Who Needs Your Gift Now?

WhatToDo(I’ve had a recurrence of last fall’s back injury, and sitting at the computer brings on spasms — perhaps it is telling me something? — so until that improves this blog’s articles are likely to be short, and hopefully sweet. — Dave)

Two great inspirations in my life recently, Dick Richards’ book Is Your Genius at Work? and David Smith’s book To Be Of Use, have produced a third inspiration that lies at the intersection of Dick’s idea of finding your genius, your specific gift, and Dave’s idea of finding meaning in your work through service to others in need. The inspiration is a simple question:

Who Needs Your Gift Now?

Perhaps this is a simpler and more elegant way of suggesting we each need to find or create the job where What We Do Well, What is Needed and What We Love Doing overlap. This, however, would seem to downplay the idea of Following Your Passion, which many self-help books recommend.

Or does it? Is it really unduly idealistic or spiritualistic to think that your gift is more than likely to have emerged, presented itself to you, or evolved with activities that you enjoy, in such a way that this gift is also something you love doing? It seems to me more likely that you wouldn’t yet have discovered, even well on in your life, what your genius or passion or purpose is (because the opportunity to discover them has never arisen — most of us live in affluent nations live remarkably narrow, sheltered lives), than that your genius and your passion lie in significantly different directions.

So rather than starting by searching for or creating that perfect job, that fulfills our passion the way the one we are doing now can never hope to do, perhaps we should instead set ourselves the simpler task of asking ourselves the question Who Needs Our Gift Now?, and then follow where the answer to that question takes us.

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13 Responses to Who Needs Your Gift Now?

  1. lavonne says:

    I found this out by accident, after nearly a lifetime of following my dream only to discover that achieving that dream made me very unhappy. I hit bottom emotionally, and decided that I would feel better by helping others with the only talent I truly enjoy–web stuff, especially creating blogs. For no charge, I’ve created numerous blogs for friends and family, even a local fire department. I’ve helped one friend launch a public speaking career and another, disabled friend get some credibility for her activism. Now I’m starting to make a [very] little money at the thing I most enjoy. Life is good.

  2. Dave — thinking in terms of shorter posts sometimes forces me to get down to the one true thing I want to say. In this case you have outdone yourself. I love the question — Who needs your gift now?Way, way more powerful than, “What’s my target market?”

  3. Nick Smith says:

    Great post Dave. The problem I have with both ‘is your genius at work’ and ‘who needs my gift now’ is that both questions imply we need to seek an answer before our genius can shine – before we can express and give our unique gift to the world. Paradoxically I think its this very seeking (mind activity) that prevents us from being still enough for our genius to shine. IMHO, the key is to ask ourselves a question that our rational, thinking mind and ego cannot answer. For example, if we ask ourselves, ‘How can I be truly helpful?’ and let ourselves rest in the question rather than make any attempt to answer it, then an opening is created in which our ‘true nature’, our genius, the part of ourselves that already knows this stuff can have a seat at the tableIf we’re willing to leave this question open, and not allow our intellect or beliefs to get in on the act, then our intuition/inner knowing can guide our life; our genius/devine spark can shine through into everything we do, and our life from then on can become the living expression of the answer to this simple, open question.Coincidentally when we can put our intellectual curiosity aside in this way our ‘whole world’ has an incredible way of bending to support us. Those who need our gift now find us and our genius shines into everything we do.Thanks for some great writing Dave. I’m new to blogging (http://www.life2point0.com) and your posts have been/are a great source of inspiration to me. Please, please take it easy though. Less is more.

  4. Nick — I almost agree with you. My experience and that of those I work with around genius suggests that we must both engage the intellect AND rest in the question, each at the right time, and do both free of ego. The outcome of that is beyond intellect and intuition, in a “felt sense” which pulls intellect, intuition, spirit, and feeling together in an act of centered knowing that is beyond all of them.

  5. Nick Smith says:

    Hi Dick — Yeah we’re probably closer than we think on this. I guess its easy for semantics to get in the way of understanding when we’re talking about such things. BTW I’m really looking forward to reading your book – not got a copy yet be heard such good things.

  6. Mariella says:

    I have the feeling that an interesting clue to realize if we are dancing with our gift is to take a look at our doing and test if we are worried about the results…. —When our genius is at work….it is at work without us thinking about it… is like a flow for the sake of realizing itself….—Like the commitment of the gift with itself acting through us….Mariella

  7. Nick Smith says:

    Beautifully put Mariella. Strange isn’t it that it’s only when we stop caring about results and are willing to let all things be exactly as they are that our minds can relax and leave the space for our true genius to flow and heal the world. It seems we’ve so over learnt the illusion that we need to ‘try’ that its very difficult for us to get out of our own way and accept that pure intention is everything, and that the doing is not by us but through us when we step back and allow it happen.

  8. Mariella – a second to Nick’s comment. I particularly love this: “When our genius is at work….it is at work without us thinking about it… is like a flow for the sake of realizing itself.” Some people who have come to recognize their geniuses have told me that whenever they feel as though something is missing in their lives, it is their genius that is missing — they are out of their flow. I think that it is not only “for the sake of realizing itself” though. It is also “for the sake of making a contribution,” which takes us back to Dave’s synthesis of my work with David Smith’s.

  9. Jeff Harbert says:

    You hit the nail on the head with this one, Dave. This is very much in line with things I’ve been thinking about lately myself.Suggestion: How about offering a larger, print-friendly version of your circle chart? I’d love to have one.

  10. Dave Pollard says:

    Boy, I wish all the comment threads on my posts were as constructive as this one. Thanks everyone. And Jeff, I will do that soon — I’m going to put the words ‘delusion’, ‘frustration’, ‘joy’, ‘disappointment’, and ‘disengagement’ in areas 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 respectively. I’ll post it in an upcoming article, and also in my book The Natural Enterprise.

  11. Martin-Eric says:

    I think that the gist of the comments is: open the question of who needs your gift or where is your genius ..and dare leave the question open while being out there using what you already know and learning some more. The question is best answerd after the fact and, more often than not, one ends up noticing thta they were capable of far more than what they could ever imagine. Thus, looking back, it always turns out to be giftS, in plural form.

  12. Dave Pollard says:

    Well-said, Martin-Eric.

  13. Yes, Martin-Eric, well said. “Being out there” with awareness will uncover the clues that point to the gift.

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