Yesterday, I talked a lot about recognizing what your talents may be and I shared five questions that I have asked myself along the way to discovering some of my talents. Today- I want to talk about that scary step of actually embracing and utilizing your talents. To simplify- I want to talk about OWNING them.
Every single one of us has some sort of talent that we can use in our lives. Some people are blessed with many talents, others are blessed with a few. But it is how we use our talents that defines who we are
If you are a Christian, you are probably familiar with the parable of the talents. If you are not a Christian- here the bottom line up front of the parable- if you do not use your talents, take care of them and push yourself to do more, you will use them. That seems like a simple enough lesson-but I would like to take a practical approach to it for a few moments.
I recognize one primary talent in myself- I love to learn. And one of the primary ways that I learn, is by teaching. So with those two things sandwiched together, I have a pretty good idea of one thing that I should always be doing in my career and that is educating myself and others. Now, if you are an educator, you know just how difficult this can be. If you are not an educator- well- we can only imagine exactly how difficult those things are. The thing is- I recognize that I have to act on teaching and learning. I have to actually do something to continue to grow and improve my talents. And because of my talent in teaching- I now have the opportunity to help others figure out their own teaching style.
*Dramatic pause* Yes you read that right- I now have the opportunity to help others figure out how to do something that I love. Something that just makes my soul so happy. *Another dramatic pause*
But teaching is not for everyone. And the way that I teach is not for everyone. I teach best when I am forced to learn something because my trainee needs that skill and no one else is willing to step up to the plate to teach it. I recognize that not everyone teaches that way. Actually- I would wager that most people do not like to teach that way. They like to teach from an area of expertise, as opposed to learning one or two steps ahead of their pupil- but half of my goal- is for my pupils to surpass me at some point in time. I want them to be better than me. And that even includes the people that I am helping to become better teachers.
What about the people that want to teach, but are not teachers? Well- they can work hard at it. They can take a course here or there to help them understand teaching. They can pick up some books to help them figure out how good teachers operate. As someone who teaches- I also see an opportunity to focus them on a talent they are wonderful at.
Or, better yet, they learn and accept that teaching may not be their talent and they can choose to foster a different talent. A talent that I do not have. A talent that 90% of the population does not have. Because, let’s face it, each of us is likely to have a fairly unique talent if we just look at ourselves long enough. And while our talents do not have to be unique, we should never feel like less of a person because our talents are not the same as some else’s. That kind of comparison will just drive each us insane. And in the world that we live in- we need unique talents to actually blossom.
Here is the thing- by owning the fact that I am a teacher at heart, I am also owning the things that I am not. Owning that I have a teacher’s heart- allows me to own that I am probably not suitable for jobs where learning new things is less than encouraged. Owning that I have a teacher’s heart- allows me to own that I am always going to care about people ‘getting it’ and that I will always want to help them find their path. Owning that I have a teacher’s heart- means that I want for people to be happy and love what they do- even if that means that they go against conventional wisdom or decide that in order to do that, they must be in a different job. This is what owning it, is all about for me. Owning it may look completely different for you.
So- I’d like to ask all of you that have read yesterday’s article and today’s article- to think about what talent it is that you possess and how you are working on owning that talent. Are you still unsure that you even have a talent? (Trust me- you do) Are you thinking that your talent may be too small? (Trust me- it is just the right size for you) Are you thinking that owning your talent is scary? (Trust me- it is scarier to not own who you are) Are you thinking that your talent can’t possibly have an impact? (SPOILER ALERT: It absolutely can) If you are thinking any of these negative things- let them go. You are talented. You have the right to own that talent. You also have the responsibility to use it wisely. So, how will you use your talents today?