I often talk to clients about their gifts when doing career coaching. These are the gifts that were naturally bestowed on them by the powers that be whether they be some heavenly power, or simply their DNA. I was contemplating this topic today and here’s a look at my initial thinking.
1) What is a gift? Remember your last birthday present. Well, it’s also a gift. Think about the similarities. With your present you may have had no idea what was in it. You were curious when you opened it. And it was intended to make you happy. The intention of the giver was likely of goodwill and love. Could are god-given gifts be the same way?
2) What is talent versus a gift? A gift is often confused with a talent. A talent is a skill that you cultivated over time with practice. While you can have a gift and cultivate it, those that are gifted have to work way less than the other guy to achieve the same skill level. A gift is something that you have may or may not have done anything to deserve, or cultivate. It’s just something that you are. You don’t know why, or how. It just is. You are really creative. You may not do anything to be creative, you just have been that way all your life. Often because we are naturally gifted in some way, we often take our gifts for granted. I often hear “Oh, everyone has that same thing.”
3) What will you do with your gift? So, let’s say after some coaching you realize that you are gifted as a speaker. What will you do with that gift? Will you keep it? Do you want to swap it for something else like say…incredible good looks? Will you just keep it in the closet till you know what to do with it next like fruit cake? Will you wave your hands up at the powers that be and curse them for giving you this particular gift? Your gifts are yours and you can do whatever you want. You have the free will to do something or nothing with them. The only seed of doubt that may emerges is thinking about why they given to you? This is the only risk in the “do nothing” strategy. What happens if you never even dare open the box?
4) What to be careful of with our gifts? The only potential problem with gifts is when we let our gifts grow to mythical proportions and they start controlling your very being. We allow our gifts to define you. For example, let’s say you are a gifted debator. Will you let this gift start defining who you are and hold you hostage? If you are not debating, will you not be you? Do you feel bad when you aren’t your gift? This then moves your gift to being an obsession.
5) Is comparing gifts ever productive? It’s often easy to fall prey to comparing our gifts. Why did my brother or sister get the gifts I wanted? I wanted to be the skinny blond headed one? This line of thinking can be counterproductive. A more helpful approach would be embracing the gifts that you have and figuring out a way to fully express them to their highest potential and best use? So, maybe you are chunky and bald, but you are smart as a whip, and always surrounded by people that love you.
Gifts are presents. Cherishing and expressing them is just another way of loving and accepting yourself.
For more on this coach C.J. Liu