Celebrate Their Delights
About the Guest
Each person has been put here for a purpose. Unfortunately, many of us don't know what that purpose is. Bill Hendricks, president of the Giftedness Center, a consulting firm specializing in career guidance, offers some practical advice for discovering your passion.
Bill HendricksBill Hendricks is President of The Giftedness Center, which grew out of a consulting practice he founded in 1985. For the last twenty years, he has been helping people make critical life and career decisions based on their giftedness. Bill attended St. Mark's School of Texas and holds degrees from Harvard University, Boston University, and Dallas Theological Seminary. He is the author or coauthor of twenty-two books, including The Person Called YOU: Why You're Here, Why You Matter & What...more
Each person has been put here for a purpose. Unfortunately, many of us don’t know what that purpose is. Bill Hendricks offers some practical advice for discovering your passion.
Celebrate Their Delights
Bob: If you have a son or daughter, who has gone to college, did your son or daughter change majors during the four years he or she was there? Bill Hendricks says if they did, they’re not alone.
Bill: The assumption is that, when somebody graduates from high school, they go off to college and college will help them figure out what to do with their life. This is not a knock on colleges—but I promise you—colleges and universities have no vested interest in helping you figure that out. They assume that the student and their parents have already figured out what they want to do with their life, and they’re simply using the resources of the college to figure that out.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, February 23rd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. What can moms and dads do to help their sons and daughters know how to get pointed in the right direction for the rest of their lives? Bill Hendricks is going to join us to talk about that today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I have to admit—you put this book on my desk and I thought, “Are you trying to tell me something?” It’s called The Person Called You: Why You’re Here, Why You Matter, & What You Should Do With Your Life. I just thought—[Laughter]
Dennis: “I wasn’t asking you.” I think a lot of our listeners deal with this question, right here; and I think they’re thoroughly going to enjoy our guest on FamilyLife Today, Bill Hendricks.
Bob: I don’t need to take this personally—is what you’re telling me. Okay, just making sure.
Dennis: I don’t think so.
Dennis: But I think you’ll enjoy it because I enjoyed it.
Dennis: It’s talking about one of our favorite people—ourselves; [Laughter] you know?—and helping us be effective. Bill Hendricks joins us again on FamilyLife Today. Welcome back, Bill.
Bill: Good to be with you guys again—also good to be with your listeners. Thank you.
Dennis: Yes it is. I want to read a verse. I have all kinds of renditions of this verse—better-stated translations of this verse.
The Living Bible is what I’ll start out with—it’s Ephesians 2:10: “It is God Himself who made us what we are and given us new lives from Jesus Christ; and long ages ago He planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.”
Your work is one of being the President of the Giftedness Center. You’re helping believers / followers of Christ—
Bill: —figure that out.
Dennis: Yes. Try to found out how to be effective. Your book is trying to equip people to determine what their giftedness is.
Bill: Yes. Everybody was put here for a purpose. But you know—the Barna people did a study, just last February. They found out that 70 percent of American adults want more meaning in their life. In other words, they feel like they’re not living a very meaningful life. They know there must be more, but they don’t have it. But you know—even among practicing church-going Christians, 40 percent said, “Oh, I believe that I have a calling, but I have no clue what it is.”
Dennis: People want to know how to best use their lives.
Dennis: But most really haven’t done a careful analysis of their gifts, and what they’re really good at, and where their passions are. Because of that, I don’t think they’re hitting it on the bull’s-eye. Do you, Bill?
Bill: Well, it’s actually just slightly more complicated than that. Even if they did an analysis—for most people, it proves a bit elusive. The reason is—they live inside their skin. So, there are three people, here at the table—how many faces can you see?
Bob: I can see two. I can see you guys—I can’t see myself.
Bill: Right. You can’t see yourself. Yours is the one face it’s a physical impossibility to see. Well, the same thing is true about our giftedness. We live inside our skin—we see other people’s giftedness at work—but we don’t see our own because, when we’re using it, we don’t think about using it—we just use it—it’s natural / it’s instinctive.
It’s like breathing—and so it doesn’t seem remarkable. For that reason, it proves a bit elusive.
What I have the wonderful privilege of doing, in my consulting practice, is holding up a mirror and saying, “Here’s what your giftedness is all about,” and then celebrating it: “Here’s the value.” Now, we can begin to put it to work for what Ephesians 2:10 calls “the good works that God has put you here for.”
Bob: Yes. We should say this book is not your only interest in this subject. You have spent years—
Bill: Well, my whole career in the intersection between faith and work—that faith isn’t just something we practice on Sunday.
Bill: Christ is Lord of all. Therefore, everything I do—whether it’s my work, my home life, my personal life, my involvement in a church, my involvement in the community—Christ needs to be at the center of all of that. Well, when it comes to my own outworking of—we ask the question: “What is God’s will? What does that look like for me?”
We have to consider: “Who am I, as a person? Who has God made me to be?” That’s where most people seem to stumble.
Dennis: You and I have known each other since you were in high school in Dallas, Texas.
Bill: High school.
Dennis: I was working with teenagers back then. This is a life message for you. It really comes out of, really, a period of time in your first 30 years of life, where you were grappling with finding out how this applied for you to do what you’re supposed to do.
Bill: Yes. I’m 30 years of age; okay—many years ago / but 30 years of age—and everybody’s coming to me, saying: “Oh, Bill. You can do anything you want. I mean, you went to Harvard / you have a couple masters’ degrees. You can go any direction you want to go.”
I’m like: “Well, that may be. I just don’t know which direction I really want to go.” It was about that time that somebody very graciously introduced me to the process that I use today to help people discover their giftedness. It was like, honestly, the light turned on:
“Now I understand what it is I’m really trying to do with my life.”
Bob: I think there are a lot of young people today—by young people, I’m not just talking about teenagers—I’m talking about people in their 20s / in their 30s—who kind of aren’t sure what they’re supposed to be doing. You know, in my dad’s day, you graduated from college, you went to work for the company, you retired 40 years later, you got the gold watch, and you went home. It was kind of laid out for you. But there are people, hopping from job to job, still trying to figure out, “What should I be doing?”
Bill: Tens of millions of them. My heart really particularly goes out to Millennials. They’ve graduated from college at a most difficult time in the economy. It’s a very different game from when you and I graduated from college. In those days, the United States was the only game in town, economically-speaking. For these young adults, they’re not only competing with the other 72 million Millennials—
—they’re competing with the hundreds of millions of Millennials from places like China, India, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, on, and on, and on. Now they are a workforce that’s available for capital to invest in. Millennials have a real challenge on their hands. Unless they kind of know what their strengths are / what they bring to the party, they’re going to have a hard time.
Dennis: I’m glad you mentioned this next generation that’s coming up because I want to stop and turn to the listener and say: “This topic—I’m going to promise you something, Mom/Dad, even grandparents, here—you need to know how to help your children understand what their gifts are, who they are, what they’re about. Help be that mirror,” —Bill, that you say we need to be in one another’s lives—“to help our children figure it out,” because we have a lot of young people today, coming out of Christian families, that are lost / they’re in a fog.
Bill: And just to underscore that point of why—let’s call it—older listeners really need to pay attention here: The assumption is that, when somebody graduates from high school, they go off to college and college will help them figure out what to do with their life. I promise you— this is not a knock on colleges—but colleges and universities have no vested interest in helping you figure that out. They assume that the student and their parents have already figured out what they want to do with their life, and they’re simply using the resources of the college to figure that out. I can promise you—of the two-and-a-half million students that we graduate from high school every year / of the million that go off to college—frankly, of all two-and-a-half million—they do not know what they really want to do with their lives.
Bob: They don’t know what they want to major in.
Bill: And part of it is—they don’t even know what the options are. They have such a narrow slice of understanding of what the work world is all about. They know, maybe, what their parent did for work / possibly what their friends’ parents did for work and, then, what they see on TV; but that’s a very narrow slice of the literally tens of thousands of occupations that are out there.
So, they don’t figure it out then / they don’t figure it out in college. They graduate, and they may have a degree. They get two years into marketing because they had a marketing degree / three years—and then they wake up one day, and they go: ”Oh my gosh! I don’t want to do this the rest of my life, but I don’t know what my options are.”
Bob: I remember being in high school—I took a vocational aptitude test.
Bill: Yes. Sure.
Bob: I remember it told me that I should be on a career path to be a worker at the YMCA. Now, over the years, I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs test.
Bob: I’ve taken the DISC test, the personality inventories—
Bill: Right, strengths-finder.
Bill: There are thousands of them out there.
Bob: So, what is this issue of giftedness; and how are you doing something different with the assessments that you’re helping people through than what we’ve all done on the internet over the last few years?
Bill: And all of these assessments, including the one that I use, we’re all looking at the same stuff—which is a human being—and we’re trying to describe a human being.
That turns out to be a more difficult problem than it sounds.
Dennis: [Laughing] You think?
Bill: Yes. And what happens is—almost invariably these things are—first of all, they’re forced-choice inventories—like they have a set of questions / you have four answers, and you have to pick one. That assumes you know yourself well enough to answer that accurately. It also assumes that you don’t have any sort of reason to make the test come out a certain way; right?
And even when you get the results, you’re compared to a bunch of other people. Like in my case, I took the Myers-Briggs. I’ve taken it a number of times. Every time I take it, I come out as an introvert. So, “Have we really described Bill?” “No.” The question is: “How does Bill uniquely do life?” It turns out that the best way to get at that is not really through a test, which is a self-appraised thing, but through story.
Everybody has some stories from their life—what I call giftedness stories—activities that engage their giftedness.
How do we know what those are? The activity proved to be intensely satisfying—they gained energy from doing it.
These can be simple things, like—when you were seven years old, you built a treehouse in the back yard with your brother. You just remember that as a really fun activity—you spent hours working on it. Or, in junior high school, there was one project in history—and you didn’t even like history—but for some reason this battle in 15th century England just really captured your imagination. You went to the library, you poured hours into drawing maps and all this stuff, and then you had to go give a report. You dressed up like a knight, and you went in, and you got a standing ovation when you were done. You got one of only three “A’s” the teacher gave. You just remember that as: “Boy! That was a fun time.”
Everybody has these golden moments, when they’ve gotten to do something that was intensely satisfying. If you tell someone the stories—of how you did those activities, and what you actually did—
--like what we would actually see you doing / the behavior you used if we were there—not why you did it / just how and what you did. You get about eight of those stories—you will discover there are all these dots that connect among the stories.
There is a very consistent—what we call a motivational pattern—that the person comes back to again, and again, and again—that pattern points to the way God has made you. The reason you function that way, instinctively, is because God made you that way because (a) He sees a picture of Himself, in a finite way, doing what He does in an infinite way and (b) because He has specific good works, prepared for you to do, that He needs done in this world; and you’re the perfect tool to go get those done.
Dennis: You tell a story in your book—I don’t want you to tip off who this is about until you give the punch line at the end, but it’s a guy who had a knack for making money.
Bill: When he was a very small child—and I mean like four or five—he had a fascination with numbers. His biographer writes that it bordered on an obsession. He would go to church, for instance, and he’d pick up the hymnal. He would do the math on how long the hymn writers had lived. For some reason, he thought that was really important. When he was a little older, he would sit on the curb at his house and watch cars go by; and he would memorize the license plates. He wanted to see how often certain plates would go by. His favorite toy was what was called a money-changer. This just continued into his teen years. Eventually, he goes off and he studies accounting.
When he was in high school, he came across this book that kind of introduced him to the time value of money and the whole concept of compounding. It was like a snowball in his mind.
He could see that money attracts money, and that it was like a snowball rolling down a hill that gets bigger as it picks up snow. So, he went and studied under the guy that wrote this book. Then, when he graduated, he went to graduate school.
Eventually, he mentored under the guy who was kind of his hero in an investment company in New York City. About a year into it, the guy retired. He said, “I don’t want to live in New York City,” so he went back to the Midwest, where he grew up. He collected about five or six family members—got, I don’t know, $5,000, or whatever it was, from each of them / put in $100 of his own—started an investment fund. The rest, as they say, is history.
Dennis: He pushed the snowball off the top of the mountain.
Bill: And gave it time.
Dennis: Yes. And it’s still rolling today.
Bill: Today Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is a multi-billion dollar venture that people literally camp out on his doorstep to find out: “What does the sage of Omaha have to say about numbers?”
People say, “Oh, Bill—that’s a world-class example.” Well it is, except that Warren Buffett was not world-class when he started out. That’s the great thing about giftedness—we all start out just who we are.
If we lean into our giftedness—whether it’s intentionally or what—most people, unfortunately, don’t lean into it because they don’t know what it is—but if you luck into it/ if life cooperates somehow and you just happen into circumstances that fit that—you keep practicing your giftedness over time, you become the best in the world at what you do. In his case, it just happens to be investments. We call you “world-class” when you’re the best at what you do.
Dennis: So practically—Mom is listening to our broadcast right now.
Dennis: What would you say is the place to start—if you’re coaching a mom, raising the next generation of Warren Buffetts or maybe the female version?
Bill: I have two suggestions. Ironically, the place to start is—not with your kids—but with you. The most important thing a parent can do is to discover what their own gifting is because that gives you a framework, now, with which to begin to understand your children. You see, your children are not like you. Yes, they may look like you and, yes, they may have some traits in common and kind of—but trust me.
In the humor of God, He often seems to put—for instance, a little boy—who is quite precocious, and very conceptual, and likes to do a lot of different things, and seems aimless, and doesn’t really do life by goals—with a father, who’s very goal-oriented. Well, if you, as a parent, understand your own gifting, it gives you a lot more insight into how your child sort of is compatible with you but, also, how they may conflict with you. That’s the first thing.
The second thing then is—as you deal with your youngster—always pay attention to the energy. Giftedness is really a motivational energy, and so you observe and you watch: “What holds their attention for a long time? What do they get fascinated with? What activity do they engage in by the hour and, now, they’re no trouble at all?”
I’m not saying television, and X-box, and that sort of entertainment; but the better thing is: “When they get engaged in a hobby, or they’re out building forts, or they’re outside playing football, or they’re active / they’re actually engaged in something, what holds their attention? What do they suddenly get energized about?” If a parent starts to keep a journal of that stuff—and it doesn’t have to be lengthy paragraphs— it’s just like, maybe, once a day / once every other day: “I noticed today that when Susie’s friend, Amy, came over, she had no problem being focused with Susie for hours on the task they were…”
Just make a note of that. Then, a couple days later, you make another observation. If you did that for ten or twelve years, you would have so much information about how your child does life and you’d start to see some patterns within that.
Bob: The thing you’re describing—I’m thinking back to an interview that we have in our Stepping Up®video series that we’ve done for men, where we talk to Greg Harris. Greg is a dad of five boys—I think it’s five / five or six—and his boys have flourished early in life.
Bob: We went to Greg and said, “So what’d you do to help your boys become men quickly?” One of the things he said was, “I observed ‘What were their delights?’”
Bill: Exactly. That’s it—exactly.
Bob: He said, “When I would see something that would delight them,” he said, “I would put fertilizer and fuel around that.”
Bill: That’s what you do.
Bob: That’s really the same idea you’re talking about here; isn’t it?
Bill: Absolutely. I love that phrase, “celebrating their delights.”
Lord knows we need that. I’m afraid that we’ve gotten into a culture where so many people identify themselves by their pathologies, their dysfunctionalities, and their weaknesses. What we need to do is celebrate true strength. This is not the same as, “Whatever Johnny does is brilliant.” This is—when you see real energy expended and you see the delight in your child’s eyes, that’s the time to say, “You really enjoyed that; didn’t you?”
That may be very different from the delight you take. My oldest daughter is a trumpet player. She’d practice and practice, and loved doing it. That was a tough deal, as a dad, because—[Laughter]
Bob: The hours of practice were not a delight for you; were they?
Bill: No; and in the early goings, particularly, you know?
Bill: But I’ll never forget—one night, after dinner, she’s in there practicing. I’m out at the table still. All of a sudden, she comes out and: “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy! I hit the high “D” above C”!” or whatever it was.
Well, now, that doesn’t ring my bell—I don’t leap out of bed in the morning, cheering over that for me; but I realized, “For her, that was a huge accomplishment.” So, I said: “Man! That’s fantastic! Keep practicing!” I have—I tried to honor that gift. We paid for lessons, we bought trumpets, and we did all the things we could. Today, she’s a professional trumpet player and is the Professor of Trumpet at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and living her dream.
Dennis: I can tell you—from—
Bill: Yes, you were there.
Dennis: —from a memorial service for your dad, trumpet solo—
Bill: —by Brittany Hendricks.
Dennis: —Dr. Brittany Hendricks, granddaughter of Dr. Howard Hendricks, daughter of Bill Hendricks. And the trumpet solo was Be Thou My Vision. I have to say—I wept.
Bill: A lot of people wept—I was weeping. That’s the gift that Brittany has—not only to play the trumpet—but to teach the trumpet. People can see that performance—
—it’s online because I think you guys put the—you certainly put a link to the video that the seminary has on Dad’s memorial service—it’s on there.
Bob: Yes. If folks haven’t seen it, we have the link on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com. They can go to, again, FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link at the top of the page that says “GO DEEPER.” You’ll find a button there for the Howard Hendricks Memorial Service. You can watch it / you can watch Bill’s daughter do her trumpet solo.
We also, of course, have available, in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center, your book, which is called The Person Called You. I hope our listeners, when they go to FamilyLifeToday.com, will get a copy of your book as well. It helps you figure out how to figure out who you are, who God made you to be, and how you can invest your life as a wise steward of your talents and your abilities. Again, the title of the book is The Person Called You. You’ll find it, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com.
Again, click the link at the top of the page that says “GO DEEPER.” You can order a copy of Bill’s book from us, online. Or, if you’d prefer, you can call to order—1-800-FL-TODAY is our toll-free number—1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800 “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY.”
Most of our listeners have heard us talk, at one point or another, about the fact that FamilyLife Today is listener-supported—that we couldn’t do what we do if it weren’t for listeners pitching in to help make it possible with their donations / their financial support for this ministry. There is a particular group of financial supporters that we’ve been focused on during the month of February. It’s our Legacy Partners—the people who support this ministry on a monthly basis. Honestly, it’s this group that provides the base of financial support for the production and syndication costs of FamilyLife Today.
Your support, month in and month out, is so valuable. We are so grateful for those of you who are Legacy Partners.
We’ve had a lot of new families, this month, who have decided to make FamilyLife Today a part of their regular giving. Now, we hope that your first priority, when it comes to monthly giving, is to your local church—that’s where it ought to be—but, again, a lot of families have said, “We’re going to add FamilyLife Today to that list.” We’re thankful for those of you who do that.
If you’d like to consider becoming a Legacy Partner—helping make sure that FamilyLife Today stays on the air in your community / helping to provide this resource for your friends and your neighbors—go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the link in the upper right-hand corner of the screen that says, “I CARE.” The information about becoming a Legacy Partner is available there.
We’ll send you a welcome kit when you sign up; and we’ll keep you up to date with resources, throughout the year, to help strengthen your marriage and your family.
Again, sign on at FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the “I CARE” link; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and say, “I’d like to know more about becoming a Legacy Partner.” We appreciate you joining with us and helping cover the cost of this radio program with your financial support.
And we hope you can be back with us again tomorrow. Bill Hendricks is going to be here again. We’ll continue our conversation about the person God has made you to be and how you can steward your gifts. I hope you can join us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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