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The Healing Power of Gifts

I believe we all have unique gifts that are meant to be discovered and used to better the world around us. These gifts or “superpowers” come easy for us, bring us joy, and can inspire others. My good friend Kennith Thomas has an incredible story that demonstrates just how pivotal tapping into your passions and utilizing your gifts can be, especially during tough times. Leveraging his talents helped Kennith overcome challenges in his own life and completely transformed his son Christian’s situation as well.

Kennith is a gifted dancer who opened his own studio at a young age. Dancing has been more than just a hobby or passion project for him; it has provided a livelihood for him and his family. However, like most of us, Kennith’s path has not been without major obstacles and challenges. 

When his son Christian was born with Down syndrome, Kennith’s world was rocked. This life-altering diagnosis would have sent anyone reeling, questioning their abilities as a father and what the future held. On top of his diagnosis, within Christian’s first few months of life, they discovered he also had leukemia. As a new father faced with his child battling cancer, Kennith describes the news as earth-shattering. 

While Christian underwent treatment, confined to the hospital to fight the cancer, Kennith relied on his anchoring faith and talent for dance to carry them through. Although Christian had low muscle tone, common for those with Down syndrome, and wasn’t even able to sit up on his own yet, Kennith tirelessly danced with his ailing son. 

This not only lifted Christian’s spirits enough to crack the occasional smile but also slowly helped strengthen his muscles over time. The nursing staff was amazed as Christian hit important physical therapy benchmarks quicker than medically expected and within five months of aggressive treatment, Christian had defeated the odds by dancing himself all around the hospital room as his cancer went into remission. 

I love stories like Kennith Thomas’, where people use their innate gifts to completely transform challenging times. We all face hardships in life, but how we respond to them is what truly defines us. Kennith said, “Whenever you’re in a challenging situation, use your gift to make the shift.” He took his talent for dance, his personal superpower, and rather than let grief or fear overwhelm him when his son became sick, he unleashed this gift to radically change the trajectory of his entire family’s story. 

Unearthing Your Gifts  

So, how do you discern what your innate gifts are? Kennith believes your superpowers most likely align with what brings you joy. I would expand and say – what energizes and fulfills you? What do people often compliment you on? What skills seem to come naturally? As children we are drawn towards activities we inherently excel at. As we grow older, these gifts may be buried under society’s expectations or our own unrealistic standards. However, the most empowered and successful individuals are those who identify their talents and incorporate them into their personal and professional lives.

If you feel unsure of what your innate talents are, here are some steps I recommend to unearth your superpowers:  

  1. What did you love doing growing up? Were you an artist, athlete, musician, writer? Oftentimes childhood activities we excelled at point to natural abilities.  
  2. What do people often ask for your advice or help with? If your family, friends, or coworkers constantly compliment a certain quality or defer to you for certain skills, take note.   
  3. Pay attention to what energizes you. When do you lose track of time? When you are using certain strengths, you are likely to get in a flow state.
  4. Take inventory of your unique experiences. All of us have overcome challenges and gained wisdom that shapes our perspectives. How can this differentiate and add value to the spaces you inhabit?   
  5. Get feedback from others. Ask colleagues, managers, friends, partners, or even take a strengths finder assessment to reveal where people perceive your superpowers lie.

The sources of our gifts are multidimensional and deeply personal. As you move through this process of self-discovery, tune your focus inward. It’s about unearthing your passions and unlocking your potential.  

Unshakable Faith in Our Gifts 

Now more than ever, we need individuals willing to lean into their talents and leverage them to make a difference. Kennith shares that his dream for his son Christian, now cancer-free, is for him to become an “unshakable force” that brings “joy, love, and inspiration” to all those around him. 

Even through Christian’s intense health and developmental challenges, his spirit shines through. Kennith shared a powerful example when they were at a restaurant, and Christian noticed a quiet man sitting alone at a table. Christian approached the stranger, rubbed his knee, and gave him an uplifting hug, somehow intuitively knowing he needed emotional support in that moment. They later found out the man had just lost his dog earlier that day and was in need of some comfort.

Despite Christian’s special abilities and traumatic early years, Kennith believes his son’s superpower is providing comfort and joy to those who need it most. 

Gifts Beyond Perceived Limitations

Like all of us, Christian has spheres of influence where his talents can be cultivated for good. We must move beyond perceived limitations or notions of normalcy to tap into the wellspring of gifts those with special abilities have for bettering the world around them. When we operate from this mindset of abundance over deficiency, seeing capabilities rather than disabilities, we claim an unshakable faith that we all have exactly what the world needs.   

What is currently challenging or hurting in your life that the gifts of those with special abilities can help you shift or heal? I challenge you to welcome diverse perspectives, surround yourself with positive people from all walks of life, and help create spaces where all gifts can thrive. You never know what incredible transformation might unfold.

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