â€œEach of us has a tendency to underestimate his or her own abilities. We should realize that we have deep within ourselves deep reservoirs of great ability, even genius that can be tapped if we’ll just dig deep enough.”
That is a quote by Earl Nightingale, from his article The Great Problem-Solving Tool.
How do we go about finding those great abilities? Is it active “digging” inward, or using approaches that “allow” our talents to flourish? Joseph Campbell famously talked about “following our bliss,” and others frame self-actualization and meaningful living in terms of “calling.”
In her book This Time I Dance!: Trusting the Journey of Creating the Work You Love, Tama J. Kieves encourages honoring our intuitve wisdom, and releasing constraints based too much on reason alone: “Trust the process. A calling calls to remind you to enter the mystery of instinct and the metamorphosis of an inspired life. Honor your passion to emerge.”
She admits, “For years, I chased success and comfort and found only emptiness and ache. I was afraid of my true desires. They seemed dangerous, unrealistic, infantile, and ill-defined.”
But Kieves kept honoring and responding to her intuitive call toward making an authentic life. An honors graduate of Harvard Law School, she left her practice with a large corporate law firm to write, coach and lead workshops on reaching meaningful self-expression.
She invites others to “take your place in the life that calls to you, even if it’s just for a minute a day or one activity a week. I invite you to follow your soul’s impeccable instincts…”
[From her newsletter – see her site: awakeningartistry.com]
Jack Canfield [coauthor of The Success Principles] also talks about seeking our true abilities in his article What Do You Want in Life?: “You have inside you a core genius – some one thing that you love to do and do so well that you hardly feel like charging people for it. It’s effortless for you and a whole lot of fun.
“And if you could make money doing it, you’d make it your lifetime’s work. Successful people are able to do this by focusing on their core genius. They then delegate everything else to the people around them.”
Most other people, he writes, “can’t find the time to focus on their core genius because they fail to delegate even the most menial of tasks.”
Kathryn Britton writes in her Positive Psychology News Daily article Using strengths when you work that our work environment is a revealing place in which to find out about our real talents.
“You are the best judge of what your strengths are because you experience yourself working,” she writes. “When you use strengths, you feel invigorated. When you use weaknesses, you feel drained.
“You look forward to activities that use your strengths and dread ones that use your weaknesses. You are more likely to be successful and to feel satisfied after using your strengths than after doing something that uses weaknesses.
“You find it a joy to learn new skills or information in service of your strengths, while you canâ€™t seem to get any better in your areas of weakness.
Britton also refers to Marcus Buckinghamâ€™s new book, Go, Put Your Strengths to Work, which includes data showing that less than two out of ten people believe they use their key strengths most of the time.”
Another way to quest for strengths and abilities is to recall what passions we enjoyed earlier in life, before we had to deal with mortgages and years of self-judgment about “right” careers and other pursuits.
This photo is Julie Andrews in a music room in her home, 1947 – from the page Vocation / calling articles sites.
Related Talent Development Resources pages:
Inner Castles and Worlds – metaphors of self and psyche