For many years I coordinated and produced large-scale events—conferences and festivals mostly. I found that I was good at logistics, seeing several steps ahead, planning on a highly detailed level while maintaining a vision of the big picture.
What’s more, I found I really enjoyed doing this work. I loved the experience that these events brought and the potential for uplifting the lives of tens of thousands of people who attended them. I also loved the sense of accomplishment I received from the end result.
In parallel to my time as an event producer I was also immersed in an ongoing education of the indigenous traditions, and mostly what that was about was spending time in the teepees and sweat lodges healing from the effects of having grown up in a highly dysfunctional family. I found, through these ancient traditions, a way of releasing fear and grief, and over the years, I found that I had changed, and was continuing to change internally.
I changed so much that I eventually came to realize that I didn’t enjoy producing events any more. That was a hard awareness to accept, as it required me to walk out on a career that had paid my way in the world for quite some time, and it meant that I had to walk into some abyss of, “What the hay do I do now?”
What I’ve come to learn is that the talents I thought were “my talents” were just the foundation of what my true calling is. Seeing and paying attention to the minutia while keeping a focus on the big picture, caring deeply for the impact my work has on the lives of others, feeling a sense of accomplishment—these are the foundational attributes for the work I do now, which is teaching and inspiring through writing, mentoring, facilitation and speaking.
If someone had said to me ten years ago that I would become a writer I probably would have thought, “Well, I’d love to be a writer, but I don’t know that I’m very good at it.” Or if someone had said that I would be a facilitator in the area of deepening culture and employee engagement I would have thought that person was talking fairy tales.
The gift of this circuitous process to finding my true gifts is that the talents I thought I had were just a stopping place along the way to discovering more important and more fulfilling work that I was meant to do.
And … given this awareness, I could very well be on the road to another, deeper set of talents that I’m presently not yet aware of. If I’ve had abilities I wasn’t aware of in the past, how would I know if I have more, as yet, untapped gifts.
What this means is that it’s wise not to assume that the talents we think we have are our only talents. If we keep progressing ourselves forward, if we continue to explore what’s within, we will naturally discover new and deeper talents that lie within each of us.
Where we are, is never the destination, it’s just where we are at this moment in time. As soon as we say, “We’ve arrived,” we’ve stopped growing and evolving. The challenge in this is not to let our fear of playing a greater role keep us from acknowledging what we’re truly capable of.
So keep growing and evolving and be open to your gifts unfolding in ways you might never have expected.