Self-expression is a central part of the Brighter Being system because being and sharing your true self invites peace, balance, and fulfillment in your life. The word “Contribute” can take on many meanings, from donating your time for a good cause to simply speaking up when there’s an opportunity to share your ideas. The main point here is that you, as a human being, have something unique to share — may it be a grand endeavor or a powerful yet subtle way you show up each day in the world. Recognizing and sharing yourself… your passion, your talent, your love, your ideas… is a path for lighting up your life and world.
Below are seven practices to consider as you discover and share your gift. If you’d like to get started by strengthening your ability to tap into the present moment, take a peek at these simple, quick activities.
1. Take note of activities that give you a sense of ease.
Often the gifts we possess are hiding in plain sight. We often undervalue or maybe don’t even consider our strengths as talents because they come so naturally. Or, you might not have considered all the ways that your knack for folding clothes with precision has other applications beyond your tidy chest of drawers. The same might be true for your approach to comforting a friend in need or cooking a family meal. Notice those activities or experiences when your energy and focus dial in and your mind and body flow. In many cases, you may lose track of time. Simply becoming aware of these activities or moments is an excellent starting practice for tapping into your inner gifts and opportunities to share. If you already have a good sense of what this might be, wonderful! Then your practice may be brainstorming other ways this strength could be of further benefit, potentially beyond where you imagined. If you’re coming up dry, be patient and see what emerges or explore new activities you have yet to try. The trick here is not to be stuck on how the activity may benefit others. Instead, it’s about discovering what type of activities or ways of being come naturally to you. And, to be clear, it may be as simple as being kind to customer support representatives or as complex as coding a new software application. In short, if you’re captivated by something, take a pause to consider what natural talent(s) may be at play.
2. Get an Outside View of You, even as a Child.
Getting perspective from different types of individuals who know you well and gathering insight from various periods in your life may also be a worthwhile pursuit. As you begin getting external input, remember that it is just input. Listen for what resonates and feels true to you. If something doesn’t feel right, then let it be. And, when you are reminded about strength or passion you recognized during your personal inquiry, take special note. It might be particularly supportive to learn or rediscover your childhood passions depending on your environment growing up.
3. Seek the Talent in Others that Inspires You.
We are often attracted to qualities that we possess — even if (and sometimes because) they are aspects of our personality that are not being expressed. So another great way to identify your own gifts and talent is noticing when someone else’s actions or contributions inspire you. In fact, of all the practices noted, this one may be the most helpful in connecting the dots between your talents and applying them in a way that feels most fulfilling to you.
In addition to helping you become more aware of a particular strength, you may also have the opportunity to connect with someone who can offer applicable guidance.
4. Write Down Your Thoughts Daily.
Jotting down or organizing your thoughts and experiences into a daily journal helps you keep track of your learnings. A journaling practice focused on raising awareness about your strengths, talents, passions will support your discovery. But, more importantly, this provides a log of insights over time that you can revisit to learn more from yourself.
Choose any journaling approach that feels most comfortable to you, and know that simply writing down your stream of consciousness is a productive practice for gaining insight into your gifts. Be open to a range of topics and see what the practice reveals. Visit our Mindful Moments for suggested prompts.
Once a week or month, read through your writing and create a summary list of insights or themes related to your strengths and passions.
5. Assess your Current State with a Personality Test
A Self-Assessment Tool is another more traditional way of checking in on how you see and sense yourself. There is no shortage of personality tests available online for free and more in-depth assessments for a fee. Each has its theory and algorithm or a particular approach to analyzing you. One of our favorites is Carl Jung’s archetypes. You can take their free assessment at 16personalities.com.
6. Review your Insights and Identify Resonating Themes
You’ve now gathered a lot of information from your personal investigation and insights from friends, family, and even strangers about your unique gifts.
Now it’s time to synthesize and prioritize. After focusing on discovering your strengths over a few weeks or months, is there one theme that continues to pop up?
The practice of reviewing and assessing allows you to reflect on what is most true for you. If one central idea is still fuzzy, start with a shortlist of what you’re now seeing as your strengths or unique gifts. It’s ok if these aren’t “apples-to-apples.” For instance, your shortlist could include being consistently kind to strangers, keeping the family on budget, setting personal boundaries, and writing poetry.
This unique talent or set of emerging gifts is your contribution springboard! With these potentials in mind, you are primed to begin sharing these strengths with others.
7. Jump into the Pool of Possibility.
And, the possibilities a great! But, here is where the meaning of contribution really shows its depth. This may mean offering your unique gift to yourself; showing up for your family with a commitment to share your light; tapping into your neighborhood community to offer your talent; volunteering with your spiritual or nonprofit organization in a new way; diving into civic duty; creating a work of art; searching for a new role in your work; finding a new career path; starting a business; or simply (and powerfully) committing to being more you on a moment-to-moment basis as you go about the same family or work life you had before.
So that’s a long preamble to say that connecting the dots between your talents and how they can best contribute may not be a linear path. In fact, imagine it more like a starburst with lots of loops. If the idea of an unstructured path isn’t for you, your starburst can be very symmetrical and carefully drawn.
The point is that now is the time to move out into your world, connect with people, experiment, and gather feedback (internal and external) while actually sharing or learning more about your contribution!
Personal reflection is an ongoing process, and you’ve completed some heavy lifting at this point. It’s time to be in action before you catch a case of Self Analysis Paralysis.
If you know your thing, go shine your light! If you’re on the search, be in motion. Ask for informational interviews, sign up for classes where you might meet others, attend volunteer opportunities that may give you a taste of the work. This practice allows all of your dedicated discovery work to find purpose.
Final Thoughts on Identifying Your Unique Gifts and Contributing to the World
Cheers to you for exploring this topic and taking the initiative to learn more about yourself and the ways you can share your gifts. By discovering ways to align with your strengths and contribute more fully in your life, you will find (and create!) more peace in this world.
As you see, “contribution” is first and foremost about understanding your greatest offering. And “Greatest” doesn’t mean biggest or hardest. It means most true to you — perhaps sharing the bounty of your backyard garden with neighbors.
With this clarity, you can begin exploring ways to match your talent with opportunities to share.
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