Knowing Your Unique Gifts

Comments (20)

When Bill became my client he had a very successful recruiting business but he could see the business environment was changing. He felt that he was not using his natural gifts effectively in his business and he wanted some help in identifying what he could do with those talents that would provide him with more fulfilling work.

The one characteristic that separates the ordinary worker from the extraordinary one is that the great ones know themselves very well and use their special talents to make the work better for themselves and others. Bill was on the right track. He wanted to uncover what he was naturally good at and then find a way to use those gifts in his work.

Why is it that we tend to focus on improving our weaknesses instead of looking for our strengths and using them to our advantage? What I am suggesting is that if you work at getting better at something, work on what you are good at (It's usually what you like to do too!) and forget about working on improving what you have no desire to be an expert in.

In Bill's recruiting business he needed to have excellent phone skills since most of his work was done by phone. But Bill knew he needed the excitement he got from being face to face with people. If he had stayed in his recruiting business he might have taken courses on telephone sales techniques... not something that excited him.

We get a lot of "guidance" encouraging us to perfect our weakest skills. From our first days in school our teachers are critical of anything less than perfection in reading, spelling and arithmetic. That carries over to our adulthood when that inner voice continues to tell us to "do it until you get it right" even though it is a struggle.

We all however have skills that we do easily. Great leaders, entrepreneurs and managers know themselves well enough to know what those skills are and use them in their jobs. According to Kenneth Tucker in an article for the Gallup Management Journal, "The best managers succeed because they have an acute awareness of their own talents, they understand how to use those talents intentionally to motivate and develop their direct reports, and they maximize others' performance by helping them identify their greatest talents and turn them into strengths."

In her book, Use What You've Got and Other Business Lessons I learned from My Mom Barbara Corcoran, Founder of the real estate company, The Corcoran Group, says her mother told her, "If you don't have big breasts, put ribbons on your pigtails." She says, "I didn't have a big chest but I did have a nice personality, a great smile and the gift of gab. All I needed was my mother's cue to begin using them to my advantage. That was my first lesson in sales."

According to the Kenneth Tucker article, "Most people are unaware of their talents." Are you aware of yours? Some managers are really good at identifying the strengths and talents of employees. You are lucky if you work for one.

If you work alone or have a manager who can't help you, here are a few ways to identify your talents. Ask four or five friends or co-workers what they see as your talents. You'll get some common themes as you review their answers. Another approach can be done in a group. Each member is given a blank piece of paper that someone tapes to that member's back. Participants are instructed to write some positive characteristics of that person on the member's paper. Everyone ends up with a list of their positive traits.

Another group that I was part of took the time at one meeting to collectively verbalize and write down the strengths and talents for each member. As you use one or all of these methods begin to think about what is said and sit with it a bit. Eventually you will know what fits you.

Often people use assessments to learn about themselves. is a website with lots of different tests. If you like assessments you'll love this site. One that might help you to identify your talents is called the "True Talent Test". Use caution when reading the results of any assessment. You are the best judge as to whether the assessment is accurate or not. None is 100% accurate so accept what you agree with and disregard what seems wrong.

Finally another way people learn how to identify and work with their talents is to hire a coach. A coach can give you the support you need to try some different ways to identify your gifts and/or sort out all the input you get from trying the other identification methods.

After doing several of these exercises my client Bill actually decided to try working for a radio station both in their marketing department and on air. Here he could easily use his gift of being a natural marketer. It turned out to be the kind of work he really loved.

Take Action:

1.) Try any or all of the methods I suggested to find your gifts. If you already know them think about how you are using them in your current job. Can you find other ways to use them in your work and in your life?

2.) Read Use What You've Got and Other Business Lessons I learned from My Mom by Barbara Corcoran. One of 10 children Barbara's mother was able to identify each child's unique talent. Barbara says she chose to believe her mother that her gift was creativity and went on to use that gift in her real estate business.

About the Author

Alvah Parker is a Business and Career Coach as well as publisher of Parker's Points, an email tip list and Road to Success, an ezine. Alvah is found on the web at She may also be reached at 781-598-0388.)

Copyright 2004 all rights reserved. Permission is granted to reproduce in its entirety including copyright and contact information.


Mike L 18.09.2010. 22:05

How to choose unique and unusual gifts? Would like to know how to find unique gift. Something not ordinary.
Not just where to buy, but how to come up with ideas for unique gifts.

Mike L

Admin 18.09.2010. 22:05

It is all about people - their life, expectations, hobbies, habits, and wishes. It is not about gift ideas for men, gifts for woman or Christmas gift ideas. It is about who is the person, what this person likes or wants. For example, if someone collects US coins, getting him the coin he may need would be the great gift. But you will have to spend time to find out what coin he is missing, not just to give him any one.

To find best ideas for gift you want to look at people's habits, their work, what they like and don't like to do. Try to make it a habit to record people's comments or wishes when they made it.


hallabang 02.10.2009. 07:07

What is the unique gift for buying the Haiti seed on FarmVille? What is the unique gift for buying the Haiti seed on FarmVille?

I know the sweat potato sucks if you have access to peas, but I was wondering what the unique gift is.


Admin 02.10.2009. 07:07

It's a Sweet Seeds flag, you can see the picture in here :

yeah it's kinda dissapointing, though it's unique :P


Needing An Answer - Help 16.11.2009. 15:31

What is a unique gift to get someone like my mom, wife, or sister that is not an off the shelf Christmas gift.? I want to know does anyone have a mom, sister, daughter, freind or family member that your looking for a special or unique gift. They have all the normal gagets ,and I need a gift that is special more unique or would be considered special.

Needing An Answer - Help

Admin 16.11.2009. 15:31

nice personalized gift ideas on this site


Ali 24.11.2012. 16:42

What could I get my friend for a unique christmas gift? My friend group is doing secret santa and I have my bestfriend. I really want to get her a unique gift. I don't mind whether it is home made or bought I would just like to buy her something interesting that I know she will remember. Does anyone have any good ideas?


Admin 24.11.2012. 16:42

Really unique gifts are the best, something they?ll always remember forever and cherish. Maybe you could get her a couple of things, one handmade and the other bought online? There?s loads of places to get really unique presents online and a ton of blogs out there to help you find the right gift for you to give this Christmas, there?s a really good Deviant Art page I saw the other day which had a load of good ideas on it ( Try to think about different ways of wrapping your present, everyone gets bog standard wrapping paper these days, why not make the wrapping part of your gift? Put the presents in a cute tote bag or wicker basket.

Hope you find the perfect gift for your friend

Happy Christmas


get7imothy 06.12.2006. 15:10

What is a unique gift for a new yacht sailor? My sister is a beginner sailor. (She doesn't own a boat). She races with all men. I don't know much about sailing, but I want to buy her a unique gift. What are some ideas?

Thanks, sailors!


Admin 06.12.2006. 15:10

Two books,the Racing Rules of Sailing put out by U.S. Sailing, and Navigation Rules put out by the Coast Guard. Sailing Boots, Spray Top and pants, PFD.


jaydee 07.12.2009. 00:46

I need unique gift ideas for my boyfriend? I want to get my boyfriend something really nice for Christmas. I want to think of something unique, quirky and something he won't expect. I already know what he wants and I'm getting that, but my question is what are some ideas for unique gifts like maybe things i can make at home?


Admin 07.12.2009. 00:46

I always have a rough time shopping for my husband. Like you, I can always get the one thing that he wants or has mentioned, but then the filler stuff is hard. I found this article this year with some links to specific products on Amazon. I think I might pick a few. (the prices range from a couple of bucks up to like $300, so there's something for everybody.) I really like some of the retro sports shirts that they mention. And, my husband loves to cook and brews his own beer, so some of the stuff in that category piqued my interest too. Good luck!


Lottie 19.10.2009. 10:57

What are the 21 unique gifts on farmville? I'm doing the " not spoiled, Gifted! " ribbon and to get the blue ribbon you need to get 21 unique gifts in your gift box. I have a : goat, goat topiary, goose topiary, banana tree, apricot tree, fig tree, date tree, horse topiary, horse, passion fruit tree, white Jack-o-lantern, lemon tree, pig , date tree, rabbit, elephant topiary and a crate
Someone is sending me a grapefruit tree but I don't know what else is a unique gift. I also have a pink cow and brown cow in there aswell :P


Admin 19.10.2009. 10:57

Anything that shows up in the box is a gift. If you have 2 or 3 or 10 of one kind of gift (like a grapefruit tree), that only counts as one "unique gift".

To get to 21, just make sure you don't remove gifts from the box unless you have more than 1 of the item. And ask your friends to send you gifts that you don't already have.


ashley f 20.04.2011. 17:51

My best friend is graduating from college in a couple of weeks and I'm trying to think of a unique gift.Ideas? Marissa and I have been best friends for about 5 years now, but oddly enough, don't have that many pictures taken together. I'm trying to think of a unique gift, which would be easier with pictures, but any creative ideas of what I could get, or, preferably, make her?

ashley f

Admin 20.04.2011. 17:51

If you guys did a lot together then you can use the ticket stubs and things like that to create a scrapbook with the few photos you do have. Also, if you know what field she's going into, you can buy her the tools she will need for her job. For example (this sounds weird) if she's going into the medical field you could buy her a stethoscope and get it inscribed.


Alex 22.11.2012. 21:07

What do I get my boyfriend for Christmas this year? It's our first Christmas together, he's 18, and I will be soon too. We've been together for about 8 months. He likes everything, games, sports, sex, movies, ect. My problem is that I know he wants a unique gift, and I want something special too. I just can't think of anything unique. What do you think I should get him? Any and all ideas will be welcome.


Admin 22.11.2012. 21:07

Video games
A movie gift card for him to watch his favorite movies, or you could get him some of his favorite movies.
You could get him tickets to a sports game
You could get him a sports jersey of his favorite player
You could give him sex.


IMFragile H 02.10.2008. 21:25

My girl friend is visiting to me I want to give her something nice & unique gift; any good idea please? So far I gave her COACH purses, watches, IPod, Laptop, Perfumes these things generally girls like it I guess ? I don?t know what I should do/give her this time! (I do just because I love her so much) ? Any unique gift idea please?

IMFragile H

Admin 02.10.2008. 21:25

How about mixing it up a little and instead of a gift this time, think up a really cool place to take her and make it something she hasn't done before. If you have trouble thinking up something, go to a business that puts out those flyers for tourists. We all tend to overlook things closer to home.


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