Three Tips for Discovering Your Gifts

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Three Tips for Discovering Your Gifts

When people learn about my story and the title of the book I’ve written, Live Your Gift, I often hear some version of these statements:

“I’m 41 and I don’t have the slightest idea what my gift is. All I want to do is use it for the better, but I can’t because I’m clueless about what it is.”

“I feel stuck all the time and unsure of my gifts.”

“I still sometimes wonder if I’ve done all I’m meant to do. God has a plan for all of us! Even at my age, there is still more to my story!”

“I’m going through this journey right now and I’m not sure I’m on the right path.”

Do you hear yourself in any of these people? I can sure relate because I remained stuck for a very long time. For over two decades, I had an idea of what my gifts were, but I was frozen in fear of what might happen if I actually honored the direction I was feeling called to follow. 

My old dream-killer voice would spit rapid-fire insults at me. “You’re not ready. Dana, your life is messy. You have no time! You are busy enough with a full-time job and four boys. Who would really care about what you have to share?”

My wise, intuitive self was stopped dead in her tracks. Part of me thought, ”Good, I am free for another day.” But I wasn’t. I was locked in an internal war with my soul.

The persistent nagging sensation that I was letting life slip away began to overpower my self-doubt. I stopped running away from myself and turned toward the wise 70-year-old grandma I envisioned many times in a future-self visualization. I instantly liked her when I saw her and thought to myself, ‘Uh, yeah, of course I want to be like her!’ 

So, here’s what you can do to discover your gifts and begin living them:

  1. Reflect - Reflect on when you’ve experienced the greatest loss, trauma, or pain. Did you learn something from the experience? Are you using that pain as an excuse to stay in an unhealthy pattern that keeps you away from your best self? Do you think others who are suffering from the same issue would benefit from hearing your story?

  2. Find Pure Joy - Think about everything you love. In life mapping, we call this Pure Joy. What do you love to do, see, observe, interact with, or create without expectation of any specific outcome or financial gain? Some examples are: watching the sunset, gardening, tinkering with cars, playing cards with children, playing a musical instrument, or cooking. These are things you genuinely enjoy because they internally wash a calmness over you and bring you pleasure.

  3. Ask for Help - Ask three to five people who you feel closest to what they think your gifts are. If you’re not sure they will understand what you mean by “gifts,” ask what they think you are naturally good at. Often, we are too close to the best parts of ourselves. It’s easy to become indifferent to our most attractive qualities and the people who love us will gladly rattle them off to us. 

Throughout this process, take some time for yourself. Make notes, journal, share this self-discovery with someone you love and explore it together. When you have moments of doubt, remember that sometimes confusion is a defense mechanism to avoid the underlying fear that keeps us from following our heart. Turn inward and know that your gift already resides within you.


Dana V. Adams