Your gifts and contribution are so crucial to your life’s fulfillment, allow me to dive right in and tell you what your teachers, friends, and family may have never told you:
First, that you have gifts. Your skills, personality traits, and experiences have given you a unique take on the world—and a unique contribution to make. Even your sufferings, setbacks, and pet peeves help shape your gifts. Let them.
Your gifts may have nothing to do with a paycheck. In my all my wide-eyed enthusiasm as a new career counselor, I wanted to help everyone find their “dream job.” Turns out not everyone is looking for that. Work fills different needs for different people. For some, it’s an expression of their identity. For others, it’s a means to an end. What does work mean for you?
To find new gifts, you may have to leave the old ones behind. In his book Do One Thing Different, Bill O'Hanlon writes, "Sometimes the lives we are living are too small for us." And to paraphrase Harvey Mackay, you're a lot better off being scared than bored. The point is, make sure your gifts and contributions fit the person you are today. Sometimes our lives change, but our gifts don't.
Even dream jobs are only one piece of the puzzle. For example, the world can get another executive, teacher, or surgeon. But your dearest friends and family can’t get another you. Use your gifts to the full, but not at the expense of the people (or pets) closest to your heart.
Soul-searching doesn't happen by committee. I know many happy, successful people whose friends and family members ridiculed them for taking a risk or branching out in a new direction. Don’t live your life inside other people’s comfort zones. The only one who can discern your gifts is you.
Need help discerning your gifts? Here's a quick clue: Ask yourself, "What’s the one compliment I never get tired of hearing?" Make one up if you have to. But I’m guessing you won’t have to.
P.S. For bonus points, post your compliment on Facebook!
Soul-searching doesn't happen by committee.
— Gina DeLapa