My head slumped as I stared down at my strawberry pop tart. I took small bites, not sure I would be able to finish because of the lump in my throat. I was in the 3rd grade and I was STRESSED. Today was the day. The day I would have to take my multiplication test… AGAIN. I couldn’t even count how many times I had already failed. It was depressing to think about. Even more stressful was the thought that maybe I wouldn’t pass the 3rd grade simply because of this ONE thing – multiplication.
I wondered what was wrong with me. Why didn’t I just “get it” like so many other students in my class? Was I even good at ANYTHING??
Fast forward a number of years…
I stepped up to the mic, nervous but excited. I had prepared well and this was my time to shine. Looking out at the sea of faces a jolt of energy surged through me. I loved taking the stage and was so grateful for this opportunity! As a senior in high school, I had come in 2nd place for the Rhode Island statewide speech competition. At the New England level I came in 1st place. And this was my incredible reward – to deliver my speech to over 200 Speaker Association members. The time went by in a blink. The applause and the standing ovation was something I’d never forget. At a young age, I realized this was more than a gift. This was a calling. A destiny.
Same child. Different circumstances. Vastly different outcomes.
Were you ever told growing up, “You need to be more ‘well-rounded’.”? I think a lot of us were. Well-intentioned advice for sure. Good advice? Hardly.
I love the way Donald Clifton, The Father of Positive Psychology, put it. “At an early age, you started hearing it: ‘It’s a virtue to be well-rounded.’ They might as well have said, ‘Become as dull as you possibly can be.’”
The truth is, we were NOT created to be good at EVERYTHING. We were created by God with natural talents that we are meant to sharpen and use for Him. These talents are, in fact, our greatest opportunity for excellence. EVERYONE has talents. However, you don’t have to look far to realize everyone does not have the same talents.
Often we ask ourselves, “Where am I going? What should I be pursuing? Is this what God’s calling me to? Is that the job for me? Can I see myself in that relationship?” We need to shift our focus from DESTINATION to DIRECTION. We discover our DIRECTION when we understand and embrace our DESIGN. Because you are unique, the direction of your life will be unique!
To walk toward your God-given destiny, to be a Top Achiever, there are 3 things you need to do…
1. Discover your talents
Our thought patterns, our feelings and our behavior patterns all point to our natural talents. Have you noticed how some things drain you while other things energize you? And it might be the complete opposite for the person sitting right next to you! Do you ever wonder why you’re better at some things than others? Are there things that you love to do so much that it causes time to slip away? This speaks of your talents. So let me ask, do you know what your natural talents are? If not, it’s time to DISCOVER your talents.
2. Develop your talents
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first 4 sharpening the axe”. You are the axe. You are the tool to be used to accomplish great things. You have what it takes within you to do what others will never do. Think of a top achiever in any industry; those who you’d say, “They’ve truly found their destiny.” They are not consumed with trying to fix what is wrong with them. They are focused on developing what is right. You will be good at what you DO when you embrace who you ARE. What time are you spending sharpening your edge? What are you doing to develop your natural talents? If not much, it’s time to DEVELOP your talents.
3. Demonstrate those talents in all that you do
Can you say with confidence, “I get to do what I do best EVERY day.”? Do you feel you are THRIVING or merely surviving? Are you applying your natural talents to the challenges you face and goals you’d like to achieve? Are you walking toward your God-given destiny through your design? If not, it’s time to DEMONSTRATE your talents.
This is my mission. As a Gallup-Certified StrengthsFinder coach, I get the incredible opportunity to walk individuals, teams and organizations through a process of guided self-discovery, leading them to their unique, God-given destiny. There is a top achiever in all of us! However, sadly, for many, that person is buried deep within.
Discover, develop and demonstrate… Your beautiful DESIGN is there waiting to be found, longing to be sharpened and desiring to be showcased to the world, ultimately, leading you to your unique God-given destiny.
Will you come along for the journey?
Discover your talents by taking the Clifton StrengthsFinder Assessment. Develop your talents by engaging in intentional strengths coaching with a coach focused on you and your development. Demonstrate your talents by taking massive action with what you have learned!
By Darah Coy