If you’re talented, skilled and capable of adding value – which by the way, you are – you need to come off the bookshelf and shine brightly. And you need to do it now!
Your life has purpose. And all that’s deposited in you is there for a reason; to make a difference, to leave a positive mark on the world, and to influence those around you so they too can flourish.
In this post I’m going to share 3 reasons why it’s essential as part of your own personal development, and for the good of others, that you use your talents. They are:
- You have a responsibility to others
- You have a responsibility to yourself
- You don’t want to have wasted your life
It’s not inconsequential that you have influence, so you need to be asking yourself the following questions, daily.
- Where am I making a contribution?
- How am I benefiting others?
- What am I doing with my talents?
So what’s the big deal? Why should you be so concerned with discovering and using your talent?
Regardless of whether you’re a person of faith or not, religious texts provide an abundance of useful insights that can help here. One example of this can be found in the Bible.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells a story about a property owner who gave three employees a share of his assets before travelling on business. To one he gave five talents*, to another two, and to the third he gave one. Then off he went.
*large unit of money
Upon his return he asked them to account for what they’d accomplished with the talents they received. The first and second servants, those who’d been given five and two talents respectively, had doubled what they’d been apportioned. Wow! Understandably, their boss was very pleased with them, and praised them accordingly.
The third employee, however, he was not so pleased with. For when approached to give a report of what he’d done with his one talent, he admitted to having “hidden it in the ground” through fear of what his boss might think.
The end result was not pleasant for this last employee. In fact, he was swiftly reprimanded and, I’m guessing, in a similar tone to that of Sir Alan Sugar of the popular show The Apprentice, heard the words, “You’re fired.” Well, something of that nature.
So, what’s the learning in this story?
If you’re the introverted, hesitant, conscious of being misunderstood when putting yourself forward type, then these three points will help you in considering why you need to use your talents.
Equally, if you’re the kind of person more confident in putting yourself forward when you identify a need, it’s also worth reading.
#1. You have a responsibility to others
In recognising your endowments as being gifts, or resources given to you for the purpose of benefiting others, you’ll be freed to acknowledge the onus upon you to use them.
You’ll also feel more comfortable and confident with the idea of moving progressively towards bringing them out of the ground and into the open; no longer shying away through fear of being misunderstood, wrongly perceived, or worse still, getting it wrong – as did the third employee in the bible account.
Consider for a moment what some of your talents are. Furthermore, schedule just 10 minutes across the next few days to make a list of what you’re good at, what comes naturally to you, and what you get excited about.
You may say to yourself:
- “I’m good at helping people.”
- “I’m good at organizing things.”
- “People pay attention to me when I talk.”
- “I enjoy entertaining and hosting.”
- “I listen well to others.”
- “I give good advice.”
- “I give encouragement.”
- “I have a good sense of humour.”
- “I’m creative.”
Whatever your list includes, be sure to recognize the items for what they are. Your talents.
#2. You have a responsibility to yourself
Your life is a treasure to be lived and enjoyed to the full. Sadly, failure to do so results in a lack of genuine joy.
When you’re not doing the ‘thing’ you’re designed to be doing – as evidenced by your list of what you’re good at, what comes naturally to you, and what you get excited about – your existence becomes one marked with frustration and discontent.
In learning to love yourself, again, as a means to being able to effectively love and benefit others, you’re to avoid the wrongful assumption that adding value to your life through the use of your talents, is inherently bad.
Though you need to question your motivations, the mere fact that you do so, is evidence that you’re being rightfully provoked into ensuring that it’s not all about you*, but that you’re striving towards a greater purpose, as seen by the first two employees who made their bosses’ best interest their primary focus.
*A word of warning: to ignore that you seek some benefit from what you do, and to not acknowledge that you have a degree of tainted motivation, is both pious – as it’s a denial of your fallibility – and incongruent.
#3. You don’t want to have wasted your life
How do you want to be remembered? At the end of your life, what is it you want to have accomplished? What do you want your friends, loved ones, and colleagues to be saying about you? How true would those statements be if you were to die today?
When you shop it’s with intent. In going to the bathroom in the morning, though maybe not as considered, you’re subconsciously aware of the desired and likely outcome of your visit. You ensure that both occasions are purposeful.
Why should your life then, that has far greater significance than a visit to the bathroom or a trip to your local shopping centre, be of any less consequence?
And neither does it have to be!
Eleanor Roosevelt said,
When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.
Adding to the good of others, and experiencing the resulting joy and rewards that come from sharing your treasure with those who benefit from your contribution, are not simply great motives for expressing your talents, they also give you a reason to exist.
There is nothing wrong with creating opportunity to use your talent, for as we’ve seen, you have a responsibility to do so. There is everything wrong with burying your talent in the ground, for in doing so, you rob yourself and those you influence, of the benefits associated with your contribution to the world.
You owe it to yourself, and to others, to use your talents.
What stops you from using your talents? Leave your answer or a comment in the comments box below!