Is it a Skill, Talent, or Gift?

Many times in life we may desire to re-evaluate our path and open to new avenues of Doing and Being in our communities, careers, and relationships. Who we are, how we express and share ideas, and learned knowledge all comes to the forefront.

And it can be confusing!

Is it a skill that we have learned and it turns out that we are talented at it? Or were we ‘gifted’ with this ability, as some friends might say to us?

“Oh, you are so gifted at that!”

These three terms – SKILL – TALENT – GIFT – are used interchangeably in many environments, from the corporate world to a meditation gathering.

When we are changing pathways in life, we must know the difference!

To show up authentically and fully in a new endeavor means that we have spent time in reflection and personal examination of HOW we contribute to the world.

Many of us are looking to ‘follow our Dream,’ and that could indicate a new job, going back to school, starting a different business, publishing books, selling artwork, applying for a leadership position at a nonprofit organization, and so much more.

In order to lean into a new life direction, it is helpful to know the difference between our skills, talents and gifts.

Let’s Start with Definitions


This is something that we develop – we learn to perform – whether we wanted to or not. It may be necessary.

A skill can be in the range of learning to do laundry all the way up to training as an architect in school. As a trained architect, a person would learn basics on how to draw, design buildings, and work deeply in mathematics.

Training as a school teacher, a person would learn tried-and-true methods of how to teach to children. This does not automatically translate to the teacher being ‘talented’ at teaching others.

My example is that I worked in corporate jobs for many years and I was trained to be highly organized and efficient. I learned to be detail-oriented based on the work I was required to complete and I was taught ‘systems-thinking.’

This was not my deep love – my heart was not in this type of work – but I developed the skills in order to stay in that line of work and pay my bills every month.


A talent is where we have learned a skill, such as how to play the guitar, and then discover that we have an affinity for it. With a learned skill that showcases a talent, a person is naturally better at that thing than most others.

Accordingly, the skill level for that person rises quite quickly. The person has a talent (that is noticeable) for that particular learned skill. Also, it is highly likely that there is enjoyment in performing that skill/talent because the person is attracted to the activity, and thus, practices more often.

You may have read about practicing something for 10,000 hours to have mastery over that skill. This is highlighted in the immensely informative book, “Outliers; The Story of Success,” by Malcolm Gladwell. The research of this author shows that we can achieve expertise in a field by putting in (approximately) 10,000 hours of practice.

We find that most people who choose to put in 10,000 hours into something usually have an attraction or a desire toward that activity. But remember, we can become masterful at something and still not be talented at it. Talent is recognized by others and the talented person stands out in their field.

My example is that when I was younger, I participated in nine years of constant vocal training while in school. I was selected for specialty singing groups, performed in musicals and I participated in State competitions.

While I have a ‘nice’ voice, and I certainly have an affinity for singing, my years of developing and practicing a skill did not reveal a great talent! Nowadays, my husband is the lucky audience member for my joyous vocals.


This is innate – we have always had this ability. In fact, it may come so easily to us that we think it is part of our personality. We may take this for granted and not give it much credit.

We have no obligation to use our gifts. It is always there, so it is an OPTION to look for OPPORTUNITIES to exude, share, develop and enhance our gifts.

When we are in full bloom of our gift(s), we can mentor others who carry this gift.

Examples of Innate Gifts

  • Stabilizing Calm
  • Emotional Strength
  • Conceptual Visionary
  • Artistic Eye
  • Healing Presence
  • Compassion
  • Writing
  • Hope/Inspiration
  • Light-Heartedness
  • Idea Architect
  • Oral Communicator
  • Teaching
  • Solution Finder

Gifts are recognized as an over-arching quality or essence. It is not usually a laser-focused skill because a gift may be expressed in many ways.

Our Higher Self, along with Source and our Spirit Guides, will set up a multitude of opportunities for us to express and share our gift(s) during our time on this planet. A gift of compassion, for example, might be expressed in a career as a nurse. But also, it could be expressed in a career as a teacher of disabled students, or as a veterinarian. It would also naturally be noticed by the person’s friends and family and be greatly appreciated.

In other words:

Our gift does not necessarily lead us into one pathway of living.

Rather, it opens many pathways of contributing.

One of my deepest gifts is to be a ‘helper’ and to bring ‘encouragement’ for others. I embrace these gifts by being of service (when it is appropriate) for my family, friends, and spiritual community. This might take the path of sending a heart-felt card to a friend, or writing a thoughtful email, or sending an unexpected gift. I choose to express encouragement in my blogs, my novels, and in my class teaching, as well. I have ‘encouraged others’ since I was a young child.

Make Your List

If you would like to delve deeper into the examination of these three areas for yourself, my suggestion would be:

  • Open your journal or computer tablet and create TWO columns across the page. Title the one on the left ‘Skill’ and the one on the right ‘Talent.’
  • Take your time and write a list down the ‘Skill’ column of skills you have developed over the years. Think of your communications, your thought processes, your physical abilities, etc.
  • In the ‘Talent’ column, right across from each skill, put a yes or no if this turned into a talent, or you feel you are recognized by others for this highly developed skill.
  • Notice if any of the yes areas on your ‘Talent’ list came about from an affinity for the activity, and from many hours of practice.
  • Finally, at the bottom of your page, separate from the two columns, write the word GIFT and list qualities that you feel you have exhibited most of your life. Be honest and be specific. You might have always brought HOPE to others, but not necessarily BALANCE or GROUNDEDNESS.
  • You will likely find that you have no less than 3 gifts and probably no more than 7. Once you have these identified, look back through your two columns above and put a star next to anything on the lists where you now recognize that your gift shines through that skill/talent as well.
  • Write an extra paragraph below your Gifts List on all the ways that your gift is expressed from you in other areas of your life (personal relationships, spirituality, finances, business acumen, home design, nature activities, and more).

You may be discovering now how many wonderful innate gifts you truly give to the world – DAILY!

Another way to discern if it is a gift:

It will feel natural and it will bring you energy to do it.

Through many years of personal healing sessions and classes, I learned the difference between being a ‘helper – an encourager’ and being a ‘people-pleaser.’ The difference is obvious for me energetically. As an encourager or when I am naturally helping someone, I feel LIFTED. It is easy to do. When I am stuck in the icky energy of trying to people-please, I feel drained and it becomes an effort.

How to Grow Your Gift

By recognizing and appreciating your gift(s), it is easier to see when you are LIFTED by it, and perhaps how to bring more of those experiences into your day. Your awareness helps the gift to GROW.

If you are looking to change your career, focus on what is joyful for you, and HOW that lifestyle will be more fulfilling than where you are now. You may still need to develop some new skills for the transition, but the beauty of knowing your gift areas means that you are able to apply these amazing, innate qualities to your new path in ways that are ALREADY fulfilling for you.

Stay in the heart.

Pay attention.

Don’t rush.

Be focused and selective.

Your energy is finite and precious.

Treat it like GOLD. And spend it where you will find the most personal satisfaction.

Your Higher Self chose these specific Gifts for this lifetime. Build skills, allow Talent to exude, and appreciate your GIFTS as the way that your Soul will grow the fastest.

You may find my Soul Journey Courses of interest.

Robin Morlock, Spiritual Alchemist, Intuitive Healer & Teacher, Soul Support Writer

Classes and Sessions to support your Soul Journey; Dreams ~ Soul Journey Courses ~ Spirit Guides ~ Soul Vibration ~ Luminous Consciousness and more.


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