Speak of talents, and my mind goes on a scanning spree into the different compartments of my brain. There are quite a few things that I keep doing on a regular basis apart from my daily schedule (which can be categorized as talents), like – writing (poems, articles on select topics, lessons from life experiences and from my meditation of the verses of the Bible), drawing and counselling (apart from my job as a Counsellor).
Talent as we know, is natural. It is not learned. Anything that is learned becomes a skill – which is acquired. We are made to discover our talents by people around us, by circumstances that surround us or we just hit upon a talent out of nowhere. Whatever be the mode of discovery, the knowledge of the presence of a talent always boosts up the confidence. And if it is recognized by people around, nothing better than it!
When I was studying in the seventh grade, there was organized a Debate Competition in our school on the occasion of Independence Day. As I was good in English, I thought to participate. Not knowing what exactly to speak, I sought the help of my father. My father knew the nuances of English well and so he framed a beautifully worded write-up for me. I learnt it by heart and recited it several times by myself and before my mother.
On the day of the competition, I was confident that I would be praised for the content. The time of the competition came, my name was called out and I went forward to face the judges. I started well, but no sooner had I spoken the third sentence that I was stuck. I went blank as to what the next sentence was! I stood there and thought and thought with hardly anything coming to my mind. Somehow I managed to conclude with a line or two and went back to my seat.
I felt so embarrassed because my teachers had expected much from me.
I never showed any inclination for Debate Competitions or public speaking after that (though I often enacted lead roles in plays organised in school, college and church). I loved (and still do) writing, and that was it.
I love my job as a school Counsellor since it involves dealing with people one on one and helping them to see hope in seemingly hopeless situations. Three years back, the HOD of the English Department in the school where I work, asked me to speak at the staff orientation. I refused flatly. No way was I going to speak in front of a 100-odd staff, the Principal and the Management members – most of whom are very senior to me! But, she wouldn’t hear a ‘NO’. She just handed me the book from which the topic was to be taken and walked away.
Left with no choice, I prayed hard for God’s touch and guidance as I prepared for the talk.
The day for the staff orientation came. With trembling legs but with a confident smile, I went up on the stage. Before me, there were four speakers already. I was the fifth speaker and was expecting the patience of the audience to have worn out by then. (Generally, the staff feel that such orientations are routine affairs and don’t show much interest to follow the speaker – waiting impatiently when it would end.)
I started speaking using a Powerpoint Presentation and several video clippings on the topic (which none of the previous speakers had done). God granted me the eloquence to go on effortlessly and I even ended up exceeding the allotted time limit! When I concluded, there was a resonating applause from the audience (which was not given for any of the previous speakers). Thanking God for His help, I stepped down from the stage to the appreciative compliments from the audience. And then the MC applauded from the stage – ‘A Leader is Born’ (it was an orientation on ‘Leadership’). After the orientation was over, I was surrounded by people who said that they were so blessed by the fifth session and were wishing that it would never end.
I had not expected this at all. I had prayed hard that I should be able to speak well enough not to fumble or become blank. But, the response of people overwhelmed me.
This was the new beginning! I have spoken at many more orientations and conducted several workshops for staff, students and parents of students and been the MC at functions (at my workplace and at other places).
It was a hidden talent indeed!
Something which had never been given enough attention to be nurtured, sprang up in due time.
And there is no turning back. Now, I neither feel embarrassed nor shy from public speaking (of course, with a bit of preparation).
I am grateful to God for using my workplace to help me discover this latent talent and resolve to use it for the sake of His glory.
It is never too late to uncover the talents that lie deep down you. If you are a person who hasn’t discovered your talent yet, get to the task right now. It’s never too late!