TALENTS | Discovering Your Talents

I have no idea how I responded to her question, that put together lady interviewing me for a possible job. “So Jess. Tell me, what are your strengths and talents? What are you good at?” I probably said something along the lines of, “I don’t know.. but I’m willing to learn anything.” (Awesome answer, right?! I know.. I should totally have gotten points for that!) I do remember my mom giving me a smile from her chair across the room. A confident, you’ve got this smile that I probably returned with a frantic help me! look. I also remember thinking about my strengths and talents for quite some time after the interview ended. I seriously had no idea what I’d call my strengths or talents. (Sound familiar?! Then you are most definitely in the right spot!) I didn’t even know where to begin with defining them. Like I mentioned in my last post, I needed someone to just lay them out for me. “Hey Jess, you’re really good at x, y and z.” (When my best friend proof read this for me she nicely commented, “Hey Jess! You’re really good at the a,b,c’s..” Well thanks for that, Tips!)

Like I was, you might be wondering how to find your strengths and talents. Will they just happen by chance? One day you’ll be doing something and it’ll “slap” you in the face. Oh hey! I’m actually really good at this! It very well may happen that way, if you’re all good with waiting for that moment to happen. I’m not. I’m too impatient for that. Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat! Lucky for me, and you, there’s way we can figure out what our strengths and talents may be. (Are you happy dancing at the thought of that? Cuz I am. And nobody likes to dance alone..)

There are many things to consider when trying to figure out what your strengths and passions are. You can start by listening to your “inner voice” and reading in between the lines. More than likely there are things that cause you to day dream and lose track of time; things that you will always find yourself thinking about or smiling over. So what are they? What brings a smile to your beautiful face? What make you lose track of time? What do you day dream about, all day e’ry day? What’s one thing you’d do without getting paid for?

Another way to figure out what your strengths may be is to take a step back into childhood. There may be things that you really enjoyed doing as a child that you no longer spend time on due to not having the time, money or other reasons. Did you know, I used to spend hours and hours behind our old Windows 98 computer, writing all sorts of ridiculous stories? Yep! It’s true. My parent’s probably thought I was crazy but I didn’t care! I’d dream up characters and scenarios and time would slip by as my fingers flew across the keyboard (96 words per minute, folks! That’s where it’s at!), designing the world of a fictional girl and her friends and family. At some point the computer stopped working and my story writing stopped along with it. I started writing in journals instead and eventually that dimmed too. Now looking back, I can see that all those hours spent behind the computer was because I was actually somewhat decent at it. I’d like to think I have a way with words, at least when it comes to writing. (I know, I know.. there I go, tooting my own horn. How dare I, right? *rolls eyes*) Speaking, well maybe not so much! (Gotta bring myself back down a notch or two haha) So would I call writing a talent of mine? Yes, ma’am!

Once you’ve honed in on a list of what you think may very well be your strengths and talents, there are questions you can ask yourself to check if they really do belong on that list. Has it been present throughout much of your life? Do others see it? Do you feel energized when you’re living that way? Does this come naturally to you most of the time? Even in hard times, does it usually come through somehow? Does this really fell like the core part of who you are? Chances are, if you can confidently say yes to most or all of those questions, then it more than likely really is a strength or talent of yours.

It’s easy to think that our strengths and talents should come easily to us; that something you were born to do shouldn’t take a ton of work. That’s not the case. Talents and strengths always take discipline and work, just like any job. You have to work at your strengths and build your talents. Someone amazing at painting (ahem, Jess VD) isn’t born amazing at painting. (She’ll probably argue with that haha) They may have an eye for it, a passion for it, a drive and desire to do it.. even a certain talent at it (let’s face it, some people are a whole lot better at painting than others! The same can be said for all sorts of things, really!) but if they don’t put in the time and the work then that talent won’t become anything more. You need to put in the effort, time and the hard work in order to finish that painting. These strengths and talents are usually present through out our lives but can be enhanced with training and experience.

I want my heart, passions, talents and strengths to be the most beautiful things about me. I want that for you too, sweet girl! So I challenge you to think about it; think about what your strengths, passions and talents are.. and start to think about how you can use those things to not only better yourself but to also better the world! Because we can make a difference! We will make a difference! We are forces to be reckoned with and we’ll show this world how truly beautiful and amazing our talents and strengths can make us when we whole heartedly embrace them! Go get it, girlfriend!

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TALENTS | We All Have Them!

She looked perfectly pulled together in her dark jeans, cream top and navy blazer. Aren’t those people great? I’m not one of those people. I never feel like I look pulled together! And that was definitely the case that day. I looked like I had just ran through a wind storm.. which I probably had. We do live in Southern Alberta after all! Good start to this job interview, Jess, I couldn’t help but think as I tried to pay my frizzy curls down to look somewhat presentable. Oh the joys of curls! Amen? Amen! We each took a seat on either side of a small table and she gave me a warm smile. Ah well, she’s smiling! Maybe this won’t be so bad.. I told myself, glancing down at my clammy, clenched fists. The job interview progressed quite well, considering my unprofessional appearance.. That is, until she asked me about my strengths. “So Jess. Tell me, what are your strengths and talents? What are you good at?” Gulp! A normal question to be asked during a job interview, and yet it was a question that terrified me (and still does at times) and made me sweat all over again. What were my strengths? Why had I never thought of this? Do I even have strengths? Am I talented at all?!

Friends, why is it so hard to talk about our strengths? Why is it so hard to even acknowledge what our strengths are? It’s like we think it’s selfish or boastful to talk about the things we’re good at! You think you’re good at that? How dare you toot your own horn, you conceited person, you! Oh common. Worse though, sometimes I think we’ve never even considered the fact that we, Miss Ordinary Plain Jane, could possibly have any strengths at all. We do have strengths though! Everyone does. It’s like collecting oysters and cracking them open, searching for the pearl. We know they’re there, it’s just a matter of finding them. Just because you may not have found your talent or strengths yet, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

You know, I think sometimes it’s so much easier to let someone else bring out those strengths; to look at you and say, “You know, Jane, you’re really good at this and that.” Don’t you agree that some how it’s easier to embrace our strengths when someone else points them out? The thing is we can’t always rely on others to point out our strengths. Sometimes it’s up to us to figure out what they are.

So what is a strength? The dictionary calls strength a good or beneficial quality or attribute of a person or thing. It also describes talent as a special or natural ability. A capacity for achievement or success. ”A good or beneficial quality.” “A natural ability.” I love that those two definitions highlight the goodness of these things. Strengths and talents aren’t something we need to shy away from! They’re not something we need to be embarrassed about, or something we need to feel bad about admitting. They’re good. They’re natural. They are things we should embrace and get excited about! They’re unique to us, darling!

The world only gets one you, sweet girl. You with your gifts and smile. You with those things you do, so amazingly, so uniquely. So take your place! Take your chances; take this moment to know that you’ve got something to offer. Something brilliant. Something mind blowing. Something different. Something “ordinary”. Something good and right and true. The rest of us need this something; need you. Oh, you think that what you have to offer is no big deal? Anybody could do it? Anybody can be the way you are? Nope! Not true! There’s just one, irreplaceable you!

One day you’ll realize these things. You’ll see how much beauty you have inside of you, darling. How much capacity, light, strength and talent you have. And one day you’ll realize how many people’s lives you could influence, could perhaps even change. If you stop comparing your strengths and talents with those of other people.. if you stopped ignoring your strengths and talents. One day you’ll realize these things and you’ll really truly embrace yourself. You’ll live your life, using your strengths and talents, to be everything you were ever meant to be! I get so excited about that for you! I can’t wait for that to be true for you!

Posted in Strengths, Talents, written by Jessica Slingerland | Tagged , Leave a comment


Encouraging Others & A Challenge


I think we can all agree that we’ve had moments in our lives where we’ve felt incredibly alone; even if it was just momentarily. Where it’s felt like whatever we were facing, whether it was a task or just day to day life, we were doing it alone. It’s not a fun feeling- I can say that with certainty. That’s why I wanted to start this community of girls.. I wanted to take that feeling away from everyone and make sure that they knew, without a doubt, that they’re not alone! They are loved, they are cared for, they’re supported and whatever they face, we’ll do it together!

I am so incredibly thankful to each and every one of you! I have no idea where this dream is going to take me or you but I have this gut feeling that it’s going to be something amazing and that together we are going to change each other’s lives! Because let’s be real- we could all use a little more friendship in our lives. We could all stand to form bonds with girls that will be life changing and that will be lifelong lasting! And we could certainly all stand to step a little outside of our comfort zones and meet some new people.. or maybe I’m just talking to me ;)

Today I opened my Instagram account and noticed I’d been tagged in something. I went to check it out and found myself reading the sweetest, most encouraging comment from a past client. “You are working hard to inspire and shape the next generation of women. You take amazing photos and I believe in your mission, you will do great things!” I’m not sharing this to toot my own horn, by the way, although we all need to do that every once in a while ;) I’m sharing this because this comment, out of nowhere, completely made my day and gave me the encouragement to keep on going. No, raking leaves isn’t fun.. no, pulling weeds isn’t fun.. no, wondering if anyone will show up to these events after I put in all this hard work definitely isn’t fun.. but the encouragement gave me that extra push to realize that it was worth it! It also made me realize how little I do this for others. I rarely take time out of my day to make someone else feel special and loved through simple acts like an Instagram comment. How hard is it to comment on someone’s picture and let them know that you think they’re beautiful? How hard is it to send someone a little note letting them know that you believe in them? How hard is it to send a quick text letting someone know that you’re thinking of them or that you love them?

I think we live in a world where everyone finds themselves to be so “busy” with their own lives that we forget that there’s others out there too. And if we’re being fair, it is a lot “easier” to just focus on our own day to day things.. to focus on our own challenges and dreams. But how much more amazing could our lives be if we took the time to encourage and support others? If instead of working on our dreams alone we helped others with their dreams and they in turn helped us? I can only imagine how much happier and how much better our lives would be if we all took a little bit of time to do this- to help out others and to encourage them.

Here’s where the challenge comes in! I challenge you all to take some time out of your days this week, whether it be 3 minutes or 20, to encourage and uplift girls around you. Send them a text, say something to them at school, write them a little note (hand written or on Instagram), leave a comment.. whatever you choose to do, do it authentically and from your heart. I can promise you that it will make a difference!

And speaking of encouraging and uplifting- I just want you to know that I believe in YOU! I care about YOU and I can’t wait to see where our futures take us.. because I just know that if we band together and help each other out we’re going to do amazing things! :)

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