I truly get off on witnessing a talent shared and embraced. It’s a beautiful thing.
Let’s start with dog competitions. I swear, I cry at dog shows and agility trials. There is something about seeing the natural instincts of a particular breed come to life that makes me weep.
I once watched a television show where puppies were exposed to the circumstances that would invoke their breed’s natural skills. A young Border Collie pup was introduced for the first time to sheep. At first, the pup was very nervous, looking back to its human for help. But she was also very interested in the sheep – hesitatingly curious, I’d say. And quite suddenly, like a switch that had been flipped, that little puppy’s herding instinct kicked in. With no training whatsoever, she knew to crouch and dart around trying to herd the sheep. Even the sheep were impressed.
That dog’s energy was palpable through the tv screen – she had discovered her natural talent and was truly elated to be expressing it! And I (remember, I’m a mush ball) was moved to tears.
So (and I’m sure you know where this is heading) what are your natural talents? What are those special skills and unique qualities that are instinctive to you? Those talents you might be taking for granted, perhaps. Some possibilities…
You are genuinely funny
You have a wonderful singing voice
You put people at ease
You can fix things around the house
You are an amazing gardener
You read fast
You remember people’s birthdays
You are a savvy stock market investor
You write beautiful poetry
You can juggle
You have a way with animals
You can make perfect roses out of icing
You make people feel important
You can identify birds by their song
You can persuade anyone to do anything
You make the best fig preserves in town
You can parallel park in even the tightest of spaces
You have super neat handwriting
You can rewire a lamp
You know what I mean – these are talents and skills that you don’t even bat an eye over. One of my amazing talents is parallel parking. I don’t know why, but it’s something I’ve always been able to do well. I will challenge anyone in a park-off!
Speaking of dogs, my Goddaughter, who is 14, was able to identify most dog breeds soon after learning to talk! She has a special talent with dogs – we call her the mini dog whisperer.
So what do dogs, you and I, and my young niece have in common regarding our special talents? A few things:
- It’s something we have a keen, natural interest in. It gives us an emotional charge that feels great!
- When we are using our particular talent, we feel more alive, more energized and more fulfilled than we usually do.
- Because our special talent is natural and easy for us, we get compliments and accolades from others – which encourages us to further sharpen our talent.
One thing I often notice with my coaching clients – especially with entrepreneurs who are trying to create their branded business message – is that people dismiss their natural talents. They say, “Oh, I don’t really have any special skills or unique gifts.” (Dogs don’t seem to do this!)
If you are going to grow a business, you’ve got to peel away that layer of false modesty. You’ve got to just step out and proclaim your talents! We – the world – need your gifts and talents. Acknowledging your gifts is healthy and gives permission to the rest of us to declare ours. If you’re saying, “I don’t want to be arrogant,” you need to look the word up in a dictionary, because you have mis-defined it. Arrogance is “unwarranted importance; overbearing pride,” which is all about thinking you are better than everyone else because of your talents.
None of us has greater human value because of our talents. But when you hide your gifts because you are afraid of “looking immodest,” you are only serving the darkness. I urge you to serve the light – come out and share your gifts with the rest of us!
So, right this minute, take a moment to write your list of special talents and skills. Make it a long, juicy list. And boldly share it with us. Please.