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How to Unleash Your True Gifts

“Our talents are the gift that God gives to us. What we make of our talents is our gift back to God.

I thought those words, by author and motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia, were powerful the first time I heard them. However, at the time I doubted that I had any special gifts, and wondered if God had somehow passed me over when the gifts were handed out. Of course that was not the case. We all have been endowed with unique gifts – things we can do in a way that no one else can. But oftentimes we doubt we have gifts because we focus on our near gifts and dismiss or undervalue our true gifts.

What’s the difference between near gifts and true gifts? Your true gift is your calling; what you can uniquely do. You can have more than one true gift. Those gifts, no matter what they may be, are the reason you have taken this incarnation. You are here to release them in order to benefit the planet. Then there are near gifts. Such gifts reflect things that you do okay but are neither your innate genius nor what you have come to the planet to do. They are near gifts nevertheless, and you may use your near gifts to help you survive or stay afloat until you can use your true gifts. For example, you may have a near gift of being a waiter or waitress when you really want to act or sing. In the meantime, you do your best to wait tables, and there is nothing wrong with that.

A young man named Adam Braun used his near gift as an accountant to help him move to using his true gift as a builder – specifically, to build schools internationally for children in rural areas. While traveling to India, he asked kids he encountered what they would want if they could have anything in the world. Adam expected answers like the ones he gave when he was a kid – a big house, a fancy car, or the latest video games. However, the most powerful answer came from a little boy who was a beggar on the outskirts of the city. The boy’s answer was simply, “I want a pencil.” That was it. Why? He wanted to learn and go to school. He believed the pencil was the thing that would get him there.

Adam used his near gift as an accountant to work in corporate America and learn the skills, build relationships, and earn the money needed to express his true gift and purpose: to serve and teach those young kids. Adam is now the founder of Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit group that has built more than 300 schools and changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children around the world. He used his near gifts to elevate his life so he could use his true gifts for the betterment of others.

Adam’s story is a reminder of the words from the Persian poet, Rumi, who says:

“You were born with potential. You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams. You were born with greatness. You were born with wings. You were not meant for crawling, so don’t. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly.”

Peace and Blessings,


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