The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on January 6, 2011.

I am embarking on a year-long, worldwide hunt for buried treasure, and I’m hoping you’ll join me. You don’t have to take a leave of absence from your job or family. You won’t need a passport, visa, or malaria shot. And you don’t need to purchase a telescope, gyroscope, metal detector, or any other equipment or supplies.

The kind of treasure I’m looking for is any talent, trait, gift, or skill that can be of value in some way to the person who possesses it. It is buried treasure if the person who has it doesn’t recognize it, doesn’t know or believe it has value, or doesn’t realize what it is truly worth.

I discovered buried treasure of my own a few years ago as I was searching for something about myself that was special or unique, and that could be of use to others. I wanted to become a professional speaker, but couldn’t find in myself a unique story or skill, or the kind of corporate experience and background I thought I needed in order for people to want to hire me. The more I tried to find something special in myself, the more common and ordinary I started to feel – especially since I could so easily see amazing and wonderful qualities and characteristics in other people.

It was when I met two women who had been violently assaulted – and who were at a speakers’ workshop because they wanted to use their stories to help other people – that I realized I had been looking for the wrong thing. What is most special about each of us is something that doesn’t feel special at all. It’s a trait, skill, or characteristic that comes so naturally to us and feels so common that we don’t consider it to be any big deal. Or it comes from something we have suffered or endured, such as an accident, abuse, or an overwhelming defeat. From these come strength, compassion, grace, determination, and other qualities we can use to understand and help ourselves and others.

In the time since I made this discovery, “Find Your Buried Treasure” has become not only my company name, but my personal philosophy and my mission in life. Helping people find the gifts and talents they don’t even realize they have has enriched their lives and mine – especially after I became a Certified Dream Coach, which has given me additional tools, skills, and practices for helping people use their hidden gifts and buried treasure to achieve dreams they never knew they could accomplish, or didn’t even realize they had.

One thing I’ve come to understand is that most of us are able to recognize gifts, skills, and talents in others. But if we don’t call attention to them, they may never be discovered or utilized. This is a tragedy and an enormous waste. I’ve seen firsthand how people can grow in strength and confidence – and can change the world – when they recognize and tap into valuable resources they’ve had all along. All it takes is for someone else to point this buried treasure out to them, and for them to believe in it and in themselves.

So I hope you’ll join me on this treasure hunt, and I mean this as a serious request. You don’t have to go anywhere except, perhaps, a bit out of your comfort zone in order to let someone know of a gift, skill, trait, or characteristic that you see in them and appreciate or admire. If they shrug it off or say, “Oh, that’s nothing. Anybody can do that,” be sure to tell them that what they have is buried treasure, and that it’s more valuable than they realize.

And please let me know what you find. Email me at with any stories or discoveries, or if you’d like a copy of this column that you can send to others via email.

I’ll report from time to time on the progress of this year-long treasure hunt. I know that with your help, its reach truly can span the globe. There’s buried treasure in everyone, and we’ll all be enriched when we help each other find it.

Happy hunting!

© Betty Liedtke, 2011