As we discussed in Work It Out, you should seek to find an environment where you can be who you are, not just do what you love. But how do you find out who you really are and what you’re good at anyway?
I often have discussions with people who don’t think they’re particularly good at anything. I’ve learned to choose my battles when it comes to voicing my disagreements, but these are cases where I find it hard to be quiet. Everyone has unique potential. Some of you might be thinking “oh come on, you’re just saying that you over the top, you”.
So what is my ground for making such a claim? Are some people just doomed to keep being stuck, not being excited or particularly good at anything? I’ve grown in a culture that’s not always the best soil for finding one’s true potential. Thankfully, I also spent very important years in a different environment, which showed me that the ground your in matters significantly. Here’s my argument.
A seed usually germinates and sprouts when it’s planted underground. In its beginning stages, it is autonomous in its growth, but after a while, it’s going to need some external nutrients. I believe we as people work in the same way. We can develop up to a certain point in our own strength, but to reach one’s full potential we need external input. We need people who openly encourage and show their belief in us.
Now I talked about having been raised in an environment where finding one’s true potential was challenging. The reason for this is that where I’m from, giving positive feedback is not common. It isn’t, unfortunately, a problem exclusive to Finland. However, as a country it is an environment where positive communication is not at its most fluent. It was only when I moved into a different culture that I started to find who I really was. The reason for that was because there was an abundance of acceptance, love and encouragement: the ingredients necessary for a person to flourish.
The gifting of a person unlocks when planted into an environment of love. When I was encouraged like never before, I was built more than ever before. The encouragement was often undeserved, but it was rooted in people seeing and believing that there was potential in me that I never saw myself. I’m eternally grateful for that. And I don’t intend to merely be grateful. I want to pass it on.
I’m a solid believer that when a person tastes and feels the effect of unconditional love, they are changed forever. You understand the importance of encouraging and building others around you, when you've felt it yourself. People who enjoy unconditional love and encouragement from others are often successful. People who are successful build others around them, because they understand that their success was ignited by people who poured into them. Success isn’t necessarily defined by a person’s position, but rather by the posture of their heart.
Even if you don’t know about any gifts and talents you have, live expectant! Live life knowing that there’s something to be discovered inside of you. Find an environment where people are for you - a place where people call out the best in you. If they have time to joke about you, they should have time to encourage you. Sometimes we need to fight to change our environment. Life is too short to waste time with people who don’t want to see you win in life.
Most importantly, be this kind of person for others. Imagine where we’d be if we took this heart-posture. Imagine all the gifts and talents it would call out. We can’t change people, but we can be the change ourselves. Let’s take this into our new year and go places we’ve never thought possible.