Your Talents - Where Do You Use Them?

By: Hammond Iles on May 16th, 2016

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Your Talents - Where Do You Use Them?

Giving Back  |  Legacy Planning

Sharing your talents for a moment, even on a New York city bus. . .

Although Agapi graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts with many accolades and awards, she went through years of auditions without getting the parts she wanted.  As time passed, she became discouraged and began to question her skill.  In her book Unbinding the Heart, Agapi Stassinopoulos tells about a life-changing epiphany she had on a New York city bus. Here’s what she experienced:

“After auditioning for a six-hour play adaptation of many Greek tragedies combined, and not getting a part -- not even in the chorus -- disappointed and distraught I got on the bus to go to my singing lesson on the Upper West Side when I started to notice the faces of the other passengers. Each one of them looked burdened, their worries the only thing showing in their expressions. As I looked at everyone around me, I was filled with compassion, and the understanding that their disappointments were probably much bigger than mine. If only I could bring some joy onto this bus, I thought. And then I realized that I could. I could act right here! I could entertain these people for a brief moment. I could do a song and dance right here and now! 

And with that thought, I broke down the barriers. I reached out to the woman next to me, struck a conversation, and asked her if she liked the theater. We started talking about our favorite plays and characters, and I told her that I had just performed the part of Saint Joan for an audition. She knew the play, and we had an unexpectedly wonderful conversation. In my enthusiasm, I said to her, "Would you like me to do Joan's monologue for you?"

"I would love that," she replied.

The first words of the monologue are: "You promised me my life, but you lied. You think that life is nothing but not being stone dead." As I said the words, the woman's face started to change. I could see that she was being touched; I was being touched as well, sharing my talent for a moment, on a New York bus.

By the time I finished, the woman on the bus had tears in her eyes. As she got off at her stop, she thanked me. I felt elated. I felt a release, as if a door had opened that I didn't even know was there. Here I was thinking that I had this wonderful gift that was not being recognized by the world. And then it dawned on me how many conditions I had put on my gift. That moment of sharing without an agenda of getting a part wasn't about the outcome but about the joy of touching others and giving unconditionally what was mine to give. And that brought with it a tremendous sense of fulfillment.

 Your gift may simply be making a beautiful meal for someone down the street who is sick or has suffered a loss. The phrase "To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived" crystalizes giving.”

Agapi’s story reminds us that we are blessed with unique talents we can share.

Often we’re so busy, focused on everyday life that we forget. Sharing your talents brings joy to others and enriches your life. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Take time to think about your talents. Are you using them to your full potential?
  • Do you have a talent, like Agapi, that you placed “conditions” on how you use it? Do you use your talents to benefit others?
  • Take time to thank people for the talents they share with you. Appreciate the many blessings that make us uniquely different so we can complement and support each other.

Source:  Unbinding the Heart: A Dose of Greek Wisdom, Generosity and Unconditional Love by Agapi Stassinopoulos

Since 1984, individuals and families have placed their trust in Hammond Iles Wealth Advisors to provide objective, personalized investment management, financial planning, and wealth management. Greg Hammond, CFP®, CPA helps families LIVE MORE, GIVE MORE® and build a living legacy. (800) 416-1655.