Happy Monday, or whatever Monday you choose.
As promised, I was able to get eight hours of sleep five out of seven nights. The valiant tree-pruner wielding, self-declared knight of the realm we met at two o’clock in the morning ruined my winning streak, but I digress.
Do you have a natural gift? I hear conflicting advice about talents. Some say to follow what you are passionate about, and you will make an incredible life. Others say never to make your hobby into a career because it becomes a chore. I walk somewhere in the middle. I use my gifts daily and have not turned it into a successful career. Being unsuccessful in a specific zone can make it seem as if you are fooling yourself about your talents. I notice that when I gift others with my gift, it is genuinely appreciated, and sometimes even life-changing. It reinforces that I do have a talent.
But, and there is always a but – don’t give up your day job. I am very fortunate because I enjoy my day job. It has been a tremendous growth opportunity, and I have learned many new skills as a result. My work pushes me out of my comfort zone and gives me a chance to be creative. We are more than our jobs. We are more than the external roles that define us. In a world that monetizes everything, whether it be social currency or actual cash, it is a balancing act for where to draw the line. What do you gift, and what do you charge?
There are many examples in real life of people navigating that tightrope. How many doctors and lawyers get asked for free advice at social events? I guess the skill to learn is tact and effective communication. When you are called to do something, it is difficult to hold back. My sister is a teacher. She is always teaching even when she is not at work. It is as natural to her as breathing. Do you define boundaries? That is another skill I have to develop. In some of my previous blogs, I discussed that we count the cost of our investments. My job training also teaches us to find sustainable things.
What’s next? Challenge assumptions. I have been reflecting on an article I read by Tina Seelig called, “What does your life look like upside down?” She outlines a simple but powerful exercise where you write down your assumptions about something and then consider the opposite and seek alternatives. If I were brave enough to apply it to my life, I certainly would not follow any schedules. My life would be more unstructured. Still, planting seeds of change will allow them to bloom in their season. What are your gifts? What are your assumptions about how to use them? Maybe if you challenge your assumptions, you will find the balance and be able to give and receive.