We all seek happiness. We all have gifts. Everyone has needs. Using your gifts for the needs of others creates incredible satisfaction in life and work. Satisfaction is the highest form of happiness.
All of Us Seek Happiness
Blasé Pascal, the genius mathematician who became a philosopher and theologian, saw a common thread in all people.
“All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man.” - Pascal’s Pensées
Consider your own recent decisions and actions. What was your motivation?
Our biggest mistake in our pursuit of personal happiness is that we seek temporary happiness over long term satisfaction. In our daily work, we often face complex scenarios where our unique gifts are a perfect solution for the presenting needs of our customers, coworkers, neighbors, and friends, yet we can be hesitant to deploy what is needed. We often lack the confidence to deploy the influence or action that could most benefit everyone involved, instead we often choose what is easier – believing the easy way out will make us happier. As leaders, we must learn how to use our gifts for the benefit of others.
All of Us Have Gifts
Everyone has been given unique gifts by God. Gifts include talents, skills, passions, behavioral makeup, and experiences.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. - 1 Corinthians 12:4-7
Do you know what gifts God has given you?
The best way to discern your gifts is through prayer and experience. God – through the Holy Spirit – often confirms our gifts by giving us joy and energy while we are using our gifts.
Patrick Lencioni and the Table Group have created an assessment (and a book, soon to be released) that helps people understand which gifts give them energy and joy.
Six Types of Working Genius - From The Table Group
“Everyone has natural talents and gifts when it comes to work. As it turns out, there are six different types of gifts that are required of any group of people trying to get something done. Two of those six types come naturally to you, meaning that you are good at them and that they give you energy and joy. We call these your areas of Working Genius. Two of them are neither natural nor energizing for you, and most likely, you aren’t particularly good at doing them. We call these your areas of Working Frustration. Finally, two types fall in between; you can do them fairly well, maybe even very well, but you don’t derive great joy or energy from them. These are your areas of Working Competency.” - Table Group
- Wonder - The gift of pondering the possibility of greater potential and opportunity in a given situation
- Invention - The gift of creating original and novel ideas and solutions.
- Discernment - The gift of intuitively and instinctively evaluating ideas and situations.
- Galvanizing - The gift of rallying, inspiring and organizing others to take action.
- Enablement - The gift of providing encouragement and assistance for an idea or project.
- Tenacity - The gift of pushing projects or tasks to completion to achieve results.
I highly recommend this assessment. We have been using it to help people at The Center and it has been incredibly beneficial to many people, including me.
Gifts Are For Needs
We must know who needs our gifts, how to use our gifts, and when to use them. Michael Davis, who spoke on gifts at The Center said, “It’s not a gift unless we use it to serve the needs of others.” And, theologian Albert Schweitzer said something similar a century ago, “At the intersection where your gifts, talents, and abilities meet a human need; therein you will discover your purpose.”
At The Center, we use this venn diagram to describe how to best deploy our gifts in the workplace:
Meeting Needs In Love
It is no coincidence that the Apostle Paul caps off his explanation of spiritual gifts in his letter to the church in Corinth by explaining how no gift or action has value if it’s not done in love (1 Corinthians 13:3).
Jesus often talked about loving our neighbor and meeting them in their time of need. Our work should be no different. The purpose of our work is to be a witness for all that God has done for us. To honor and glorify God by doing the work He gave us to do. This is The Way to respond to His great mercy, by offering our life as a spiritual sacrifice (Romans 12:1) — this is the work we are made to do.
When we know we are doing exactly what we are made to do — glorifying God and serving others — we are greatly satisfied.
Join us this week as we discuss how to use our gifts for the good of others.
If you would like to take the Working Genius Test email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you a link.