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Knowing Your Gift Means Knowing Your Value.

Updated on January 23, 2019
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Leonard Horton is a broadcast journalism instructor and enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter and pet guinea pig, Chee Chee.


Have you ever taken an assessment of what your gifts are?

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Your gift is the secret to your success and is what grants you access.

Life as a college senior can be an extremely scary time. Four years have passed and now it is time to decide what you want to do in the next stages of your life.


Whenever I advise my university students one-on-one, I always start the same way: I take out a blank sheet of paper and ask a series of questions. These questions relate to childhood interests and what activities students found themselves doing "naturally." I want to know what makes them upset, what makes them happy, sad, or naturally curious. I'm helping them figure out where they "fit." As I begin to probe, students say things like, "I have always documented events" or "I have always loved cooking for huge groups and making sure things were tidy." These details may seem small, but this personal assessment gives them a glimpse into their gift.


I believe we are all born with certain gifts. I say "gifts" plural because it's possible to have more than one. It's these gifts that will give you a "seat at the table." The great thing about having a gift is that it really doesn't matter whether you are an introvert or extrovert. Your gift makes room for you regardless of your grade point average, the neighborhood you were raised in, or any other external factors. It also doesn't matter where you are in the world. When you know your gift, you will "take your seat at the table," rather than beg for it. There have been several occasions where a former student wasn't exactly qualified for a certain position but was accepted because of his or her gift.

I have always been a visual person. As someone who loves photography and video, I know that my camera gives me access to any place I want to be. It doesn't matter where it is! If there is a situation where photos are needed, and it is an environment I want to be connected with, my camera allows me access to that environment. Your gift is the key that unlocks your future. Your gift is like a missing puzzle piece. It is what separates you from others. Your gift highlights your "difference" and shows the world your true value.


When I talk about gifts, I use the metaphor of a seed. Inside of any seed is the potential for new growth. But before the growth happens, there is a process. After a gardener takes a seed and plants it into the ground, it goes through what's known as germination. Deep in the soil, the seed is in a dark place where it becomes broken. In life, before any new thing is produced, there will be a "breaking" period where it seems you are under extreme pressure. My students experience this often, usually during the final months before graduation. Because of this pressure, many students never finish the race. It's extremely important for people to know that this part of the growth process. Once it is over, the sunlight breaks through the clouds and you will enter a season of rest.


Maybe you have a unique way of seeing things. Maybe your gift is that you are brutally honest. Maybe you are very discerning and recognize when a person is hurting. Maybe you're very detail-oriented and are a bit of a perfectionist. You might be a multitasker with a gift for administration. Or, you might be ego-driven and love speaking publicly. In any case, embrace your "difference."

At this point, you may be asking, "How does my gift help me on my job?" Well, you may be surprised to learn that your gift could include several leadership qualities which could bring promotion. There is also a possibility that embracing your true gift will cause you frustration on your job, forcing you to lean toward new things.


Now that you are discovering your gift, it's time to tell the world. During interviews and in your cover letter, feel free to share your difference. Pretty soon, your life will begin to navigate to where your gift is required.

© 2019 Leonard Horton


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