How to identify your gifts when you feel you have nothing to give

As much as I can write articles, record videos and tell you in person that you have gifts, it doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t believe me. So how do you identify your gifts when you feel you have nothing to give?

In listening to people who have the courage to tell me they have nothing to give I hear a common theme – they feel they aren’t good enough. Now the root of the problem is different for everyone – perhaps they have been told they aren’t good enough. Maybe it’s imposter syndrome at play or it could be our old friend, perfectionism. Whatever the underlying cause, it’s holding you back.

I hear things like:

  • “I have nothing new to add”
  • “No-one will want to pay me for what I know”
  • “Everyone knows this already”
  • “I can’t compete with [X] – they are amazing”

We do it all the time. From informal conversations at the park or over a coffee to (not) sharing our opinion in a professional setting. We allow our limiting beliefs to stop us from sharing our knowledge, our experience, our gifts.

What if you were good enough?

I know that I harp on about it but the key to removing those limiting beliefs is confronting it.

  1. Is it true that you….know nothing? That everyone else knows more/it? That no-one will want your skills?
  2. Is it helpful to believe these things about yourself?
  3. If it’s not true or helpful, then what do you want to do with that belief? You have three options, keep it, amend it or destroy it. Obviously, I would recommend you go all out on the latter.

The thing is, there are always people to look up to you, to them you are amazing. They might not tell you because they too are suffering or they can’t find the words.

Taking action

The second thing to do with feeling that you can’t do something is to take action. This doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, it can be the smallest thing. Simply starting. I must warn you however that it’s unlikely to stop your mental dialogue! You will probably still feel like it’s a mistake, that you can’t do it and/or that you won’t succeed. Taking action doesn’t magically make your fears disappear. Take action anyway and start confronting the limiting belief.

When you make the first steps you find that it becomes easier. You might find that someone thanks you for sharing your story or asks your opinion another time. You might find yourself thinking things like:

  • “This might work”
  • “I might fail but I might not – let’s see what happens”
  • “This is only a thought, it will pass”

None of us needs to know exactly where our actions might lead, all we need to do is trust that it might lead somewhere better. I would ask you to trust your intuition, but you might not feel like you can. That’s OK. In which case, I would encourage you to find someone who supports you and ask their opinion. Share your worries, examine them and choose what you’re going to do with them.

We often believe that we need something in order to take action – more time, more money, more whatever. The truth is that we don’t. You can start with what you have, you can start where you are. In fact, you have to start there – it’s what you have and it’s all you need.

Identifying your gifts

Your first step might be to identify your gifts. Remember, you might feel like a fraud – do it anyway. As you do it, you will gain clarity and learn what you have and what works for you. In case you are stuck, here are some gifts you might have:

  • Kindness – where have you been kind to yourself and others recently?
  • Listening – where have you made time to really listen to someone else?
  • Resilience – when have you learnt from your experiences?
  • Sharing your story – you never know who you might help by ‘just’ sharing your experience
  • Skills – what skills/qualifications do you have? (even if you haven’t used them for a while)
  • Creativity – from being able to solve problems to getting creative and making something beautiful, where do you use your creativity?

Other things you might think of are how you would describe yourself positively – motivated? determined? Or alternatively, ask others how they would describe you or what they think your greatest gift is.

Write a list and refer to it as often as you need to in order to remind yourself that you are good enough and that any thoughts which say otherwise are untrue.

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