T.D. Jakes has a quote that I’ve pondered over and over again. He says, “If you expose your fear, you bury your talent. If you expose your talent, you bury your fear.”
I asked my 12-year-old grandson if the quote made sense to him. He thought for a minute and said, “The second one is the right choice. It means you don’t care about what other people think. I had to speak in front of my class. I was shaking on the inside, but I was smiling on the outside. I was hiding my fear and exposing my talent.”
He understood the quote perfectly. When we share a principle in a clear and simplistic way, people of all ages will understand.
I remember a day I felt I was at my wit’s end. Auntie Anne’s was only about 50 stores strong. We were adding about 50 locations annually which meant constant hiring, training and lots of traveling for me.
My emotional and professional state were at the brink of falling off a cliff. I remember doing exactly what T.D. Jakes says – I buried my talent and exposed my fear.
My talent was buried because of the requirements that come with a start-up and in that process, I exposed my fear.
I feared the endless demands.
I feared how to franchise in a world of endless legal issues.
I feared so much.
There was a point when fear took its toll. I went into work one morning and collapsed on the floor in a puddle of tears. I could not see my way past the endless to-dos. Fear consumed me!
My siblings who were helping build the business came to my tiny office to help me get myself together. They wanted to take me to a doctor, but I insisted I would be ok. They supported me with prayer and companionship, and within the hour I was able to resume my duties for the day.
I continued with my day and drove to a franchise location to solve more problems. I did not feel like being a business owner that day, but as I’ve come to learn, a successful entrepreneur is someone who will do what others don’t feel like doing.
Let’s go back to the quote by T.D. Jakes. His quote refers to a parable in which ten people were given talents. The parable only talks about three of them specifically.
One was given ten talents, one five, and another person was given only one.
The one given ten talents doubled his investment.
The one given five talents doubled his investment.
The one given one talent buried it and produced nothing.
He buried his talent because he was afraid of taking a risk and losing it all. Fear kept him from using his talent, and the result was no one benefited. Fear will always take the “no risk” position. It’s like quicksand, always pulling you down and taking away opportunities.
His talent never developed or maximized.
This parable is the origin of the use of the word “talent” to mean “gift or skill.” A talent is a unique natural ability and disposition of a person while a gift is an uncanny ability to persuade people to do things they ordinarily wouldn’t. Talent and gift are closely connected and can be used interchangeably.
All three of the people in the parable had the same opportunity. They were given talents according to their abilities.
Back to my meltdown – A few weeks after it happened, my pastor came by the office to see how I was doing. I told him I was overwhelmed! I could not take the company any further, and I couldn’t stop the growth either.
He made a statement to me that changed the trajectory of my personal and business life. He asked me what my gift or talent was? I had no idea.
He then proceeded to tell me he knew what my gift was. He said to me that I was born with it and he’d seen me develop it through the years. I had the gift of encouragement and persuasion. I use it by simply talking to people and caring for them.
I was surprised because that was what I loved doing. I enjoyed being with people, caring about them, and encouraging them in their journey.
I began that very day to expose my talent.
I started doing the things I loved to do and delegating the other things to people who were talented at doing them. It changed my way of doing business and gave me the freedom to use my talent. God gave me a voice to use. It was my natural ability. He gave me a position where I could fully engage my gift and talent.
“If you expose your talent, you bury your fear.
If you expose your fear, you bury your talent.”
When you expose your talent and develop it, you become an effective and productive leader. You become influential in ways that are far-reaching and satisfying. When using your talent, you tap into a resource of fearless energy and become a contributor to society.
How fun and fulfilling it is to maximize your talent!
Whether you have one or ten talents is not the point. The question to ask is, “are you using your talent?” You will feel incredible joy and others will benefit because you exposed your talent.