“You’re so lucky to do what you love,” Adam told me one evening.
In the past year, he changed jobs three times. After a lifetime in catering, he decided enough was enough and set out to find his passion. But nothing he tried was a good fit. He was getting discouraged.
“That’s normal, babe, I told him. It took me a long time to find my gifts – even if they were right there in front of my nose the whole time!”
Gifts are funny things like that. We’re all born with special combination of skills, talents and interests we’re supposed to use to serve others and make this world a better place.
But, as you grow up and everyone around you tells you to stop dreaming and focus on getting a real job, your gifts get lost along the way.
But they never truly leave you. They’re just waiting for you to discover them all over again so you can create a job and a life that you love and help others.
If you have no idea where to start, here are 5 easy ways to find your gifts (even if you don’t think you have any):
How Did You Spend Your Time As A Child?
Go back to those carefree days when you thought everything was possible. How did you spend your days? What activities couldn’t you get enough of? What were you obsessed with?
I’d get lost in books for days and then emerge from my fantasy world to jot down short stories, biographies of my fave historical characters and magazine articles. Yep, I started a few magazines when I was little – but they never circulated outside my home! Still, is it any wonder that I became a writer and blogger?
When Do You Feel The Most Alive Now?
What do you love doing so much, you lose all track of time? What lights you up and makes you jump out of bed excited in the morning? What are you obsessed with now?
I still get lost in books. I lose all track of time when I’m writing articles for my blogs or working on my first novel. The idea that I can create a blog post or book that could inspire and entertain people totally lights me up and makes me jump out of bed full of energy and motivation to get started.
SHOP THE OUTFIT
Ask Your Family & Friends
Let me guess: by now you’ve got several gifts on your list but your Inner Mean Girl is shouting: “those aren’t gifts, you idiot! They’re stuff everyone can do and there ain’t nothing special about that.” But what your Inner Mean Girl calls normal, to someone else is a gift – one they often wish they had. So, go ahead and ask your family and friends what your strengths and gifts are. You’ll be amazed by their answers.
Yep, you guessed it. Everyone says I’ve got a knack for writing. And great skin (I’m your go-to girls for all your skincare needs too).
What Comes Easily To You?
What have you been doing easily all your life, without even realising it? What do people tell you you’re good at that leaves you feeling like, “why are they making such a big fuss about it, it’s so easy?” What comes effortlessly to you?
I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but for me that’s writing (hint: your gifts have been with you all your life so don’t be surprised if certain skills pop up again and again). I never took a writing course, I just sit down at my laptop and the words flow naturally to me (ok, practice makes perfect too). When my friends need to write a business email, update their resumes or whatever, they always ask me for a helping hand. I’m their go-to girl for all their writing needs.
Take The StrengthsFinder Test
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what your gifts are. Even so, I do recommend you take the StrengthsFinder test. I’ve mentioned in before in my review of Marcus Buckingham’s book, “Now Discover Your Strengths,” which gives you a short overview of all the 30+ strengths in the test. For a small fee, you’ll find out what your top 5 strengths are and how you can make the most of them to succeed in your career and life. Trust me on this one, it’s a gamechanger.
FYI, in case you’re curious, my top 5 strengths are Context (researching the past to understand the present), Deliberative (taking a long time to make decisions and anticipate obstacles), Intellection (enjoying intellectual discussions), Learner (desire to continuously learn and improve) and Input (collecting and archiving all kinds of information). Some of them look odd, don’t they? But after taking the test and implementing their tips, I was able to give my writing a clear direction and take the steps I needed to move my career forward.
Over to you, now. How did you find your special gifts and what are they? Share them in the comments below.