Amazing You! How to Know Your WOW!
(About a five minute read) “To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.”~ Matthew 25:15
For the last decade and then some, incredible performances have been parading across our 50-inch flat screens in full living color. They come in the form of shows like American Idol, Dancing With the Stars and America’s Got Talent. Not your cup of tea? With a few clicks of the remote, you can find fabulous athletes competing in any sport you want or watch an infomercial with flat bellied, beautifully ripped specimens telling us how they achieved their amazing physiques by spending just 14 minutes a day on whatever program/equipment it is they are hawking.
It’s easy to feel small and begin sinking, sliding lower and lower into the couch cushions as we compare ourselves to what we see. All that talent, those incredible gifts! You begin to wonder if you have anything going for you. In a word, yes! You do and be very careful! There’s nothing that can steal our joy faster than the comparison game! In my very first post, I told you that you’re a miracle even if you’re not convinced of it and also wrote “I wholeheartedly believe every person has special gifts, no matter how insignificant they may seem, and can make a unique contribution to the world.” Today I want to go a little deeper into the discussion.
I have an unwavering belief that every one of us has a gift (and often more than one!), something that no one else has in a way that is identical to ours. Now, we may wish our gift was different than what we’ve been given, I’d say that’s pretty universal, but it’s our job to discover and cultivate what we do possess! I also maintain that when we do, we can achieve great success but more important, can find greater purpose and meaning in our life. That’s because we’ve been created to live in alignment with the best possible version of the person we were designed to be!
One website I explored listed an exhaustive list of 92 potential gifts, I kid you not! It boggled my mind to tick down the bullet points but some interesting ones did pop out at me. How about analyzing the past, virtual world networking, conflict resolution and encouragement, among 88 others? Are any of them something you’d think of as gifts or talents? Maybe not, but I’ll bet you know someone that seems to have a real knack for one of those things and because they do, they are especially good at it! That, my friend, constitutes a gift.
“There are some questions that we all ask ourselves in different ways: Who am I? Who is God? What am I here for? What matters most? What matters least? What are my unique talents and abilities? What will my contribution be?” ~Matthew Kelly
By now you’re probably wondering how to find your special gifts or talents. My research has turned up a few ways that might be useful. Once again I’ll tell you, this is another instance when we need to spend some time in what Matthew Kelly calls “the classroom of silence,” where we can ponder the question and listen to our inner voice. This stuff takes awhile but is well worth it. Here are some ideas for you, excerpts from an article in The Huffington Post.
Go back to your childhood. Think back to times when you weren’t influenced by peers, fears or your parents’ expectations. What activities or experiences created the greatest memories, what was the most fun? The common thread might offer a message that, with a little reinterpreting to fit your adult self, could begin to reveal your unique gift.
Get Lost In The Present. When is the last time you lost track of time? Are there activities that you find so engrossing you don’t think about time, or eating, or sleeping? Do you have these experiences at work? Do your hobbies and leisure activities fall into this category? Moments of lost time point towards areas of strong interest and deep passions, another key to discovering your unique gift.
Ask Others. Friends, family, or trusted advisors see you in ways that you can’t see yourself. Their insights can be valuable and revealing. Often their observations can yield greater clarity than self-analysis. Ask them about your strengths, skills, and unique talents. “What makes me unique? What do you think I do particularly well? What are my strongest skills or characteristics?”
Once you begin to see a pattern in the things you do well, the things that may seem hard to someone else but come easily to you, start noticing! Then start thinking of how you can develop it even more and make it a part of what you do, not only in your free time but look for ways you can begin to incorporate some aspects into your daily work.
Our gifts won’t necessarily translate into a high-paying career but when we can get absorbed in a worthy activity to the point of “flow”, we have begun to know our sweet spot! Flow is a term coined by the famous (trust me, he is really famous!) Hungarian psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced Me-high Cheek-sent-me-high) and is the subject of his book by the same name. Flow is described as an “optimal experience” when we feel “strong, alert, in effortless control, unselfconscious, and at the peak of our abilities.” I don’t know about you but sign me up now!
In our journey through this life, it’s really important to celebrate our uniquenesses and spend some time investing in those things that bring us joy. When we do, life becomes much more meaningful and fulfilling and helps us over the inevitable bumps that come along. How? When we are absorbed in the pursuit of our gifts and passions we are creating a bank of good memories we can relive and it creates anticipation for the next time we get into “flow.” Part of knowing our why is discovering the things we truly value, not only in others, but in ourselves as well.
Do you have a story you’d like to share about discovering your gift or times when you are completely absorbed in something you’re doing? We’d love to hear from you! We hope you’ll join us in the fascinating process of self-discovery! Please consider subscribing to our website and never miss an encouraging word from us!