02/08/2013 07:25 BST | Updated 01/10/2013 06:12 BST

Are You Bringing Your Gifts and Talents to the Table?


Your unique gifts and talents are innate. Likely you are already using them.

I'm talking about the ones that make you absolutely remarkable. Not the skills you list on your CV, but the ones that you did naturally as a kid; the ones your friends and family love you for; the ones that your colleagues admire you for; and the ones that we are waiting for you to share with the world.

A homogenised education system and the establishment may have filtered them out of your awareness, but they are lying in wait like buried treasure.

Are you aware of them?

I wasn't, either.

Not completely, anyway. I did well at school and uni, and had some amazing media roles at companies like yahoo! and msn. There were many amazing experiences during those times: the friends and connections made; international travel; the sense of achievement through some really great work on great brands with talented people.

But there was something missing. That je ne sais quoi.

I realised the emptiness I felt could not be filled by alternating work with travel, because each new contract would inspire the same feeling. I was seeking a more permanent solution to a problem I didn't know how to articulate.

12 years later and over 1,000 years of collective wisdom wiser (thank you books, podcasts and courses), I had an epiphany:

Embracing what makes me unique, and making a deliberate decision to bring those gifts and talents to everything single thing I do would not only fill the void, but allow me to unfurl my brilliance across the universe. (A wildly powerful figure of speech, I know).

I have discovered some buried treasure:

That I am gifted beyond my wildest imagination.

And so are you.

I know, with absolute certainty, that you are more talented and amazing that you think you are.

You may not acknowledge and celebrate all the amazing qualities, characteristics, gifts and talents that make you unique and, frankly, quite brilliant; it doesn't matter how crazy, wacky or bizarre they might be. But....

That's because our establishment-driven society focus on certain skills and expertise; we get bench-marked against the status quo, which works well if you can embrace the challenge of being the odd one out, but not so well if your a bit more a shy and a little less confident about the value of your own gifts and talents.

The sweet spot lies where knowledge meets imagination; where skills meet intuition; where talent meets motivation. Your unique gifts and talents are concentrated, magnified, and enhanced in those places.

Sometimes they are wildly obvious.

Bear Grylls, a global icon whose shows have a combined audience of 1.2 billion says*:

I [...] found that a lot of my identity at school was being the kid that could climb the highest building and I followed that.

Follow that he did; at 23 he became the youngest Briton ever to reach the summit of Mt Everest. Wow.

Or it might be serendipity that connects you to them, like for Bluebellgray's Fi Douglas, who went to Glasgow School of Art, initially to study painting*:

It was at a strange time in the late nineties when they didn't want you to actually paint......I was an 18-year-old kid from the highlands, confused by it all, but when I discovered painted textiles, I knew I'd found my métier. It was as if a light bulb had flashed on.

Sometimes, though, they are completely hidden under the stories we've created around who we are. Don't panic. Here are some other ways to reveal them:

  • Ask friends, family, and colleagues. Sometimes we see what you don't. It's a wood for the trees thing
  • Step out of your comfort zone. Do things you wouldn't normally do: walk a different way home; go to an event; try to meet or talk to five new people a week; try that thing (course, seminar, sport) you've talk about doing for x number of years
  • Think back to your childhood. What were you really good at as a kid?
  • What are you doing when time stops? What are you so immersed in that time, figuratively, stops?

As for me, I'm a storyteller with a talent for inspiring and educating, and a passion for sharing my discoveries with others. I bring that to whatever table I'm at, whether it be marketing, writing, or traveling.

Acknowledging yours will bring a sense of purpose to your past, a passion for your present, and a clear vision for your future.

Celebrating them will unfurl your brilliance across the universe.

Here's some reading to kick start your own dig:

The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau

The Element by Ken Robertson

The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte

*Both quotes are sourced from the Summer Issue of Edition