Discovering and developing your talents is your key to freedom, success, and happiness. Developing your talents may or may not include formal schooling. Sometimes your career will be the manifestation of your life’s purpose. Other times your career may be the vehicle that supports your ability to do your life’s work. Either way, a meaningful and successful life is dependent upon celebrating your talents.
Celebrating your talents involves reconnecting with your innate curiosity, interests, and abilities. It also includes designing a plan to nurture these talents. But how do you identify your innate curiosity, interests, and abilities?
For people still grappling with identifying your specific talents, this article can guide your self-discovery process. Learning and self-discovery is a iterative process; so you need not know all the answers now. The questions and interests that you identify now will lead you along a path. As you proceed on that path, you will identify even more questions and interests.
Isn’t it exciting to know that this process of discovery and growth continues throughout your entire lifetime?
Once you learn how to ask yourself the right questions, you never have to worry about being bored or retiring from life. Connecting with your inner fire and curiosity will fuel your productivity, energy, and growth. Activating these resources will make you a life-long learner and contributor to our world.
Celebrate Your Talents
The quality of any relationship is based on the quality of the conversations that occur within that relationship. In my coaching practice, I support my clients in improving the quality of the conversations (and thus the relationship) they have with themselves.
So how do you improve the quality of conversations with yourself? Simple. By asking more powerful questions of yourself.
Questions are more powerful than answers as they open up a dialouges and invite new ways of seeing the world.
A good answer can do the same thing because good answers also contain more questions. Unfortunately, our model of schooling often teaches us that answers close the dialogue. We are taught that there’s no more need to raise a question because “we already know”. This shuts down curiousity and is the opposite of learning.
In both my personal and professional life, my focus has been on asking better questions. I’ve found that the right question can fully activate our whole being, mind and body. Asking myself the right questions gives me energy to sustain my process of growth and discovery.
Below I’ve listed some powerful questions that can help you discover your unique gifts and abilities. These gifts are the basis of your contribution to our world. Thus, it’s important for us all that you discover, develop, and share your talents.
I urge you to write down your answers so that you can more clearly see patterns in your responses. These patterns are your clues to discovering the talents and interests that may have been suppressed by the expectations of others. You owe it to yourself to identify your unique gifts and share them with the world.
Identify Your Unique Talents
Grab your journal and ask yourself the following powerful questions:
Who do you admire?
- Identify five people you admire. They can be people that you know well in your personal life or that you have read about – past or present. For each person selected, write down at least five character traits that you admire about them. These traits may or may not be accurate. It is only important that you perceive this person as possessing these desirable traits.
- Once your list is complete look for patterns among your lists. The character traits that you identify and admire in others are the ones you most want for yourself. They reflect your personal values and life goals.
- Now write your name in your journal as the sixth person you admire. Write those common themes of desirable character traits under your name. It does not matter whether you yet feel like you possess those traits. Trust that they are in you. If they were not within you, you wouldn’t be able to see and become attracted to them in others. Like attracts like and we see what we are.
What jobs did you dream of having as a child?
- In your journal list as many of the various jobs you wanted to pursue throughout your childhood and adolescence. No job is too silly or unimportant to make it to your list. If you dreamed about being an astronaut and a clown, write them both down. By taking all of our dreams seriously, we begin to take ourselves seriously.
- Once you have your complete list of dream jobs, write down what attracted you to each one. Why did you want this job? What did you enjoy doing that you thought you could do regularly in this job? What didn’t you like about this job?
- Now go through your completed desired job list and look for themes that emerge. Were there common motivations across multiple jobs? Were there common activities? What were the things that lead you to decide a particular job was not for you?
- Now take what you have learned and write on a fresh sheet of paper in your journal “my dream job/life contains….”. Write down all the common themes about your motivations, activities, settings, and people across your desired jobs. This list is your dream job/life because you may decide to pursue a career that contains all these elements. Or you may choose to structure your career so that it enables you to sustain a life filled with these activities. This is your choice to make, but we’re not at that deciding point yet.
What messages did you get from others about your career and life choices?
- Write down the responses of significant others in your life to your dream jobs. These responses could have been stated explicitly or implicitly. Your sense of others’ responses to your dreams have been internalized by you. To some extent they unconsciously shape your beliefs about the value of pursuing your dreams.
- Make sure that your discussion of others includes people who have played significant roles in your life in the past as well as those in the present. It is important to include messages from parents, teachers, peers, friends, and spouses or romantic partners. Reading through this journal entry will help you to separate your life focus from those of your loved ones.
Whether they gave you messages of encouragement or discouragement, the feedback from these people was more about them than it was about you. In the spiritual book The Four Agreements, we’re advised not to take anything personally. This is because people’s responses to you are actually their responses to projections of themselves. Even messages that seem discouraging or critical may have been grounded in love. A father may discourage you from pursuing a career as a dancer because he is concerned about your ability to become self-sufficient in that career. His comments are products of his worldview, his fear, and his love for you.
The purpose of this activity is not to judge others for the way that have or are currently responding to your life dreams. It is only to allow you to see that their responses do not have to shape how you respond to yourself. You have the power to choose to honor your dreams and decide how you want to nurture your talents.
Honor Your Gifts
Now you can more clearly see what you admire about yourself and what you desire in your dream job and life. You can distinguish your own desires from those of your loved ones. You are prepared to take responsibility for your dreams and begin making them a reality.
If you’d like additional support in building a life that engages your talents in fulfilling your life purpose, sign up for my free Life Planning Tool and for an advanced order of my upcoming book Your Life as a Celebration.
Each day is an opportunity to make a change, to shift direction, to come a little closer to the desires of your heart. This is accomplished by identifying your unique gifts and committing to develop them on a daily basis. Do it for yourself!
Comment below some of your unique gifts as well as how you plan to nurture these abilities.