Last week we zoned in on becoming beautiful, this week we’re honing our gifts. Our #Go52 theme of the week is Gifted - something that describes us all.
“We are all gifted. That is our inheritance.” Ethel Waters
Truth. Each and every one of us is gifted in some area. Yours might be art. Mine might be double-dutch (it isn’t). Hers might be writing. His might be organizing. Everyone inherits something amazingly unique to them, though sometimes we don’t hone in on it.
The world has a variety of needs; those large in scale and impact to the community, informational needs, surface needs (symptoms or effect), root needs (causal or source), physical needs (space, people/support, safety, money), and personal needs (understanding, appreciation, etc.). Our unique traits, skills, and gifts grant us the ability to help the collective whole meet the needs that exist. Without identifying, refining and using your gifts, somewhere a need continues to go unmet.
So when do we lose our gifts?
Sometimes we’re never encouraged to look for our gifts because we’re told (or we tell ourselves) that other people are gifted and we are not.
Adherence to norms or standards
Some standards were actually created for our safety, but many others were created for assimilation. Challenging the latter isn’t historically something we see often. When we do, it typically creates a chasm that drains unproductive and/or unjust codes and makes room for progress.
Failure to follow the “what ifs”
You’ve had one. I’ve had one; a big “what if” question that pops into our head. What if there’s a way to fix xyz? What if we try abc to help people recover from natural disasters? What if I created a foolproof method for other people to learn how to double-dutch? What if? What if? What if? What if we don't search for the answer? We lose a golden opportunity to find our gifts.
In a world where this reduction in giftedness occurs far too often, imagine all that we’re missing out on. How do we turn that around and begin to hone in our own gifts?
First things first...
Think it Over
What have others mentioned as something that’s uniquely you?
What did you love to do when you were a child?
What do you feel is your greatest strength?
What do you find yourself doing for hours before you realize how much time has passed?
What is that big “what if” that you always wanted to answer?
Start here. These answers will probably guide you closer to your gifts. Then (the toughest part) be still and reflect on the areas that overlap. Once you select an area, here’s how to strengthen it.
Practice Solo: this is where you begin to strengthen the basic skills of your craft (unless its double-dutch, because you’ll need something or someone to turn the ropes). The more repetition, the stronger you become.
Practice With or on Others: Practicing with or on others (unless it involves cutting something open - maybe shadow someone and get some formal training first) does two things for us, it yields introspection - “hmm, maybe this isn’t the best method,” and feedback - “hey, I wonder if you could…” A word to the wise - select someone who is open to providing you with honest feedback that doesn’t take digs at your method. Remember, discouragement is one of the areas where we begin to lose sight of our gifts.
Share with MORE People: Once you’ve practiced your gift with a few people and you’ve started to whittle down to your well crafted gift, begin to share the refined version with more people. Teach someone about your gift and watch your confidence in that area continue to soar.
A confident person who is willing to share their gifts with others, opens up a space for more of us to do the same. Honing your gifts is a great present to the world. It puts us all on a path towards powerful collaboration and mutual growth - both of which lead to the cancellation of unmet needs.
The world needs your gifts. Which ones are you honing today?
C. L. Fails