Out on a Limb
A Monthly Newsletter from Martha Clark Scala
Invest in bringing joy back to your life.
April 2010
Welcome to Out on a Limb, a monthly newsletter from Martha Clark Scala. This free e-zine is meant to invite and inspire you to maximize the joy in your life.
Humble Arrogance

Last month’s dirty word was “selfish.” This month’s is … arrogant!

Scenario #1: Let’s say you want to change jobs or pursue a different career. You meet with a career coach, show her your resumé or portfolio, and her candid feedback is: what makes you special? How is your presentation of yourself going to stand out and be noticed? Uh, um …

Scenario #2: You’ve just written the best song or manuscript you’ve ever written. You try and try and try again to get it published and the perpetual feedback is … you have no notoriety! What makes your output unique? Uh, um …

The sub-text in the feedback offered by these two scenarios is that you must get better at celebrating and promoting your strengths. But what if you’ve been trained to lurk at the meek and humble end of the continuum that runs from modesty to grandiosity? (It seems like more women than men have gotten this message.) You’ve got a steep hill to climb!

“If you keep thinking what you’ve always thought,
you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.”

~ Harvey Mackay

So, where do you draw the line between behavior that is deemed boastful or conceited (and hence unattractive) versus behavior that claims rather than denies your gifts? You could say that the above scenarios CALL for highly esteemed self-presentation but are we supposed to put a lid on it in our everyday interactions? That just leads to a divided life. Is it possible to pull off humble arrogance? Perhaps it’s not a sin to be somewhat full-of-yourself. Better full of your Self, than something else, no?

A Happenstance Answer

Perhaps the answer to this dilemma is found in a card drawn from a wisdom deck at my acupuncturist’s office:

Listen carefully to your inner thoughts, no matter how small or insignificant you may judge them to be. Those tenacious thoughts that just won’t go away should be viewed by you as intention talking to you, saying “You signed up to express your unique brilliance, so why do you keep ignoring it?”

And just what is your unique brilliance? Do you dare say it out loud?

  Your Core Gift

Psychotherapist Bobbi Emel has developed a workshop designed to help you identify your Core Gift. One of the most common obstacles her participants bump up against (particularly the women), is a concern that by declaring your unique Core Gift, you’re tooting your horn too much. That old saying “pride comes before the fall,” rears its ugly head. But if EVERYONE has a Core Gift, then maybe it will be easier to claim yours. Take pride in your unique brilliance; it doesn’t have to mean you think you are better than others or that you expect to be treated like royalty!


Poetry & Pizza, Friday, April 2nd – Escape from New York Pizza, San Francisco – 7:30pm
Featured poets: Lian Gouw and Martha Clark Scala

Your April 2010 Prompts for Joy

Click here to see an inventive performance of “This Too Shall Pass” by OK Go. (With thanks to Bill Scala) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qybUFnY7Y8w&feature=related

Click here just in case you haven’t yet heard of Emily Bear, a 6-year old with quite a gift …


Joy-Gram for March 2010

Allow yourself to meditate on the certainty, not just the possibility, that you have a unique brilliance that wants to be expressed. If you think you know what it is, I dare you to tell someone else about it and fuggedddabout worrying that you’re being conceited.


Archives Now Available

To re-read or share past Out On A Limb newsletters, click here, or type the following url into your browser: http://www.mcscala.com/html/EZineArchives.html.

By no means do I have joy “figured out.” Please do not assume that I do! I write Out On a Limb as much as a meditation for myself in the ongoing pursuit of joy, as for you. I think this pursuit is a lifelong journey and that the full experience of joy is, at best, episodic. May we all have more episodes!


Martha Clark Scala, MFT 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303

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