The Kitchen Timer. My New Best Friend.

by Michelle on April 14, 2010

You have a Unique Ability.

Even if you don’t know what it is yet.  Really.

A while back I read about the concept of Unique Ability, an inner resource that is a combination of your talent, the passion you have for using it, and the incredible value it creates when you deliver it to the world.

The book’s introduction says it better:

First, it is a superior ability that other people notice and value; second, we love doing it and want to do it as much as possible; third, it is energizing both for us and others around us; and, fourth, we keep getting better, never running out of possibilities for further improvement.

It’s also said that when you perform an activity utilizing your Unique Ability, time flies.  Make sense?  Sure.

But when was the last time you experienced that time-flying thing?

I just recently was re-introduced to the sensation.  For a schedule-focused, clock-watcher like me?  Amazing.

Why so amazing?

Well, when I attempted to discover my Unique Ability, I focused in on professional activities only.  What  things did I do that met the Unique Ability activity criteria?  Organizing, arranging, creating systems, designing structure, documenting procedures, etc.  In a business environment, these traits are very valuable.  And much appreciated by my employer  and co-workers, who didn’t love doing those things as much as I did. 

Focusing only on professional activities wasn’t an intentional exclusion of the other areas of my life, but it was natural.  In my line of thinking, hobbies couldn’t possibly count. So I completely overlooked them. 

Now it’s three years later.

And I discover digital scrapbooking. 

You’re probably familiar with scrapbooking – putting photos, memorabilia & journaling into a book to record precious memories, celebrate a life, record personal experiences, etc.  It’s been around a while. 

But over the past few years, it’s gone digital. You might think that Photoshop is used only by fancy-pants graphic designers, magazine cover artists, or teenagers.  But you’d be wrong.  There’s a whole world of moms (and non-moms!) who now have the skills to create beautiful, impressive works out of pixels on a screen. 

I’ve recently joined them.  And, man, is time flying!

So, after 20+ years of denying & belittling my creative side (“Those artistic endeavors are just hobbies – how will you get a real job?!”),  I’ve returned to my teenage love: layout design.  (I doubt those last four words have ever been combined in that order before.)

But, yes, it was a love.  <Sighs>

Usually, when their teenage daughter is late getting home, parents worry she might be goofing off with friends, or perhaps is behind the bleachers with that tattooed troublemaker. 

But not my parents. 

They knew I was in the yearbook room (again), keeping my advisor after hours (again),  designing & redesigning layouts. And completely losing track of time (again!).

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my scrapbooking hobby is actually a Unique Ability activity.

Which is funny.  But not “ha-ha” funny. More like “Hey, you big dummy!” funny.

Consider the similarities: Organizing. Arranging. Creating. Designing. Documenting.

How do we miss stuff like that about ourselves? This example of obliviousness actually rivals Havi’s remarkable avoidance of discovering yoga.


Exploring my talents in this new arena is wonderful, but there’s a downside.  When time flies?  It’s easy to be running late for stuff.  And I’m never late. (Except for those two recent instances when I got caught up in a layout design, for which I’ve apologized profusely, and was easily forgiven due to my history of demonstrating respect for others’ time).

So the tool I need most when working on a project? 

The kitchen timer.  The one without a “snooze” option.  Clipped to my shirt, so I’m guaranteed to hear it.

x x x

(Pssst!  That link above? It’s not an affiliate link – if you buy the book, I don’t get anything. Except pleasure, because you trust my opinion.)

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