I posted on Facebook one day a question, “What is your #1 gift?” Some of the answers I got were, “To help people”, “My vulnerability”, etc. Then I got a text from a friend of mine, “#1 gift, as in talent?” and in my head I instantly thought, no, not a talent, a gift, but to be the supportive friend I am I instead wrote back the most neutral yes I could think… “sure”. Because this person knows me very well he knew I had another answer in my head so he challenged it in the most neutral way he could think of, “Sure?”. So I explained my reasoning in the shortest way possible because, to be honest, I was still exploring this answer myself. “You can be talented at something but it may not be a gift that you can give to others.”
A talent is something you do well, usually you are born with it, but not all of us use it for good or take the time to cultivate it to its fullest potential. The first example that came to my head is that some people qualify “multitasking” as a gift. To me that is a talent, and not a very beneficial one. To me, multitasking means you are never fulling giving yourself to something or someone and you are just trying to stay busy so you don't have to think about it. To me, that is not a gift I would like to give someone. Another example I hear a lot is they have a talent to talk to anyone in the room. That's great, but to me that is not a talent, I instantly see someone who can very comfortably talk about themselves with people. To me a gift is when you can walk into a room and listen to anyone. You have a ton of talents, but are they gifts? They all are, but we aren’t labeling them correctly and therefore are not using them to their fullest potential.
I borrowed this question from Brendon Burchard who asked us this at a conference. He then followed it up with “would you trade it for any amount of money?” When we got a chance to share what we thought were our gifts with him and woman stood up and said, “My gift is being bossy. I get shit done, everyone knows I get shit done, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.” To which he replied, “That's not bossy, that's being confident and consistent which you use to help you and the people around you achieve certain goals.” LIGHTBULB.
People give our gifts those negative words mostly because they are jealous of our strengths or we label them ourselves in a negative way to not seem boastful or different. A strong woman walks into a conference room and gets shit done, “bitch”. A man is vulnerable and communicative, “wussy”. Do not let someone dull your gift down to nothing but a talent, and don’t you dare do it yourself. You are great at a lot of things but let's take it one step further, how can you turn that talent into a gift for someone else to benefit from? The first step is recognize the gifts in yourself. Embrace them. Define them. Live them. Share them. We cannot give value to someone else if we don't recognize it in ourselves first, you can't give you what you don't have. Take a moment and be honest with yourself, what gifts have you dumbed down to merely a talent? Why did you do it? I did it because I didn't want to stand out. I did it because I wanted someone else’s light to shine brighter than mine because I didn't feel I deserved it or was worthy of it. To ensure that I also created an environment that supported my ridiculous notions! My first step of action was, I re created the environmen I surrounded myself with internally and externally. I started reading more personal development and applying what I learned, I recognized that certain friendships needed to evolve and roles had to change, I began making new connections with people who had the environment I wanted. I really took to heart the words I was hearing when someone described me in a positive light and embraced it instead of shy away from it. The more I worked on myself internally the more I saw results in the world around me professionally and personally. Now this didn't happen over night, that was a 4 year journey, but I was consistent at it, and I was consistent with myself.
What gifts have you dumbed down to a talent and why? Remember, honesty is the best policy.