Discover Your Own Giftedness and Its Potential to Change Your Life

Your divine design, as expressed in Ephesians 2:10, is more knowable than you realize. You are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which He has prepared in advance, that you should walk in them.

With the right tools, courageous dialogue, and an experienced guide, you can accelerate progress in articulating your life vision and aligning your life vocation.

Auxano Founder Will Mancini and pastor Dave Rhodes have developed those tools.

The books referenced in this SUMS Remix are just a taste of what possibilities exist as you explore what you were created for.

Once you read through this “appetizer,” read more about how you can and should know your Life Younique: your God-given identity and your God inspired dreams. Then, you can discern and design the practical next steps to get there.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – The Person Called You by Bill Hendricks

“I can’t stand my job anymore.”
“I feel like I have no direction.”
“What should I do with my life?”

Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Barna Group finds that 75% of Americans are seeking ways to live more meaningful lives. And among practicing Christians, only 40% have a clear sense of their calling.

But there is a way to find and follow your purpose.

For over twenty years, Bill Hendricks has been helping people of all ages and stages find meaning and direction for their work and for their lives. The key is harnessing the power of human giftedness. Every person has their own unique giftedness—including you! And the best way to discover it is not through a test or gift assessment exercise, but from your own life story. Through this book, find out what you were born to do and the profound difference that insight makes for every area—your work, your relationships, even your spirituality.

The Person Called You is a celebration, exploration, and explanation of human giftedness. Bill describes what it is (and isn’t), where it comes from, how you can discover your own giftedness, and, most importantly, its potential to transform your life.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION – Determine your giftedness

When we hear someone speak of another as “gifted,” we often conclude that giftedness is an uncommon thing, reflected in a few superstar athletes or maybe in the brilliant thinking of Nobel Prize winners. While such people are amazing, giftedness is not for a fortunate few. It is part of the human condition.

Giftedness is not just what you can do, but what you are born to do,  enjoy doing, and do well.

Giftedness is the unique way in which you function. It’s a set of inborn core strengths and natural motivation you instinctively and consistently use to do things that you find satisfying and productive.

Giftedness is not about what you can do but what you were born to do, enjoy doing, and do well. People can do all kinds of things. But they only enjoy doing certain things. Everyone has something they gain energy from doing. The giftedness is not in the activity itself, it’s in the person, in their sense of joy or fulfillment or accomplishment.

Giftedness is fundamentally about your behavior. It is found in what you do and how you do it. Not so much why you do it. Giftedness is a phenomenon; it just is. Your behavior – the consistent pattern of what you actually do and how you do it – tells me what your giftedness is.

Giftedness is about behavior, but not just any behavior. You many do any number of things, but certain activities have a way of focusing your energy in a highly engaging way. If you examine those moments carefully, you’ll discover a consistent intertwining of strengths and motivation in your behavior.

If giftedness is about motivation combined with ability, it follows that it is also about satisfaction combined with productivity. When you get to do what you’re motivated to do, you feel satisfaction. And if you do what you’re actually able to do, you tend to be productive. You actually accomplish something.

Your giftedness never fundamentally changes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop as a person. Your giftedness is your most powerful tool for personal and professional growth in two ways: 1) you can develop your gift yourself; and 2) you can use your gift to acquire skills and cultivate competencies that you did not come by naturally.

Bill Hendricks, The Person Called You


Find time in your schedule to spend a few hours disconnected from your job and other responsibilities. Turn off your mobile phone, and any other distraction.

Think back over you life to a time when there were certain moments or activities that captured your interest in some compelling way. Perhaps you found yourself lost in the activity you were so involved in it.

You accomplished something – maybe not anything impressive to others, but something significant to you. When you think back to that activity, you recall it as an energizing and satisfying event. You might even want to do it again.

That activity had two important criteria: 1) you were actually doing something; and 2) you took satisfaction from the activity.

The satisfying activities of your life described above hold valuable clues as to what your giftedness is all about.

To more fully understand what you are doing when you’re in the sweet spot of your giftedness, complete the online version of the author’s “Discovering Your Giftedness: A Step-by-Step guide found here.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 80-2, released November 2017.


Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

> >Purchase SUMS Remix here<<




How to Find a Mentor

The where of finding a mentor is obvious: potential mentors are all around you – you just have to know how to look.

It would be easy to assume that a potential mentor would stand out like a polished gem among dull stones, but that is not often the case. We tend to assume that mentors have to be unusually successful, or prominent, or brilliant, or outstanding in some other way. But the truth of the matter is that many of the best mentors are not spectacular – just solid. They may not stand out in a crowd, but they are out there.

Howard and Bill Hendricks, writing in their book “As Iron Sharpens Iron,” give the following three practical suggestions for finding a mentor:

Pray for a Mentor

We may not take prayer seriously, but God does. As you pray for a mentor, you’ve got to trust God, even through you cannot see any prospects on the horizon. Searching for a mentor is one of those times when, as Scripture says, you have to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Start Looking

Look around you – potential mentors are moving in and out of patterns of life all the time, but you’ve got to look for them. Open your eyes. Perk up your ears. Look and listen to what is happening around you. Understand the Marks of a Mentor, and make a list of who has those marks.

Make Contact

Once you have identified a potential mentor, connect with them. Ask them out to breakfast or lunch; talk with him; pray with him. See if the relationship takes hold; find out if there is a chemistry there. Mentoring develops out of that kind of initial contact. Here’s a pointer on stimulating some interaction: most of us respond to people who respond to us, particularly in the area of our expertise. We feel more comfortable talking about that. So starting there can help break the ice in a relationship. The point is not to try to manipulate someone into a relationship he doesn’t want, but rather to be informed about what matters to him.

If you want to find a mentor, think like a mentor.

(from a prior series on Mentoring, while I am away on vacation)

The Marks of a Mentor

The simplest definition of a mentor is a person committed to two things: helping you grow and keeping you growing, and helping you realize your life goals.

Okay, but what does a mentor look like?

Howard and Bill Hendricks’ book “As Iron Sharpens Iron” has been a great reference for my understanding and development of the concept of mentoring. Their intentional strategies and practical suggestions are a gold mine for anyone looking for a mentor, or to be a mentor. A great place to start? The 10 Marks of a Mentor:

A Mentor Seems to Have What You Personally Need

Whatever your mentoring objectives are, the only person who can help you achieve them is the one who has already developed those capacities himself. It’s a basic principle of spiritual nurturing: you cannot impart what you do not possess. So, look for a mentor who actually has the goods, not just one who looks good.

A Mentor Cultivates Relationships

An effective mentor has to be willing to give of himself to another human being. He must be capable of establishing an maintaining a relationship. Otherwise, he will have difficulty attracting anybody, despite the considerable value of what he may have to offer.

A Mentor is Willing to Take a Chance on You

A mentor is going to make a certain investment in you – an investment of time, energy, emotion, trust, and other resources. Investments always involve a measure of risk. This is as true in mentoring as anywhere else, because there are no guaranteed outcomes to the mentoring process. As you seek an “investor,” you have to ask yourself: Is this person willing to run the risk with me? Or is he so risk-averse that he’ll never give me a chance?

A Mentor is Respected by Other Christians

A mentor should be respected by other effective Christians. Among the qualifications for church leaders are that a man be “above reproach” and “respectable” (1 Timothy 3:2). As you consider a potential mentor, you need to conduct something of a background check on the prospect, particularly if you do not know him personally or have not known him for very long. Ask other people’s opinions, particularly those of mature believers, to indicate whether he is worth the risk.

A Mentor has a Network of Resources

The more extensive a network your mentor has, the better. Mentors can help you reach your life goals because of who they know and what they know. This knowledge base gives them tremendous power to promote your welfare. Your mentor can help you with your needs and objectives by introducing you to people, books, seminars, programs, and other resources that can encourage you in your development. The better the network, the more help he will be.

A Mentor is Consulted by Others

One of the best indicators that a man would serve well as a guide is if he is already serving as a guide to others. The prime candidates are the ones who already have a reputation as mentors. This ability to offer counsel is crucial. It is not wisdom alone that qualifies a person to coach another person, but his ability to communicate effectively and apply his wisdom to the other person’s need.

A Mentor Both Talks and Listens

The issue is communication. Most people think of communication as being all about speaking. But the truth of the matter is that you become an effective communicator by becoming an effective listener. Without question, communication is a two-way street, involving both speaking and listening. But of the two, listening is by far the harder to learn. A good mentor is a good listener. If you bring him a problem, a question, a comment, an idea, he will more than likely help you figure it out and run with it, rather than regale you with his own polished presentation. Mentoring is not about your mentor displaying his brilliance; it is about you as a protégé learning to step up to the next level, so that you can develop your competencies.

A Mentor is Consistent in His Lifestyle

What your mentor does and how he lives will have a far greater impact on you than anything he says. In fact, you may forget 90 percent of what he says, but you’ll never forget how he lived. There is no substitute for a person of consistent Christ-like character. He doesn’t have to try to snow you with words – his life is the most eloquent sermon there is. You want a person who is progressing toward maturity. That means a person who is authentic – as honest about his failures and weaknesses as he is realistic about the things he has going for him.

A Mentor is Able to Diagnose Your Needs

All of us have blind spots, areas of which we are unaware. That’s why we need people who can diagnose our developmental and spiritual needs. When you’re out of your depth, you need a competent person who not only can see that something is wrong, but can figure out what it is and how to fix it. A good mentor has the analytical ability to distinguish between nagging symptoms and underlying diseases.

A Mentor is Concerned with Your Interests

Looking for a mentor requires a moderate dose of healthy self-interest. We’re talking about your life and your development. Therefore, you are looking for someone who will champion your best interests. Ideally you want a person whose greatest joy is to see you succeed. If you succeed, he succeeds, and if you fail…well, he’s there to pick you up, dust you off, and get you back on your horse.

As you evaluate people according to these ten marks of a mentor, be realistic: you are going to find that almost every person falls short in some way. In other words, you will never find the perfect mentor. The point of this list is not to disqualify as many people as possible, but the urge you to aim high. A mentor can have a profound influence on you life, so it’s worth finding the most qualified person you can.

You’ve got a checklist in hand – now where do you find a mentor?

(from a prior series on Mentoring, while I am away on vacation)

The First Mentor

As we move through this thing called “life,” don’t we all wish we had a guide, a coach, a model, an advisor?

We’re looking for a mentor.

When the Greek warrior Odysseus went off to fight in the Trojan War, he left his young son Telemachus in the care of a trusted guardian named Mentor. The siege of Troy lasted ten years, and it took Odysseus another ten years to make his way home. When he arrived, he found that the boy Telemachus had grown into a man – thanks to Mentor’s wise tutelage.

It is from this ancient Greek story that we now commonly speak of a mentor as someone who functions to some extent as a father figure (in the best sense of the word). A mentor is someone who fundamentally affects and influences the development of another, usually younger, person. Over the next few days I want to explore the concept of mentoring and its application in ChurchWorld.

Howard and William Hendricks, writing in their book “As Iron Sharpens Iron,” introduce their concepts on mentoring this way: At their best, mentors nurture our souls. They shape our character. They call us to become complete persons, whole persons, and by the grace of God, holy persons. The Bible puts it this way: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Have you been sharpened against the whetstone of another person’s wisdom and character?

A single question to get you thinking about this mentoring concept:

Who are the people who have helped make you who you are today?

(a prior post on Mentoring, while I am away on vacation)