There is an often repeated story of a farmer in South Africa who was inspired to discover a great diamond mine and make his fortune. Since he was tired of farming and he was barely eking out a living, he sold the farm and spent the rest of his life looking for the magical diamond mine that would change his life and make him a wealthy man. Unfortunately, he never accomplished his dream and he died discouraged and penniless. The man who bought the farm had a different experience. One day while walking on his property, he discovered a rock that he found very appealing and he decided to place it on his mantel as decoration. A friend was visiting and noticed the unusual rock. After examining it, he asked the owner if he knew what he had found. When told that he had no idea, the visitor informed the farmer that he had discovered a very large diamond. Once the diamond was examined and cut, it was found to be one of the largest diamonds in the world. It turned out that the farm was a diamond mine just waiting to be discovered and the farmer became a very wealthy man.
Who do you identify with in the story? Are you the first farmer who is always looking for success somewhere besides your own backyard? Does the grass always look greener on the other side of the fence? Are you overlooking treasure within your reach? Or are you the second farmer who recognizes (with the help of a friend!), appreciates and develops the treasure within his own world?
I talk with many people who tell me they don’t know what their gifts are. Usually however, our gifts are right under our noses. We don’t have to sell the farm and travel the world to discover them. Here are some great questions to ask yourself to help you discover your gifts:
• If money were no object what would you spend most of your time doing?
• When you ask your family or friends what your gifts are, what do they say? What do you consistently get compliments on from others that know you?
• What were your dreams when you were a young child or a teenager? Can you find a common thread that is relevant to what you can develop now?
• When you are at a bookstore or library, what books are you attracted to? When you surf the web, what sites do you look at the most?
• Think of all the times you’ve said, “I’d really like to……………” List all those things.
• What do you want to be your legacy? When you think about what you want people to say and remember about you when you die, what are the key parts?
Putting all this together helps you discover not only your gifts but your mission statement. Your mission statement should be a concise view of how you want to share your gifts with the world. It should focus your energy in a positive direction and move you toward achieving your goals. This isn’t just busy work here that we’re discussing. This is life work and it’s important because the tragedy of the first farmer isn’t just that he failed to recognized the potential right under his nose. The tragedy is that he failed to develop and share his much needed gifts with the world. When we look outside ourselves for the new best scheme for success or wealth or happiness we not only deprive ourselves but also the world of our gifts and talents.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.