I didn’t interview the “top ten leaders” (and who could say who they are anyway) so I don’t know what their “three things to do” are, nor do I have a clue about their seven habits. Folks are much too focused on finding the right (short) list of beliefs, actions, habits, thoughts to success. The holy grail of success as described in lists doesn’t exist. Tips reside there, but not the secret. The holy grail is hidden in plain sight.
“Use your gifts.” That is the most powerful single tip you will ever receive. Your gifts are numerous and powerful; use them.
Easier said than done. First you need to understand what your gifts are, then have an understanding of where they came from, and then clarity of how to apply them.
People tend to evaluate their gifts in specific, literal terms; unfortunately, that denies them identifying and using them. For example, someone may say “I can’t build anything so I can’t be a carpenter,” even though they love wood, handmade furniture and other products. Don’t look at carpentry or woodworking as the gift that is missing, but look at the love of, and appreciation for, wood as the gift. That opens up all sorts of activities ranging from refinishing to simple, ongoing care of wood items. We need to see differently in order to change perspectives so that we can grow authentically.
Our gifts reside next to our loves. If you love music but are not good enough to play in a band, then consider other ways to use the gift that is love and appreciation for the creation of music. Get in the industry with your other skills like business management, sales, IT…just get close to music and musicians. Work in a studio, a club or a music venue. Notice the difference between thinking your gift has to be “musician” and thinking your gift is “the love and appreciation for the creation of music.” See how that changes everything?
And there is one gift that we all have in common: the ability to create. Indeed, the call to create. I believe that we were created in the image of our Creator, and included in that image is the ability to create. In our own ways, we are creators with a lower case c. And create, we must. With our thinking and our writing, our report making and committee involvement, in our dancing and cooking, art and writing, walking and fishing, parenting and solitude…in all endeavors, we must create by using our energy, knowledge, character, personality, abilities, traits. We can create art or meals, architecture or joy, organizations or smiles. We can, and must, choose to create.
Whether you believe your gifts are divinely provided or developed, or a combination thereof, consider all the other factors and forces that encourage the development of gifts to a functional level. They come from experiences, people who have influenced you and more. Listen to my Discover and Polish the Pearls Within to get a better sense of why looking into ourselves and our lives reveals the treasures that are our gifts. Don’t ignore what got you to where you are today…your gifts reside there.
Use your gifts. Use them at work , at home, in the community…use them. Develop them. Communicate poeticly if your are a poet at heart; use music to set the tone for your home or office if music is important to you; bring your favorite cooked meal to the office to share if that is a gift…you get the point. There are always ways to use your gifts. For those who have not had the opportunity or found a way to build a life that is built around their gifts, find a way to use them as you can.
The one secret? Use your gifts. Create with them…it is your call, and when you do, you will succeed.