Hendricks is president of The Giftedness Center, a consulting firm specializing in organizational effectiveness and individual career guidance” (back cover). He is also acting (interim) executive director for Christian leadership at the Leadership Center, Dallas Theological Seminary. In this practical and hands-on book, Hendricks argues that every person has a set of unique patterns of actions and motivation, what he calls “giftedness.” He explains, “Giftedness is the unique way in which you function. It’s a set of inborn core strengths and natural motivation you instinctively and consistently use to do things that you find satisfying and productive. Giftedness is not just what you can do but what you are born to do, enjoy doing, and do well” (p. 28). Unlike the way “gifted” is often used to describe people with unusual talent or ability, Hendricks insists that the Creator has gifted everyone and that “each of us is meant to be a gift to others” (p. 30). The goal of The Giftedness Center, and of this book, is to help people discover their unique giftedness and make life and career choices in light of that discovery.
In the first section of the book, the author explains what giftedness is, its source, and its purpose. Using engaging stories and a clear writing style, he explains and illustrates this concept. Then in the second, he explains how to discover giftedness. He argues that common assessment tools have limited value; Hendricks prefers to use stories to discern giftedness. He encourages reflection on experiences of activities that brought joy and satisfaction. To the critic who points out that self-reporting is subjective, the author writes: “But that’s exactly what we would want! If you’re going to discover your giftedness, we have to look at the world through your eyes. We have to see what matters to you, what you pay attention to, what you find satisfying, and how you do life” (p. 95). It is not enough, however, to identify giftedness, it must be put into action. A chapter identifies a variety of “fail factors” that hold people back from achieving success (p. 101). A final section applies giftedness to work, relationships, and calling. An appendix provides an overview of the surveys and worksheets available from the Giftedness Center (see www.thegiftednesscenter.com). The reader who desires to put the advice Hendricks gives into practice has the necessary resources to begin the process without making an appointment to meet with a giftedness coach.
Hendricks describes how the discovery of giftedness and this method has changed him. He has years of experience in helping people discover their giftedness. He has expertise and skills like few others; actually, like no other since everyone is uniquely gifted. He writes in an accessible and user-friendly style. He tells stories well and uses them effectively to teach and to encourage, as well as warn and caution. Those who are searching for and struggling to find their niche in this world will find this work helpful. Those who believe they have found that sweet spot, who are doing what they were created to do, will find this book encouraging. Those who are thinking about change will find this book empowering. In short, this is an excellent resource. Hendricks advises that it be read slowly and carefully: “No need to read it through in one sitting (unless you happen to be snowed in at a secluded cabin for a long weekend—not a bad idea!). Use it as you need to. Pull it off the shelf occasionally whenever you feel doubt about whether you matter and where you’re headed. Think of it as an ongoing conversation between you and me as you navigate your particular path toward trying to live a meaningful life” (p. 19). That is good advice.
About the Contributors
Prior to teaching at DTS, Dr. Kreider served as Director of Christian Education and then as Senior Pastor in Cedar Hill, TX. His research and writing interests include Jonathan Edwards, theological method, theology and popular culture, and our eschatological hope. Dr. Kreider believes that grace really is amazing; it is a thought that will change the world. He is married to his best friend, Janice, and they have two grown children and one granddaughter, Marlo Grace. He and Janice enjoy live music, good stories, bold coffee, and spending time together and with their rescue dogs—a terrier/greyhound mix named Chloe and a black lab named Carlile.