Suddenly there was silence. I wasn’t sure what my daughter is thinking about and how she’s processing what we just discussed. But when the last question came, I instantly knew that the whole conversation was supposed to end here and nowhere else. With quiet voice she said: “Mom, what if I don’t find my gift?
Can I waste my life by not using my gift?
What if one day I learn that I haven’t done what I was supposed to?”
It wasn’t the first time I’ve heard this question. I’d asked it myself many times before. Even some of my clients struggled with it. And I’m pretty sure there are many others out there inquiring the same.
…Not sure what your gift is, afraid to never find out. (By the way, this is a good case!) Even worse, being detached from one’s life’s purpose, never reaching the given potential.
Here are some hard truths you need to understand when it comes to (not)wasting your gifts.
#1: Yes, you CAN miss discovering your gifts!
Here are just some of the ways how you can prevent yourself from living a purposeful life:
forget about your gifts, potential or purpose… just enjoy your life and do only what’s required of you, never looking for more in life
compare yourself with others, try to be like somebody else… why bother discovering your own strengths?
always put down your own strengths and double guess your own decisions… who are you to do anything right?
blame others for your own mediocrity… using people from your past works especially well (try parents, teachers, siblings, etc.), but when in serious need, any person or event will do
This list can go on and on, but I’m pretty sure you’re seeing the picture. Remember, missing the target is easy. Hitting it will require some decisiveness, effort and practice.
#2: Discovering your gifts requires effort!
First of all, it will take some serious self-discovery. To help you get started, here are 3 areas where you can find your gifting (you most likely have some strengths in each of them):
Cognitive – What do you KNOW to do? What is your expertise? Where do you have past experience? What is your IQ? What is your education? What are you good at? Or what can you LEARN to do? What can you IMPROVE? This is probably the easiest area to browse through.
Affective – What do you LIKE doing? What do you enjoy doing? What are your personality strengths? What is your EQ? What do you WANT to do more of? Personality tests can be super helpful in this area as they reveal your strengths and weaknesses and help you focus on the right stuff and grow forward.
Conative – What will you DO? What is your natural talent? How do you get your best job done? This is probably the hardest area to discover. This is exactly where we’re led off track as we lack understanding of who we are. Yet, there IS an assessment that can help you discover this area. Click here to find more.
If you were hoping to wake up one day knowing exactly what your gifts are, I urge you to stop misleading yourself. You need to take action and do some search in and outside of you. It doesn’t just happen to you. YOU need to make it happen! Think, ask, brainstorm, read, learn, inquire, test, these are just handful of tips to help you get started.
#3: Your strengths sharpen with use!
You can keep waiting a lifetime to become a pro at something or you can take action and make it happen. Our gifts and talents are like muscles. The more you use them, the stronger they become. You can’t become a master at something without being a student first. You can’t become a go-to person without learning first. Start where you are today, stay focused and be persistent. Take it one step at a time. It’s not about the speed. It’s about moving forward.
How can you know that you’re not using your talents?
you’ve lost your passion and you can’t even remember when that happened
it takes hard work to motivate yourself to get your day to day tasks done
you’ve been stagnant for some time now, lacking personal and/or professional growth
you have big dreams, but you’re lacking results
you are afraid to share your knowledge, experiences, skills and talents with others out there