Hidden Gems – Recognizing the Brilliance Within by Kioka Dunston

My friend Irene invited me to a celebration of A Hidden Gem, her new non-profit serving women with children who need refuge from domestic violence. So first off, don’t you just love the name? Irene told me she was inspired to name her cause “A Hidden Gem” because these women (and in some cases, men) and their children are so precious, yet they have to hide their brilliance in order to survive the current circumstances.

What a profound message! And then I started thinking – we all have gems inside of us. Yet many of us keep them hidden for fear of ridicule, concern about the opinion of others, lack of confidence in our own talents and abilities.

Yes, perhaps we are all hidden gems. And it’s time to stop hiding.


Our tendency to stay in the shadows can have huge consequences. For me, it manifested itself in my health via recurring headaches that never ended. For others, it’s that gnawing feeling that life hasn’t been fulfilled and we’re running out of time. I believe we are entitled to not only physical safety, but also to live a full, rich life that expresses, not represses, our talents and gifts. For those of us with children, expression of our brilliance is even more imperative if for nothing else than to remind them of what’s possible for their own lives.

Having said all that, here are a few suggestions on how you can shine more today, at work and home:

  • Schedule time for what you love NOW! How many times have you neglected your vacation duties? Yes, I said vacation duties. It’s our job to take care of ourselves, and one of those self-care methods is taking our hard-earned vacation.  If you’re one of those who has PTO time left over at the end of the year, please go ahead and schedule your rollover for next year now. If you need help discovering any “hidden gems,” i.e., locations, seek out an expert. I personally know a few who could help you so email me for more details. 🙂
  • Speak up! If you have a question or thought in a meeting today, take a chance and say something. Yes, it’s a little intimidating to be in the spotlight. In all likelihood though, you may be a hero for someone else who had that same thought or question. Plus you will build confidence in your own wisdom so you can feel stronger about making choices in all areas of your life. Yep, just from speaking up.
  • Show off your expertise! If you happen to know song titles better than Spotify, you’ve got a skill and we need to know it. Up on the latest genealogy tips? Share them. Blogs and articles are created out of pretty much anything these days (and I should know…). There is someone who wants to know more about what you know, so start showing your stuff.

What happens when you choose to shine? Pretty cool stuff actually. I’ve witnessed the right people and the right circumstances magically appear simply because someone decided to acknowledge and then activate their talents. Whether it’s writing a book or creating an empowerment series, or even sharing the gift of caring for those who need to feel safe, we all experience greater satisfaction and peace in our lives when we choose to come out of hiding.

So let me know what unique skill or talent you desire to uncover. We await your brilliance.

P.S., if you are interested in supporting A Hidden Gem nonprofit to help women with children find a haven from domestic violence, please visit ahiddengem.net and click the Donate button, or call (919) 602-2788 for more information.