Saturday, March 26, 2011

Use Your Gifts

by Bud "The Common Sense Guy" Bilanich

The other day I saw a great tweet on career success that is simple common sense…

Everyone is gifted, but some people never open their package.

I love this idea. We are all gifted in certain ways.

My question to you today is simple. With what are you gifted?

Tweet 60 in my career advice book Success Tweets says, “Take stock of yourself. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Confident people emphasize their strengths.” In other words, they unwrap their gifts and use them.

I saw a great quote on line a while back…

“What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.”

It was from Eleanor Powell. If you don’t know Ms. Powell, she was a well known dancer and actress who appeared in many musicals in the 1930s and 1940s. She was a good dancer, but an amazing tap dancer. In her day, she was known as “the world’s greatest tap dancer.”

I love her quote – it gets at the heart of the tweet with which I began this post. God (or the universe, if you are so inclined) gives each of us certain talents and abilities. It is up to us to take the talents and abilities that we have been given and develop them, make full use of them. This is our gift back to God (or the universe).

Eleanor Powell was given the gift of dance. She began dancing in Vaudeville when she was 11 and was on Broadway when she was 17. She developed her dancing talent to a very high level.

I have been given several gifts – the ability to write clearly, the ability to simplify the complex, empathy and common sense. I’ve worked hard to develop these gifts. I use them to help others grow and develop and to create the life and career success they want and deserve. I believe that I owe it to myself, God and the people who read the career advice I write and those who avail themselves of my career success coach services to keep learning, growing and developing my skills.

That’s why I started blogging. That’s why I write books. Both give me the chance to use and develop my writing skills, and my ability to simplify complex things, like how to create the life and career success you want and deserve.

When you focus on your strengths, you’re emphasizing what you do well naturally. And this important. When I was young, I realized that my strengths lie in my ability to think and communicate. I could always write clearly and persuasively. I wasn’t so good at math and science. For a long time, I focused on my weaknesses – taking advanced placement chemistry, physics and calculus courses in high school. I didn’t enjoy these courses, but I suffered through them – and did OK grade wise too. I did this because in those days, I was the Protestant Work Ethic in overdrive. The less I liked something, or showed a natural talent for it, the more I chose to master it.

What a waste! I should have been spending my time on the things I liked – and for which I have a natural talent. My four years at Penn State cured me of my tendency to focus on my weaknesses. That was the best thing I got out of my time there – the idea that I should focus on and develop my strengths -- the things that came naturally to me, the things at which I could excel because I enjoyed them and they were easy for me.

That’s what you need to do too. Unwrap the gifts you have been given. Focus on your strengths. Build on them. This will help you build your self confidence and create the life and career success that you want and deserve. Don’t ignore your weaknesses – do what you can to improve on them, but don’t make them the focus of your self improvement work. My best career advice here can be summed up in four words: “Focus on your strengths.”

The common sense career success point here is simple. Successful people commit to taking personal responsibility for developing their self confidence and for using the gifts they have been given. They apply the advice in Tweet 60 in Success Tweets. “Take stock of yourself. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Confident people emphasize their strengths. As Eleanor Powell said, “What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.” Ms. Powell took personal responsibility for using her God given dance talent to become the world’s greatest tap dancer, and a vaudeville, Broadway and Hollywood star. What are your God given talents? What have you done to develop them? Commit to taking personal responsibility for developing these gifts. It’s the best way to give thanks for them, to help others, and to create the life and career success you want and deserve.

You can download a free copy of Success Tweets at

Bud Bilanich, The Common Sense Guy, is a career success coach, management consultant, motivational speaker, bestselling author and blogger. He helps his clients succeed by applying their common sense. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Success Magazine, Fast Company and Self Improvement Magazine.

Dr. Bilanich is Harvard educated but has a no nonsense approach to his work to goes back to his roots in the steel country of Western Pennsylvania. His approach to career success is a result of over 35 years of business experience, a lifetime of research and study of successful people and the application of common sense.

Bud is the author of 16 books including Success Tweets: 140 Bits of Common Sense Career Success Advice All in 140 Characters or Less and Straight Talk for Success. He is a contributor to six other books including the recently released 101 Great Ways to Enhance Your Career.

His clients include Pfizer, Glaxo SmithKline, Johnson and Johnson, Abbot Laboratories, Merck, several health care ad agencies, PepsiCo, AT&T, Chase Manhattan Bank, Citigroup, General Motors, UBS, AXA Advisors, Cabot Corporation, The Aetna, PECO Energy, Olin Corporation, Minerals Technologies, The Boys and Girls Clubs of America and a number of small and family owned businesses.

Bud received a BS from Penn State, an MA from the University of Colorado and an EdD (Doctor of Education) from Harvard University.

Bud is a cancer survivor and lives in Denver Colorado with his wife Cathy. He is a retired rugby player, an avid cyclist and a Penn State and Pittsburgh Steelers fan. He enjoys independent film, live theatre and crime fiction.

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