Philip McKernan | Give & Grow (Episode 566)

Philip McKernan (@PhilipMcKernan) rejoins The Art of Charm to discuss his new film Give & Grow. It depicts a unique journey of uncovering people’s hidden and dormant gifts that have the ability to affect others, and the potential to change the world.

The Cheat Sheet:

  • Do you keep busy as a way to avoid doing the important — but often difficult — things in life?
  • What’s the cost of not regularly giving ourselves permission for time to do nothing?
  • Learn the importance of uncovering your personal gift, the cost of not uncovering it, and how to uncover it in the first place.
  • What’s the difference between a talent and a gift?
  • What’s the difference between finding your gift and following your passion?
  • And so much more…


As we go through life achieving goals and reaching new milestones in search of finding happiness, most of us are surprised to discover that the answer to living a truly fulfilled, meaningful, and aligned life can be found where they least expect it — already within ourselves.

Philip McKernan returns to The Art of Charm (catch his first appearance here) to teach us not just how to uncover our gift, but to understand it and unleash it onto the world in order to affect others in a positive way, and to create a lasting legacy of which to be proud. He’ll also talk about his new film Give & Grow, which documents the journey of 17 people who travel to India in search of their gifts and the changes they experience upon returning home. Enjoy!

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More About This Show

Most of us know what it’s like to be busy. In fact, we get so used to the idea of being busy that we can easily feel guilty if we’re not constantly filling our hours with something “constructive.” What we neglect to realize is that regularly penciling in time to do nothing is constructive.

On his first visit to The Art of Charm, we referred to Philip McKernan as a life-flow chiropractor, and he has this to say about what happens when we underestimate the importance of taking truly free time:

“The cost of not doing it is so intangible, but there is a significant cost of not creating that space and allowing the guilt to override the human need for that silence and that space.”

The form this free time takes can vary from person to person; Philip makes sure to block two nights away on his own every quarter — away from his family — as purely for himself. It’s also a way to ensure he’s not using the excuse of being “too busy” as an escape from anything else that might be going on in his life — a bad habit he admits to falling into a lot.

“If I stayed really busy, I could hide from my gifts, and that is very advantageous for a lot of people who don’t want to be seen in the world today,” says Philip.

It doesn’t help that our culture enables this behavior. If we’re not busy, we’re not cool, and this often keeps us from uncovering the things at which we might truly excel — our gifts that could truly fulfill us if we’d just take the time to acquaint ourselves with them instead of succumbing to the chaos of being too busy.

A lot of the time, we might mistake our talents for gifts. Philip gives the example of his wife, who fell into accounting because it was something she was good at doing; it wasn’t really something she chose.

“It was driven by a subconscious insecurity,” says Philip. “What I mean by that is she grew up around poverty. People who have experienced poverty often want to move from poverty — but they spend the rest of their life running from what they don’t want as opposed to stopping at some point in their life and saying, ‘Hey, I’m running from what I don’t want; that’s not necessarily a positive energy. Maybe I need to pivot and start to consider…what do I want?'”

Because she was good at math, her guidance counselor at school steered her toward accounting as a good career choice that would be secure and pay well.

“So she executed her talent, because she was genuinely talented with numbers,” Philip says. “But what she never did, and never took the time to understand, was the difference between a talent and a gift. My belief is that our gift — some would call it a passion; I want to go deeper than the concept of passion, because I think passion’s been slapped on so many different things in the world today — our gift is our inherent ability to move the needle emotionally for other people. In other words, make an impact in somebody else’s life.”

Those hoping for a happy ending to this story will be pleased to know that she resigned from accounting a couple of years ago and has enjoyed the sensation of liberation ever since. Now she works with women, empathizing and helping them find their gifts.

Listen to this episode of The Art of Charm in its entirety to learn more about how we can pivot away from our talents without guilt when they don’t align with our gifts, why we need to weigh the impact of doing a job we hate in currency heavier than dollars, how to find the space to honor your gift, why Philip believes money isn’t the cause of relationships breaking down but a symptom of a larger problem, how every human being really just wants to have an impact and why seeking our gift furthers this goal, how Philip gets people to share their stories and inspire others, what the One Last Letter and Five Happiest Days exercises can teach you about yourself and the people around you, why you should check out Philip’s new film Give & Grow, and lots more.


If you enjoyed this session with Philip McKernan, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:

Click here to thank Philip McKernan at Twitter!

Resources from this episode:

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Jordan Harbinger - author of 931 posts on The Art of Charm

Jordan Harbinger has spent several years abroad in Europe and the developing world, including South America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, and speaks several languages. He has also worked for various governments and NGOs overseas, traveled through war zones, and been kidnapped -- twice. He’ll tell you the only reason he’s still alive and kicking is because of his ability to talk his way into (and out of) just about any type of situation. Here at The Art of Charm, Jordan shares that experience, and the system borne as a result, with students and clients.

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