It’s said that each of us comes into this life with a set of unique talents and special gifts, and that a desire to be an integral part of the collective is inherent in us all. History books, childhood tales, and modern-day films alike point to the universal conversation and the age-old question: “Why are we here?” Aside from breath, contemplation, and connection, what is our purpose? What uniqueness do we hold within ourselves and what, precisely, are we meant to do with it? Does any of it matter? Do we even matter?
The truth is, you have a path and a specific purpose for being here. In the same way, you have a quest—something you are seeking—and innate strengths or abilities that are your own. As you journey through life, you may find yourself drawn to certain activities and things you feel called to do along the way. You begin to resonate with a specialty or calling, and therein lies the keys to identifying your gifts.
Whether it’s through writing, communicating, painting, playing music, dancing, or experiencing life, your uniqueness is what adds color, texture, flavor, and emotion to the lives of everyone around you. Eckhart Tolle has a great quote: “You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!” You carry within you certain qualities and attributes that contribute to society. So you see, it turns out you do matter. Your life matters. Everything you do has an impact.
Yet, many struggle to recognize the special qualities and talents they carry within as being of any real importance. It may not always be obvious to you that the things you have a natural flair for may very well be the thing you’re meant to do in your life. It may not appear that your level of genius, savvy, or know-how is all that relevant in the world.
Your limiting beliefs may be affecting your sense of self-worth. Perhaps you’ve never seen yourself as being good at anything because your siblings outshined you or you were told in school that you didn’t measure up. You’ve been guided by society to focus more on your weaknesses than your strengths, so it’s not uncommon for people to have very little sense of what those strengths are. But they’re there. Even in extreme cases where your negative self-image hinders your faith in yourself, there is still gold beneath the surface that needs mining. And that is precisely where you need to shine your light.
5 Ways to Discover Your Unique Gifts
To discover your unique talents and special gifts, consider the following:
- How did you love to spend your time as a child? What did you enjoy doing the most? How would you pass the days and what types of activities were exciting to you?
- What are you passionate about as an adult? What lights you up and gets you totally motivated? What kinds of things do you enjoy geeking out on? When you lose track of time, what are you doing?
- What is important to you about life? When you think about the different areas of life (e.g., health, career, family, relationship, personal development, spirituality/religion, fun), make a list of all the things that are important to you in each of these categories. This will give you a list of your values broken down by area. Combined, they represent your life values—what is important to you about life in general. Knowing your values helps direct you toward things that are important to you at the unconscious level and can lead you to finding your passion and purpose.
If you find that you’re still struggling to identify your specialty, here are a couple options for deeper exploration:
- Take the Strengths Finder assessment. This Web-based interview analyzes your instinctive reactions and will then present you with your signature “themes.” Some of the categories are Achiever, Activator, Communication, Competition, Restorative, and Strategic. Once you know what your primary themes are, you can begin to leverage them for your own development and for making a positive impact in the world.
- Ask your family, friends, and co-workers. Think of the five people you spend the most time with and identify one or two things that those people are gifted at. You should be able to come up with at least one talent or gift each person has or does that is unique to them. Likewise, the people who know you well or whom you spend the most time with will easily be able to share with you the qualities they see as being your strengths. So just ask around.
How to Apply Your Special Gifts
Once you’ve identified your special talents, it’s time to put them to work by exploring ways of building your life around them. You can do this by discovering what it is you’re good at and getting creative with how you can use those talents to serve yourself and others. But what does that actually mean? How can you tap the energy of your greatness and use it to make a positive impact on both the planet and humanity alike?
Take some time now to contemplate the words and phrases that came about from your self-reflection and inquiry. What things stand out for you as being your gift or strength? I once heard about a woman who didn’t know what her special gifts were. When asked what she enjoyed doing most, she replied with “dancing.” She wasn’t going to win any awards for her dancing skills but she loved it and absolutely came alive when she danced. Through a similar exercise, she came up with the idea to start a business of taking international group tours to different countries to learn about cultural dance. It’s her passion, it’s her purpose, and she knows she matters in the lives of the people who travel with her and the lives of the people who get to share their culture with her clients.
At the end of the day, who you are, what you do, and how you show up in the world is special and unique. Everything you share—whether it’s your bright smile, your compassionate heart, your sharp intellect, or your quality of presence—has a ripple effect on everyone around you and beyond. You see, it turns out you do matter. You matter in more ways and on more days than you could ever possibly imagine. Whoever you are and whatever you do, the world needs you. When you think big, show up bold and share your uniqueness, you become a role model for all of us.