Know The Facts about Gifts & Talents?
Your Gifts & Talents
"Growing up, did anyone say you had a gift or were talented at something?"
"Yuh, maybe ..." I answered sheepishly.
"Don't be shy, honey. Just because you haven't figured out yet what type of Honey you are doesn't mean you are not Tupelo." Star encouraged me with another question.
"Have you ever lost track of time doing something?"
"Yes ... err ... maybe ..." my voice trailed off.
"Okay, let's start with something simpler. A few facts. Facts are my stock and trade." She said with a gentle wink.
Being Great At Something
"Most of grow up hoping we can be great at something. But we have no idea how to figure out what it is. That is where I come in.
"My nosiness as a reporter with a gift for asking the right questions got me this gig. I help people like you figure out what your natural abilities are. And once you know what they are, you can decide how best to use them .. to earn a living, delight your friends or just entertain your family. That part is up to you. I just help you find your gifts and talents," she said.
"Okay. Err ... how do you do that?" I asked.
"Well, since you are a bit shy, let's start with what I already know," she replied.
Defining Gifts & Talents
"First, lets begin with defining what we are looking for ...
Your gifts and talents are natural abilities
which come easily to you
and produce extraordinary results.
"They are a natural part of you ... as natural as your laughter, and come just as easily as taking a breath. Yet they come so easily to you, they are often overlooked because they take so little thought or effort to use. And the end result of using one is something extraordinary ... that is why they are called gifts and talents instead of everyday skills. For example, although many can people can be taught how to drive, few have the talent to race in the Indy 500 and win.
"Few people pay much attention them. For them, it is easy. It usually someone else that is struggling with achieving the same results that notices them." Star looked to see if I was getting it.
I nodded that I was, thinking about how I struggled to learn French, make sense of Geometry and play the violin.
"In school I had seen things come easily to people that I struggled with. Is that what you are talking about?" I asked.
"Yes! But it happens not just in school. There are are just people who 'know' or 'sense' things. Whether that is the right amount of spice to add to a recipe, which direction is north or when to let someone vent. Others somehow know 'how to do things' ... like when that guy in Dune knew how to put on the dessert suit, or the guys on Runway know who to drape a dress or accessorize an outfit." Star replied.
"I remember that movie. That makes sense ... he didn't need to be told ... he just sensed how to do it. So why don't I know how to do things like that?" I asked.
"Hmm. I can see you are picking up the idea about asking interesting questions. To answer you ... you have things like that, that you 'know' or 'sense' or 'understand' ... you just haven't discovered them yet.
"It is not unusual. Most gifts and talents go undiscovered and under developed," she said.
"Because they are such a natural part of us and come so easily, we rarely notice our own talents. People act as our mirror, by their noticing what comes easily to us. To understand how special our skills are, they are often the ones they would struggle with. And it is a rare person who will not only admit to themselves, but to the person with the talent, how extraordinary it really is. Their weakness is what highlights our strengths. Like light and shadow ... one helps the other define itself. Few people want to admit their weaknesses, where they struggle in life. And sometimes seeing it comes easily to someone else makes them jealous and envious ... so the last thing they want to do is share where your greatness lies." Star smiled gently to me as if to soften the blow.
"So how do I get people to tell me what my gifts and talents are?" I asked.
"The simple answer is to find people who love you, people who act as activists in your life and help you champion your dreams. People who can spot your potential and give you good advise and opportunities to explore and develop it."
"Like a mentor?" I asked.
"Yes. But anyone with a lot of experience with spotting and developing talent in a field will work. Talent scouts, agents and managers excel at it, but they work primarily in the fields of sports, art and entertainment. So what most of us are left relying on is the feedback from our parents, teachers, friends, relatives and coworkers to spot our talent. And they often lack the basic skills and knowledge needed to help us discover our hidden gifts.
I nodded, thinking about how my parents had struggled to help me figure out what I wanted to do with my life. "My parents seemed clueless about how to help me pick a career, other than pushing college."
"Yes. If your parents never figured out their own, or had help, they may be as clueless about your their own gifts and talents ... as they are of your own. Like teaching a kid how to ride a bike ... if you know don't how yourself ... there is no way you can teach to show anyone else. And there are lots of people who can ride a bike but don't have the skill to show someone else how to do it.
"Being able to recognizing 'the gifts and talents of others' is a skill that few people develop. And there are few parenting books out there about it.
"So you know what that means?" she asked me.
"No," I answered. "What does it mean?"
"For me, job security. For you, a lot of work on your part to discover your own gifts and talents. And once you know how to do it, and the difference it makes in a life ... you can spread the wealth by sharing with people when you see a gift or talent in action. Deal?" she asked.
"Isn't that counterproductive?" I asked. "Aren't you putting yourself out of business?"
"Yes! I knew I was right in taking you in and talking to you! The secret of achieving any great thing is to work to put yourself out of business right when you start. That way you are assured of success. Shirley the Wise Woman mentioned that?" she asked.
"Hmmm. Maybe not. But that is the Deal. I help you ... and you become a force out there to point out to people what their gifts and talents are, when you catch them in the act."
"Is it hard to do?" I asked.
"How hard does a mirror work to reflect light?" she asked.
I thought about it. "That is all I have to do? Reflect light?"
"Yep. And only when you catch someone in the act. And you don't have to do anything else ... no career advice, no job titles ... just a simple ... 'hey you are great at .... (fill in the blank).' Think you can do that for me?" She asked.
I might not know what my gifts and talents were ... yet ... but that I could easily do.
"I'm in. Deal." I replied.
"Good!" she replied. "Then let's get busy talking about your gifts and talents."