A couple weeks ago, I heard the story of the talents, from the Bible. A story I’ve heard countless times in the past. But for some reason, this time…it hit me differently than it had before. Perhaps you’ve heard this story…
A master gives each of his 3 servants a number of talents. The first man is given 5 talents. The second man is given 2 talents and the third man is given 1 talent. They each take them and later on the master comes back to get an accounting from the 3 men…he comes to settle debts. The first man returns with the 5 original talents given and has doubled his talents. He took what was given and used it to the fullest. Full stop! This is where it hit me.
Every other time I’ve heard this parable, I’ve focused on the 1 talent man who brought back only the 1 talent he was originally given. He’d buried it out of fear and therefore had nothing to show for the master’s investment, but the initial 1 talent. The parable is about faith over fear. The parable is about living out the best life you can with the talents you’ve been given! But for some reason it’s this five talent man that got me trippin’. The speaker asked if we’d ever known a 5 talent person. He asked if we felt we were a 5 talent person. And I had to answer…no. I’m not a 5 talent person. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have many talents, maybe even 5 talents to speak of. It means that I often choose to watch 3 episodes of Seinfeld over pursuing my dreams. It means that I may put something in my calendar that I really want to do, but when the day comes to do it, sometimes I chicken out.
For a very sad example: One time I went to a party in New York. There were going to be “people” there. Important “people”…”people” that I could meet and network with. That party had the potential to be a banner moment. I got dressed up…took a cab to the location…paid the cab driver…walked to the door of the restaurant…looked inside at the all the “people” and turned around and went home. Hating myself every minute I didn’t turn back around and use those talents to the fullest. This is one example, but there are countless times when I’ve buried my talents.
I want to be a 5 talent person. The speaker who was telling this whole story talked about meeting Billy Graham, a 5 talent man. No matter what you think of Billy Graham…the man used what was given to him. He spent his life using his talents. And when the speaker met Billy Graham, he knew he was in the presence of a 5 talent man. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t days when Billy Graham walked to the window of the party, looked inside and turned around. Every single one of us have days like that, no matter how many talents we have or how successful we are at using them to the fullest.
But the days you let fear win cannot outweigh the days you kick fear’s ass to the curb.
I want to be a 5 talent person. I want someone to meet me one day and say…”Damn, she’s 5 talent!”
So…how do I do that? How can I become a 5 talent person?
Step 1: Dig up those talents
The 1 talent man buried his talents for safe keeping. He risked nothing. He played it safe. So, step 1 has to be digging up that buried treasure. Unearth the things that you said “yeah, I like doing that, but I’ll never make money doing it.” Or “yeah, it’s fun and all, but I need to grow up and settle down.” For some reason, the world finds it easy, normal and productive to tell people what to do with the talents given to us by the Maker of the Universe. But is there only one way to use a talent? Is there only one path to happiness? Shouldn’t we all be given the space and bandwidth to figure out our own paths?
Step 2: Figure out what your talent is
You can’t do anything with it if your talent is buried in the ground. Get out that shovel and dig that shit up! Put your talent on paper. Make a list. It’s ok to not have 5 yet. You’ve only just gotten the first one back. This thing takes time! But you need to know what’s in your arsenal before you can start firing warning shots. You have to know what you’re working with before you can get to work.
Step 3: Expand your reach
Now that you’re getting comfortable having your talent out of the ground, get it out in the world. Take those #babystepstogreatness that my friend Renita is so fond of. It’s not enough to unearth your talent. It’s not enough to make a list regarding your talent. You have to actually use the thing. What have you always wanted to do with that you-shaped gift? Have you wanted to start an Etsy shop? Have you wanted to take a class learning how to code? Have you wanted to start a book club or a movie club or a knitting club? Have you wanted to learn how to change the tires on your car? Have you wondered the names of constellations?
We are living in a time when access to knowledge is unlimited and the gatekeeping that used to be associated with getting yourself out there is gone. If you want to be a fashion designer, you have to put needle to cloth. So do that thing. Let the “world” know what you’re working with. The world doesn’t mean fame and fortune. It means the people you know. Telling the “world” may be as intimate as telling your spouse, your partner, your best friend or your mom. Let the cat out of the bag, even if it’s on a small scale. You don’t have to have a million Instagram followers to be out there. So work with what you got!
Step 4: Multiply those talents
It’s true that iron sharpens iron. And once you’ve unearthed and released your first talent…the one that was hardest to dig back up and activate, you’ll soon discover that there are more talents waiting for you…just around the riverbend. It’s amazing what can happen when you start to tell the universe what it is you want. The universe responds. God responds!
These are things that I’m still working on myself. So if you’re having a hard time unearthing your first talent and starting down the road to a 5 talent life, just know…you aren’t alone. I’m writing this for myself as much as I’m writing it for you, gentle reader! We are in this thing together. And maybe just like me…you were more concerned with becoming the 1 talent guy, rather than moving heaven and earth to become the 5 talent guy.
Shouldn’t we be shooting for the stars rather than side stepping our fears? I want to be that person that sparkles with imagination and faith! It’s a lot easier to let fears keep you from digging up the buried treasure, fam. But what are we sacrificing in the process of staying safe? I’m tired of that life of fear and regret. It’s time to activate step 1!! It’s time to get digging! Dig like your life depends on it…cause…it sort of does, doesn’t it?!