Recognizing the gifts of others

The notes presented here are a summary of the conversation that took place on Thursday, December 18, 2014 at the Mad Rooster Café in Milwaukee, WI.  The topic for the day was “Recognizing the gifts of others.” 
The notes represent just a brief summary of the rich conversation that took place around the table.


  • Sometimes we are too preoccupied with ourselves to recognize others.
  • Andy Oren shared the quote:  “I pin my hopes to quiet processes and small circles, in which vital and transforming events take place.”  Rufus Jones
  • There is a certain leadership maturity in recognizing other people’s gifts.  This is especially powerful when we recognize the gifts others have that offset our weaknesses (which are many).
  • Slow down, recognize the wisdom of others, and be more intentional.
  • Let way open before you.  From book, “Let your life speak”.


  • Encouragement is a big enabler.
  • Give people permission to fail.
  • Meet people completely and intentionally. How do you stop and find that and stay human?
  • Empower people through supporting the gifts they have and help them grow in that. Don’t focus as much on weaknesses.
  • At the recent S-L Cities Tour event, Assistant chief of police, Edith Hudson said she doesn’t believe in ignoring weaknesses.  She spoke of the need to help people get past them while you focus on their gifts.
  • It can be difficult to have conversations with people who are passionate about doing something, but, it’s not a gift for them.  You can build on the passion.  Or, you can have the difficult conversation and find a way for them to do something else.
  • We can be a force for healing others (and ourselves) through any number of small activities that will allow people to recognize the many gifts they bring to the table.

Building community:

  • Living and leading is an art more than a science.
  • Sometimes a “thank you” is a powerful encouragement that people never forget.
  • Building on strengths makes more sense than focusing on weaknesses.
  • Nothing gets done unless the diversity of gifts is available to the team.  We can enrich the team by encouraging those who are not recognized for their gifts.
  • Sometimes the gifts of others present themselves as a boulder being held in place by a few small pebbles.  How can we help remove the pebbles and unleash their gifts?


  • So much of what we have and who we are is a gift.  We are but Stewarts of the gift.
  • Gifts are to be given. Nurture them and give them.
  • We all have the responsibility of being a good Stewart of our own gifts.
  • Sometimes opportunities to recognize the gifts of others are situational.  We can take advantage of these opportunities to build and cultivate strengths.

Book reference:
Palmer, Parker J.  (1999)  Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation.  Jossey-Bass.  ISBN-10: 0787947350

Author: Dan Lococo, PhD

I am a whole person called to engage with others as they realize their own wholeness. Service is the act of engaging with others on their journey to realizing their own wholeness. (December, 2013)

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