Gifts versus Strengths

Published on
March 21, 2024
Time to read: 
Hands hold a gift, near a large dark stone that reads Strength
I love this image, because it shows you reaching out into the world with your gift, while your strength is nearby.

You’ve probably heard people talking about their strengths, things that they’re really good at. I prefer to focus on gifts, which go beyond strengths. Gifts are something that you're good at and you enjoy doing!

For example, I can write excellent meeting minutes, but I don't enjoy it. So, that would be a strength, but not a gift.

I love sharing stories. I particularly enjoy leveraging my gift with words to help you figure out how to achieve your unique definition of success. That makes my strength with words a gift.


The fact that folks and organizations pay me to share stories (speaking and training gigs) means that I’ve created my very own ideal job.


There's a number of ways that you can identify your gifts.


It starts with identifying your strengths:

What are you really good at?

What do your friends, family, and colleagues tell you you’re good at?

What do various personality dimensions tests tell you you’re good at?


Reflect on your strengths, which do you love doing, or aspire to improve upon?


We can hone our gifts through practice, coaching, and mentoring. Being willing to learn more about your potential gifts: things that you find easy to do, things that people compliment you on, things that bring you joy, can help you find ways to leverage your gifts into paid work.

We all have gifts.


We all have things that we're good at doing that we enjoy doing. Often people don’t realize their gifts. For example, you may think to yourself "It's really easy for me to throw a fabulous themed birthday party. I love watching people have a good time, planning decorations, and crafting gift bags for everyone."

That's a gift, I don’t have.


I'm the mom who would invite my offspring’s friends over for a birthday party, give them plain brown paper bags, access to crayons, markers and stickers and say, "Decorate your giftbag." Then I’d put out a bunch of candy with scoops and say, "Fill your gift bag," because I just don't know how to do that while making it look pretty.


That’s why I enjoy collaborating with folks who have different gifts than mine. Together, we can create memorable events.


Let’s switch the focus to work.


In an ideal job, you're getting paid at least a living wage to use your gifts, and you’re being supported in areas you don’t enjoy, or aren’t good at.


Realizing that it is okay to get paid well, to do things that I love to do that are relatively easy for me, was a game-changer in my business.

I’ve been formally mentoring folks through my workplaces and professional associations since 1999. When I started my business, several people suggested I offer life coaching services. I resisted, for a number of reasons, which I won’t go into here.


In 2017, a colleague insisted on paying me for career coaching for a family member. This helped change my mindset and made me realize that I could offer career coaching, or as I like to call it, being a Thought Partner services, for folks undergoing a career change.


As someone seeking a job, it's okay to go out and find work in an environment where your gifts are appreciated and valued and where you're paid well.


Sometimes we have gifts that are recognized, but our efforts are not appreciated.

There are also work environments where bosses will hold you back because they want to leverage your gifts, but they don't want to reward or recognize you, and they only pay you the bare minimum. If you're in that kind of work environment, then it's time to look for a different employer!


That being said, it’s easier to find anew job if you’re working, so I suggest starting to search for your next ideal job, in your spare time.

Call to Action.


I can help you identify the ideal employers for you. Read my blogs, follow me on LinkedIn, or book a virtual chat (here) to learn more about what it’s like to work with me as your Thought Partner!