"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
December 26, 2012
Knowing and Growing Talents
by Kathryn Grant

Looking at my family and friends, I’m amazed and thrilled at the diversity of their talents. My brother-in-law, John, has artistic gifts. My niece, Kaitlyn, is a creative storyteller. Among my friends, Kathy is an able editor; Dave is a skillful web developer; Rani is a woman of great courage; Steve is spiritually in tune and quick to serve others. My young friend, Kaydee, whom I see each week in Primary, is one of the most loving people I know.

The Lord has given talents to all of us (D&C 46:11) with the admonition that we are to improve upon them and gain other talents (D&C 82:18). Talents bring joy to ourselves, to others, and to our Lord who gave them to us (Matt 25:23). However, it’s not always easy to see our talents, and if we don’t know what they are, how can we develop them?

Sometimes we don’t recognize our talents because our definition is too narrow, only including “obvious” things like musical or athletic ability. But talents can be quiet and subtle, taking place off the stage and out of the limelight. Seeing the good in others is just as much a talent as a beautiful singing voice.

Other times our talents seem so ordinary to us that we don’t recognize them as talents. I had a life-changing experience when my friend, Liz, gave me a book called Now Discover Your Strengths, which included the StrengthsFinder assessment. I was shocked to discover that a quality which I was already aware of, but which I’d sometimes seen as a liability rather than a talent, was my top talent according to the assessment! Identifying this talent and working to develop it opened doors for me and continues to bring me great satisfaction.

The challenge for this week’s column is to set aside time one day to do an inventory of your talents. You will most likely be surprised at some of the gifts you uncover, and you’ll probably see ways to develop them further.

How can you identify your talents? Here are some ideas:

  • Pray and ask the Lord to help you recognize the talents He’s given you.
  • Read your patriarchal blessing, looking specifically for talents, abilities, or qualities that are mentioned. Look also for any advice given for developing these gifts.
  • Reflect on activities that bring you a true sense of satisfaction or fulfillment. Chances are you have talents in those areas.
  • Ask several trusted friends or family members what talents they have noticed in you.
  • Take a talent assessment such as the one mentioned above.

As we develop the gifts the Lord has given us, we can look forward to reporting back to Him one day and hearing His words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21.)

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About Kathryn Grant

Kathryn Grant is a user assistance professional with a passion for usability and process improvement. She also loves family history and enjoys the challenge and reward of building her family tree.

As a child, she lived outside the United States for four years because of her father's job. This experience fueled her natural love of words and language, and also taught her to appreciate other cultures.

Kathryn values gratitude, teaching, learning, differences, and unity. She loves looking at star-filled skies, reading mind-stretching books, listening to contemporary Christian music, attending the temple, and eating fresh raspberries.

Kathryn teaches Sunday family history classes at the BYU Family History Library, and presents frequently at family history events. For more information, visit her Family History Learning Resources page

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