see their light. If I’m asking it of them, then I need to ask it of myself.

The first few responses were very empowering and helpful. It was informative to see how others viewed me.

Then it happened. I got a two-word email from someone that I perceived as a criticism. It stirred up all of the angst about people thinking I’m conceited, as well as feelings of shame for asking people to tell me about my strengths.

When I spoke to my son about it and shared my feelings about the email I sent out, he said it was the word brilliant that could spark criticism.

He is an actor and has been in Hollywood auditioning for roles. He told me that the word “brilliant” is thrown around so cavalierly, but he holds it to a higher standard. He said, “Two people I would use the word brilliant for would be Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.”

When I heard his definition of brilliant, I compared myself to these two men. I decided on the spot that I’m definitely not brilliant!

I do a lot of thinking in the shower. Some of my best clarity comes when the water is pouring over me. I realized that brilliance is not just about our minds. We are more than our brains. We have hearts and spirits that are bright. I know people that I enjoy spending time with because of their warmth, love and grounded, soothing qualities. I wondered if people could be brilliant in different ways.

When I looked up the definition of brilliant on, the fourth definition resonated with me:

4. Strong and clear in tone; vivid; bright: brilliant blues and greens; the brilliant sound of the trumpets.

Through that definition of brilliant, I noticed myself getting closer to being able to own the word brilliant for myself. I have a strong, clear, vivid, bright message I send out to the world. I want people to know that they are loveable and deserving of love and all good things.

When I went to for the definition of brilliant, I found that the origin of brilliant comes from the French brilliant, present participle of briller to shine.

I know people who I have described as beaming, glowing, radiant and clear. All of these words are synonyms for brilliant.

I believe that when we are on purpose, when we are passionate and are sharing our passions with others, we are shining our own unique light. In those moments, we are brilliant!

Just as a diamond is cut in a particular way to create numerous facets so it can have a special brilliance, we too have unique qualities that have been cut through our life experiences and beliefs. We each shine in our distinctive way.

The lesson here is that I need to own my own brilliance. Once I do, it won’t matter what anyone else thinks or says.

I know this is a process, one that is important to work on. If you decide to work on accepting your brilliance, it may help to understand that you are not putting yourself above others. The message is that we are all brilliant; we all have an inner light that shines, especially when we are sharing our personal passions or love with others.

Let’s give ourselves permission to be BRILLIANT!

For the month of October the prompt is: Can you accept your brilliance?

We look forward to hearing how your light shines! To submit your blog posts to be published here, anonymously or with your bio, visit here. To see the previous prompts, the self-love writing guidelines and a directory of self-love posts in response to the monthly prompts, visit here. Also, Like the Love Warrior Community on Facebook for empowering and body positive media.



Michelle Minero is a licensed marriage family therapist who specializes in eating disorder recovery. She created an intensive outpatient eating disorder program in 2000, brought ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc.) to Petaluma shortly after and founded EDRS (Eating Disorder Recovery Support, Inc.), a Marin and Sonoma County based 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2005. In 2011, Michelle co-founded the Love Warrior Community with her daughter, Emelina, an online community that helps people cultivate self-love, self-acceptance and body acceptance through creative expression. Michelle is finishing her book, Self-Love: The Only Diet That Works, and her dream is to see a world filled with people who love themselves and their bodies. Connect with Michelle on Facebook and Twitter and help spread the Self-Love Movement!

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2 Responses to Are You Brilliant?

  1. Kathy hulme says:

    Hi Michelle – yes I’m brilliant! In so many ways! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and I love the different ‘take’ on the word through looking at it’s meaning. I agree that we all have our brilliance – in terms of shining our light – and I also think that the shiny brilliance overlaps with the traditional understanding of the word. In other words when we are living with passion we will be doing more of the things that we are good at – brilliant at – whatever that may be. It may not be in an intellectual sense (or it may be) but it is still brilliance. For example I’m brilliant at decorating with colour, among other things. This is probably the same thing you were saying…and I agree there are so many parts of us which are brilliant, not just our minds. Also passion comes from our spirit and however brilliant your mind, to do great things there must be passion behind it too. The famous ‘brilliant minds’ are following their passion and that’s why we know about them. One of my favourite quotes is “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” (Howard Thurman)
    thanks for sharing Michelle!

  2. Thanks Kathy for responding. I agree with you. We can all benefit from having more people come alive and share their brilliance.

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