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Balance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life. It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others by using them. Thomas Kinkade

You may have heard of the television show “America’s Got Talent,” but what you may not know is that YOU’VE got talent.

We all do! What do you love to do?  What are your interests? What are your strengths? The answers to these questions will give you a clue to what your talents are.

One of the many aspects of my career that I enjoy is facilitating workshops that increase people’s self-awareness and encourage them to live to their fullest potential. One of these seminars is on personality types and in it I ask people to make a list of their strengths. Every session I watch as participants struggle to list their positive qualities. I find this interesting since these are professional men and women who possess many skills and talents.

We are all born with unique personalities and imbued with various talents. Contrary to what some may think, each person’s talents are of equal value to another’s.  Whatever your talent or gift, it is necessary and significant. You may be mesmerized and perhaps even slightly envious of the abilities of athletes, singers, and actors; but the truth is, we are all talented in different areas.  While some talents may be paid or applauded more than others, yours are just as valuable.

Every life is important and every gift is meaningful. Are the cells in your heart any more valuable than the blood that courses through your veins? Are the muscles in your lungs any more vital than your skin? It takes cells, muscles, tendons, bones, blood, and organs to keep your body functioning.  And it takes every one of us – born with different attributes, to meet the needs of the world. In other words, your naturally given talents are needed!  We are all born with a purpose and part of that purpose is to fully use our gifts to serve one another. When we use our gifts in love and in service to others, our life takes on a deeper meaning.

What are your talents? Our talents come easily to us so we often don’t think of them as being anything special. For example, you may be excellent at analyzing ideas or problem-solving. You may be really good at listening or creating laughter. Your natural gifts may involve organizing, fixing, generating ideas, planning, selling, nurturing, or entertaining. I just returned from the mall where I encountered a delightful young salesperson who was very good at helping me find a pair of jeans.  I was grateful for her talent!

Consider taking some time to do the following exercise. It will help you recognize some of your interests and hidden talents:

  • List ten things that you love to do.
  • Describe a time when you were deeply inspired.
  • Ask your friends or family members to describe your strengths.

Abraham Maslow said, “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can do, he must do. He must be true to his own nature.”

I have a couple of friends who live this quote through pursuing their passion for photography.  Another friend started an interior design blog.  My best friend uses her love of baking to sweeten the lives of her co-workers.  Another friend is pursuing her dream of becoming a full-time writer (this means getting up very early to write for an hour before her family wakes up and she goes to work).

Regardless of whether you are currently being paid to use your talents, use them anyway – as often as possible! You don’t know every twist or turn ahead on your journey through life, but if you use your gifts with the intention of enhancing the lives of others rather than solely making money, you will meet with success. You will also be filled with energy and inspiration.  Remember, when you use your talents, you’re expressing your authentic self.

As Oprah said, There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honour your calling. It’s why you were born. And how you become most truly alive.”