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2.) What are you inherently good at? What abilities have always been easy for you? What skills and talents are you naturally gifted at? List all of these regardless of how insignificant they may seem.

For example:

Nora is a junior partner in a downtown law firm in a diverse metropolitan city. She's intelligent, ethical, and consistently empathetic with her clients. One of the professional goals that Nora identified when she began therapy was to become a senior partner in her firm. While her performance was consistently superior, Nora admitted that she still lacked some of the confidence that was needed to get to the "next level."

As we began to identify the various steps she needed to take to achieve her goal, Nora (quite by accident) identified one trait that made her stand apart from her colleagues. Nora had an inherent talent for strategic problem solving.

As Nora and I began to explore the occasions when had used this gift, it became clear that she had completely downplayed her ability by convincing herself that others in the law firm could also do the same. After we deconstructed several of the situations in which Nora had found herself offering strategic solutions, she began to recall positive feedback she had received from both the firm's partners and her colleagues. While she had tended to disregard their praise, Nora began to think that perhaps others did not have this problem-solving ability. For the first time in her life, Nora began to think about this ability as something that was special to her. Remembering her colleagues' positive comments and having senior partners acknowledge her valuable contribution helped Nora realize that this was indeed something that she in particular could easily offer the group. As Nora used her gift with confidence, she became more visible among the managing partners, and others increasingly looked to her for help. Sharing her gift essentially helped Nora highlight her value to the firm and take another step toward her goal of making senior partner.

3. What do others appreciate most about you? (Often others appreciate aspects of our self that we might not see as valuable). Recall the praise and compliments that you are consistently given. Record this. What are some of the consistent themes that could highlight a hidden gift?

For example:

Perhaps you have always found it easy to make others laugh. Your ability to create spontaneous humour out of situations helps to remind those around you to take themselves and life a little less seriously. Because of this inherent ability, others seem to gravitate toward you. They enjoy your company and frequently tell you that they feel better just being around you. Your gift is your incredible sense of humour.

Look for common themes as you examine your answers to three questions above. Know that each of us is blessed with more than one gift. Remember that each of your gifts (no matter how small) serves an important purpose in your life. As you identify your particular gifts, think about how you have used your gifts up to now. How are they helpful?

Notice what feelings you experience as you consciously use your gifts. Recognizing your unique abilities as gifts is the first step toward living your life's purpose.

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