How to Find Your Gifts and Passions
The first step in using your natural talents is to find out what they are. For many this is easier said than done. How do you know when you are using your gifts? What does it feel like? And, what are gifts, or passions, anyway?
Here is my definition:
Your passions are the activities you engage in when you forget time and space around you. Your gifts are your natural talents, the ones you are born with. Since they are like second nature, it’s easy to assume that they are nothing special. However, that’s not true. Your gifts, or your combination of gifts, are unique and the very thing that sets you apart from everyone else in this world.
Another reason you may not recognize your own talents is that often we don’t grow up using them. Our school system focuses on a few generic subjects and if you have a passion for something that’s not part of the curriculum, you may not have time to learn it. My 10-year old daughter has a classmate who loves cooking and baking. This is the tallest and strongest boy in her class, not someone you would necessarily associate with baking. At one of the class events he provided the most delicious cookies and his proud mother told me that he has his own baking utensils and keeps meticulous notes and recipes in his self-made recipe book. He is lucky that his parents support his love for baking and don’t force him to focus on math and science instead.
To help you in exploring what your gifts and passions are I designed the two following exercises:
Exercise 1 – Find Your Passion: Take a piece of paper and a pen and sit in a quiet place. Make a list of all the things you do when time does not matter: If you had 4 hours right now to spend any way you wanted to, what would you do? For example, I love going to coffee houses to relax and watch people. Or, I enjoy catching up on the latest news, watching a movie, or reading a book. Now, here is the deal: Only list the things that make you feel better. If you play computer games in your free time and you are more inspired afterward, that counts. If it leaves you more tired or exhausted, it doesn’t count.
Put down everything that comes to mind without editing your responses. Then, go through your list and prioritize it. What activities do you like doing more than others? If you did those activities every day, would you still enjoy them as much? Again, don’t rate or judge your responses. Once you are done, highlight the first 5 answers and put your list away.
Take this list out every once in a while and review it. You will see that some of your responses will not hold true after a few days and you may take them off. Other activities may be added. This is a first step in exploring your passions. If you like, email me your experiences or any questions that come up.
Exercise 2 – Find Your Gifts: As before, take some time and sit in a quiet place. Make yourself comfortable and let your thoughts wander. Think back over your life: What is it that people tell you about yourself? What skills or character traits have your friends, family, teachers and colleagues pointed out to you? This can be one single quality or a combination of them.
For example, ever since I was a little girl people have told me that they like talking to me. It’s the one thing that I have heard again and again throughout my life. People enjoy talking to me and guess what, I love talking to them, too. It is one of my gifts and I use it in my business every day.
Once you found one or more of your qualities, reflect on them and see if they ring true for you too. Are they something you cherish? Do you like engaging in them? Next, get more specific. How do you like using your gifts? Would you like to enhance or improve them? In my case I found out that more than anything I like talking to others about their lives. I am deeply interested in people and what makes them happier. Explore what this is for you. Take your time, don’t force it. If nothing comes to mind today, try it again tomorrow. Talk to the people you love and find out what it is they cherish about you. This takes courage but trust me, not only will you find out more about yourself, you will also discover how much others value and love you for your gifts.
As always, thank you for reading,
Photo Source: Marcinmoga via Flicker under a Creative Commons License
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And, if you’d like to work with me to discover your unique badass qualities, consider participating in a one-on-one session – for women who want to find their gift, fall in love with themselves and change the world!