As an elementary school teacher for 13 years, I had many parents tell me their children were gifted. Not long after I had my first son and he smiled up at me a few weeks into his young life, I knew in that moment he was gifted as well.
The thing is, we were right about our children. They are gifted. Not always in the sense a school test shows. But, they are gifted nonetheless. Their Heavenly Father gave them special qualities. As their parents, the gifts are so evident we think the world should instantly recognize them. If others don’t, we inform them. :)
Guess what, you are no different! You are someone’s child too. And you were created by our Heavenly Father.
I am informing you now, by the power vested in me as a former elementary school teacher and as a believer in the Creator…you are gifted.
What Are My Gifts?
I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. But, with these suggestions you can start to uncover your gifts.
I intentionally used the word “uncover” because your gifts are your gifts, given to you be the Creator. Yet, as seasons of life change, certain gifts may come to the forefront and others fade to the background for a time. A very beautiful design to this thing we call life.
We just have to uncover...remember...recognize our gifts.
Why Answer the Question
The 5 strategies below will help to answer this question. Be sure, though, to invest the time and effort needed to address such a significant query.
Answering the question will give you greater confidence in yourself.
And if you are seeking answers to start a side business of your own, then the time invested will be beneficial in the long run…monetarily, physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.
Strategy 1: Pray.
This one is the simplest and the most profound. Pray.
As I was getting the oil changed in my car the other day, I overheard one of the employees talking about his knee improving after a recent surgery. He commented to his coworker how he had always felt it was selfish to pray for his own needs until a friend asked, "Why? You read the Bible?"
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Matthew 7:7
After his friend’s reminder, he started praying specifically for his own recovery.
Start today. Ask God to answer your question…to reveal your gifts to you.
By knowing our God-given gifts, we are better able to serve His people (as a business or as a volunteer).
Strategy 2: Listen.
Then, listen for answers to your prayers. It may come in the form of friends’ comments about “how you accomplish so much with your time. You are just so organized.”
Or, it may be a tiny whisper (or a loud scream!) in your mind that says, “I love caring for children.”
Or, a neighbor notices your green thumb. You can make anything grow and in the most horrific conditions.
Don’t dismiss these voices (yours and others’). Your gifts are often revealed in mundane situations and everyday conversations.
Strategy 3: Explore Your Curiosities.
In a recent 48 Days podcast, Dan Miller mentioned how many of us are so worried about finding our passion in life. Dan calmed listeners’ anxieties (which included me) by saying, “Follow your curiosities.”
Christy Wright wrote about something similar in a post titled, Why You Shouldn’t Worry about Finding Your Calling.
But do this cheaply.
Think about it, with no financial burden, you are freely exploring and not linking yourself to a storefront for the next 15 years that you bought on a whim.
For example, think you are interested in blogging? Use Wix.com to create a free site. (I suggest Wix because its free option is not a trial...it's free for as long as you like. Of course, it has an unprofessional-looking URL. But, who cares at this point?! You are exploring.) Set to writing everyday. If in four weeks, you still relish it, this is a gift of yours that could be monetized as a business if you choose. (Then, feel free to move from your free site to any platform you feel comfortable with!) If in that time, though, you grow to dread writing, it may be a gift still. Just not one to use as a foundation for a business. Move on and explore other curiosities.
Or, you are curious about refurbishing furniture. Buy a cheap piece at a thrift store. Even better, get one off the side of the road. My point, pay as little as possible! Work regularly for several weeks redoing the piece. By being consistent in your work, you will determine if you have a gift and if you even care to monetize that gift. (Side note, I learned that I liked the idea of redoing furniture, not the actual work. Hence, why I don’t do it anymore.)
Or, know one of your gifts is tidiness. It just comes easy to you. Are you curious about getting paid to clean others’ homes? Find one client, and clean the house regularly for a specified period of time (agreed upon by both of you). Determine at the end of the allotted time if this gift is one you want to monetize. If not, move on and follow another curiosity.
Strategy 4: Reminisce
Look back at old photos. Maybe even really old photos that are on photo paper, not on your phone. :) Talk to your parents. Ask your sister or brother or cousin. What do they remember about your strengths as a child, teenager, and young adult?
Often times just the act of reminiscing reveals talents that you have forgotten you have or you now overlook in your adult life. Funny thing, our gifts are difficult for us to see. We think to ourselves, “Everyone can do that.”
Ha! Not true!
My mother-in-law can plan a party like nobody’s business. She actually remembers to have drinks for everyone. She also considers extras like candy and games for the children or tableclothes for the tables to make clean up easier.
To her, the “extras” are the norms, the no brainers. To me, I am still stuck at remembering drinks for party goers. If someone told me to plan a party for 60 people, I would cry. My mother-in-law would respond, “When is the party?”
She has hundreds of pictures of the parties she has thrown. If she ever wonders about her gifts, the sheer volume of photos taken would reveal her love for throwing shindigs. (She won’t forget this gift of hers, though. I remind her often!)
For most people, what we choose to do when no one forces us reveals our gifts. My mother-in-law loves throwing parties, even though it is a TON of work. She even looks for reasons to have one. For her, the work is worth it. It brings joy to her and to others. A real gift.
Strategy 5: Consider Many Possibilities.
Here’s a personal example. With lots of practice and some natural talent (more like...height as a 7th grader), I became a pretty good basketball player in high school. Not Division 1 level, but better than the average bear. Enough to get me a scholarship at a local junior college for 2 years. Even though that was a gift of mine for that season of life, it still is a gift. It is used differently, though, in my current season.
What I learned about the game of basketball can be used to teach my sons or to instruct other youngsters. What I learned about conditioning can be used to keep myself in shape or to help a friend who wants to lose weight or to build endurance.
My gift in high school and college morphed into knowledge in other, yet related areas.
By the time I finished my doctorate of education in 2016, I had written hundreds of pages filled with academic writing. Several professors over the years told me that I was a good writer. I am now using the gift of writing…but in a different format.
See, often times, gifts from earlier seasons of our lives are still in play today…just in different capacities.
You, my comrade, are gifted. I know because I am surrounded by many gifted women. My situation can't be that unique to be the only woman in the world with ridiculously-gifted friends and family.
My point, you have a friend or acquaintance that considers you "her gifted friend or her talented coworker or her accomplished neighbor."
If you read this post as an entrepreneur, good luck finding your gifts that you want to build a business around. I wish you the best! It won't make the work of creating a business less hard. But, it will make the business itself less difficult.
If you read this post as a tired, beat-down, world-weary woman, first off, I am sorry you feel that way. I have been there (and probably will feel that way again at some point this afternoon). But, remember what you think of your own children (or nieces or nephews). You look at them and see talents and gifts oozing from them. You are no different. You are someone's child and made by the Creator.
Journaling while you seek to realize your gifts may be a powerful tool for you on a personal level and from the business aspect. This will sound strange since I keep a journal on this site, but I don't like journaling. However, because I made it a part of my business plan and stuck to that plan, I have learned a great deal about myself...my gifts and my weaknesses. Just something for you to consider.
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