Have you ever known someone who was exceptionally good at something? I don't mean like playing the guitar or taking photos, I mean the less noticeable talents like making babies smile or conversing easily with anyone. You can probably think of a couple people who are good at those exact things. In fact, the more you think about it, the more you'll notice that just about everyone is unusually good at something.
For November at IndiAanya, we want to showcase these unusual talents, the things people might know how to do because -- well . . . just because they were born with it, or the things they've learned from grandmothers, mothers and friends, or the things they've learned the hard way (things like forgiveness, patience, dealing with loss). I don't know what every gal is going to write about, but I know the depth and expanse of wisdom represented by my fellow authors on this blog, and I'm excited to read what they have to share.
We also want to invite you to think of the things that you uniquely know how to do, and how you could share those things with others. This is not a fancy form of bragging; embracing the insight and talents God has given us is just the first step in blessing others through them. But if you wonder about what you could possibly know that can bless others, and feel like you draw a blank, here's a little inspiration . . .
"What's your superpower?"
I love asking unusual questions and this is one of my very favourites. Without explanation, people always seem to know what I'm talking about. No one has ever answered "laser-vision" or "I can leap tall buildings in a single bound." They all answer something, however mundane, that they can do well -- better than anyone else, even. And it's impressive how when someone knows how to do something very well, it's no longer mundane at all.Some of the answers I've gotten? "I'm a wizard in the kitchen -- I can make anything from anything", "I get people to enjoy things they don't want to do", "I have supernatural parking-space finding skills", "I can identify who missing items belong to by smelling them." It never fails to surprise and amaze me!
It's an odd byproduct of our school system that we don't usually self-identify what we're good at. Instead, we wait to be told, to see the marks on our report card, or to be validated by medals and ribbons. That means that when it comes to things not honoured by trophies and score cards, we may not have any idea where our talents lie. But, chances are, the people around you know.Take a moment to think through your dearest friends, one by one. You may never have thought of them as "superpowers" before, but you know who has the most fashion sense, or the person who can put everyone at ease, or the friend you always go to for advice. It may be obvious that your writer friend is also a grammar queen but, because you know her, you may also know that she is an amazing prayer warrior and has a keen eye for decorating. She can probably see hidden talents in you, too. So if you can't see them in yourself, ask those closest to you.
All right, I'll admit that having amazing olfactory (it means smelling) skills probably doesn't require much of a process. But for most other things, from baking butterscotch brownies, to letting go of past hurts, there are steps to go through. If you can always find missing keys but just call it luck, you may have never thought about what those steps are; however, if you pause for a moment and pay attention, you might notice that you always retrace your steps back to the last minute you had the missing item.
When I had to give a "How-To" speech for my public speaking class, my friends suggested I talk about gift giving. Till then, I'd thought the process I went through for choosing a gift was exactly the same as everyone else's. But as I thought about it I realised the habits that made me good at choosing gifts, like noticing little things about people and storing them away in my memory, came long before the actual purchase.
I once noticed that one of my professors was always sharing stories of meaningful conversations he'd had with strangers on airplanes or waiters at restaurants. Always at a loss for how to connect with people myself, I asked him what his secret was. At first he told me he didn't know, but later he came back with an easy tool that has stuck with me ever since. (Ask "How" instead of "What" questions, he said. "How did you decide you wanted to be an architect?" leads to a deeper conversation than "What do you do for a living?")
Likewise, when I wanted to grow in gratitude, I asked an elderly lady at my church about the art of writing thank-you notes. She had sent me such a beautiful one for the time I'd spent facilitating a bible study she lead. Her advice was simple and practical, and I have passed it on to at least seven people I know since then. Her superpower became mine, and mine has, in turn, become others'. By sharing what she knew, she's made the world a more grateful place.
Can you make the world a tastier place? More creative? Less bitter? Better organised? The thing I really love about thinking of skills in terms of how we can share them with others is it makes us realise just how much each one of us has to bring to the table. Once you start thinking of your own special gifts and wisdom, it becomes natural to wonder about others'.
I'm still looking for that person who will answer my superpower question with "I can perfectly fold a fitted sheet" -- THAT'S the How-To article I really need -- but maybe that person is YOU.
Photo Credit: Pixabay