I started running track when I was seven years old, and it did not take long for me to feel like I had found my gift. Sports are a double-edged sword. On the one hand they save so many young people by providing purpose, but you know that you can't be an athlete forever. 

Most sports bring you until your mid 20's and then you need to find something else to do. If you get a legendary pro career, you get to go into your 40's tops. I refused to believe for so long that track could be my gift, but I was unable to discover what it was.

 The only way you can stumble is if you are moving. I always remind myself of this quote. Too many times, you hope to stumble into something great when your feet are set in what you are doing. You become stubborn to the path instead of being stubborn to the destination. 

I lived like this for so many years. Sure that I was doing the right things when deep down, I knew I was not working from my natural gifting. But the best thing I did was keep moving forward. I kept trying new things and kept doing stuff until I stumbled into what was right. A big game changer for me was building a successful morning routine. 

Sometimes the gift looks a bit different than you thought it would, but you have to trust it in. When you start blessing the world with your gift, your life begins to change.

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Failure is a Brutal Teacher ❌

One of the biggest losers I have had to date was Kho Health. That is saying a lot. I have messed up a lot in my life. Kho was a mobile app that connected injured athletes to local healthcare providers. I was sure that this was what I was made for.

My wife is a healthcare provider, and I had experienced so many injuries. I knew the pain of being hurt and having to figure out how to bounce back from it. I knew what it was like to have my scholarship on the line due to injury. To have the chance to help other people with this, made sense. 

About $50k later, three years, debt, and relationships down the drain, I learned that it was not going to work. It's one thing to push and be persistent when you're moving in the right direction. It's another when you are pushing because you don't want to admit you failed. That's was what I was doing. Failure hurt too bad.

  • Sometimes you get things wrong and you have to deal with failure
  • Failure does not mean you are out forever
  • You have to admit you failed and move on

I Found My Gift Because I Keep Moving Forward ?

98% of people would have quit for good after going through what I went through with Kho Health. The tough part was I lost a lot of money, wasted a lot of peoples time, and it was a massive disappointment. 

I refused to stay down long, though because staying down gives you time to think and feel bad for yourself. I did not want to start feeling bad for myself because I would have become depressed. 

While working on Kho, I had an idea to build a social alarm clock. The idea was simple if you hit snooze your friends will know about it. Waking up early was something I was good at so maybe this was my gift and the perfect way to move forward.

  • Most people fail once and never bounce back 
  • Refuse to stay down 
  • Move on to your next thing as quickly as possible 

The Path Leads You to The Path ?

I am a big believer that there are no wrong paths. Even the bad roads lead you to the right way. When I started WeWake as an alarm clock, I realized that it would not work.  

Apple had too many restrictions for building mobile apps. There would be no way for me to make the alarm sound when people had their phone on silent or do not disturb mode.

I needed to change direction once again. Moving towards a habit tracker was making more sense. I was using one at the time, but I paired it with four other apps to do everything I needed to in the morning. There had to be a more straightforward way. 

Once I made this move, like any other start-up, I had to keep listening to what people were using and what they wanted. The app was not hitting a sweet spot, but I knew we were getting close to something. The truth was that I was getting close to finding my gift of helping people to build successful morning routines. 

  • Road blocks help lead you to the right path
  • I saw a problem that I could create a solution for
  • Keep moving towards the gift

How I Found My Gift? ?

 I started looking back on my life for consistent messages and themes. What had people who coached me or worked with me always saying? I had seen my high school track coach, and one thing he said was that he could always count on me to show up and work. My college coach said something similar. People would talk about my work ethic a lot.

When I started looking into this, I discovered that I looked like a much harder worker with more discipline than I had. What I had been great at was being consistent with my habits. My habits had been making me look good 

The mistake I made all these years is that I assumed everyone was as good as I was. It was the app that showed me that most people struggle with this. Something difficult for most people had come to me from a young age. To the point where I thought it was an essential life skill like eating.

  • To stumble you have to be moving 
  • Look for consistent messages people have told you throughout your life
  • The thing that comes easy for you does not come easy for you

Your Gift May Not Come Packaged How You Think ?

It was still hard to say that my gift was my consistency with my habits. It sounds stupid. You don't know how you can make money from it, and it's a hard thing to prove without spending a lot of time around me. With running, for example, you could see me run one 10 second race and know that I had something good going for me. 

What I realized though is that things start making sense and they feel more comfortable when you work in your gifts. Now, I'm not saying that success is going to come easy. But it feels more natural to move in that direction. Once I located my gift, I started using the things I was good at to work in my gift. 

I think skills like marketing, speaking, writing, and building teams to help my gift shine. Now all these different skills at one point I thought were gifts. But they were just the skills I had. They helped to reveal my gift of consistency. There is a big difference.

 Now I write about habits. I speak about habits. I use my marketing skills to reach more people about building great habits. I use my skills to support my gift.

 Writing and track, for example, allowed me to build good habits. These things taught me to show up and work my ass off on them every day. My habit was to be a hard worker and work on the same stuff every day. What people thought was a crazy work ethic was a habit I had built.

Sometimes the gift looks a bit different than you thought it would, but you have to trust it in. When you start blessing the world with your gift, your life begins to change.

  • Gifts do not always sound promising 
  • Gifts do not always come with clear paths 
  • Use your skills to support your gift 

Trust In Your Gift ?

Don't worry about what will make money if you are great at something you can make money doing it. Focus on what comes easy for you and yet is hard for others. Think about the things that you can work on for the next ten years and never get tired of chasing the big picture. Building successful morning routines seems weird but everyone has to wake up at some point. 

The reason it's called a gift is that you did nothing to earn it. God gave it to you and wrapped inside that gift is your purpose. The reason why you are here. You may be making a lot of money doing something else, but it will never feel as good as when you get inside your gift. It's worth finding and locking into. 

Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

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