Over ten years ago I read the book, Do What You Are, by Paul & Barbara Tieger. In it I learned that my personality type was ENFP. Actually truth be told, like all ENFP’s I waffled a little in the beginning, considering all the possibilities. I learned so much about myself, but putting it into practice took me more time than I would like to admit. It was through coaching courses, that I was finally able to make sense of these possibilities and how to dial into the ones that led me to my best work.
As a freelance consultant, it is easy to fall into the trap of doing everything a client wants, but minimizing your roles will actually serve your clients more in the long run. It does the same in every area of your life.
The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind, and I am glad to have landed back at home. Last week, the kids and I traveled to the northern part of the state to visit my family and sadly for me to sing at the funeral of a dear friend’s mother. I studied music most of my life, even continued those studies in college for a couple of years. I am grateful to have a well-developed classical voice, and enjoy the fact that I can express myself in this way. I have not been involved in performance singing since the boys were infants.
After the service, many people came to thank me for singing and as usual one person stopped and said ,”Don’t ever give up on your gift. It is a gift that must be shared. ” I have heard things like this many times, and as an ENFP, it could get me off track. “Should I be pursuing music? Is that the plan for me? Maybe, she’s right.”
The difference now is that I know something that took me years to understand. I am using my gift. I use it in the most intimate way a person can use a gift. I sing when asked by people I love. Sometimes it is a wedding, other times a funeral. I consider it an honor to say goodbye to a loved one in such a personal way. It is hard and wonderful at the same time.
Do you have gifts that are creating confusion? Are you having trouble deciding which one to choose?
After that trip, I was home for a day and then off to a music educator’s conference for a client, sans kids. Although I am a gifted singer, I am not dedicated to that craft. You must be dedicated for hours of practice.
I am however dedicated to my craft of understanding people and wanting to help them. At that same conference, I was able to use the gift that I do practice and craft. It is in strategic engagement, specifically how to reach the people who need what you have to offer. My clients were preparing for a product launch. The product was in development and it is now time to design the launch strategies. I am at my best in these types of sessions. I get invited to many lunches just to begin the spiraling of strategic ideas that spin from one idea to another. There is nothing random about it, rather insightful well researched strategies that admittedly sometimes seem out of thin air.
This is no different than an artist who crafts a painting unsure of their destination, but for me I did not always see my abilities as art. There was a time when all I could see was business. As a creative that might as well have been a curse word. If you could have felt the disdain I had for it, but then something changed. I could see how my gift of strategic engagement combined with my genuine caring for people was a way to serve. It was a way for me to help people.
That is how the work you do changes. If you are like me, and have had people say that you are so talented you just need to pick something, maybe you do. Just not the way you are thinking of it.