When you think about talent, you might think of Michael Jordon or Oprah Winfrey. But do you see yourself as ‘talented?’ Absolutely everyone has talents. You and the people around you have talents.
Talents are your innate abilities. Your talents are not the same as your job, your skills, or your education. You were born with your talents. If any of you have children, you quickly see they’re born with different talents. Some like to dash around the house and climb fences. Other prefer to sit and draw.
You may change jobs, positions and roles – but your talents go with you. Your talents show up at work, with friends, at church, in the community, and when you’re socializing, playing, working or relaxing. Your talents are always with you.
I want to take the mystique out of our notions about talents. You’re already talented so here are some ideas to help you make the most of your talents.
Your talents are simply what you like to do.
The work and activities you gravitate towards reveal your talents. I have an office assistance that helps me once a month. Her talent is organizing. She helps me keep my files, closet and supplies in order. The last time she came over I asked her how many hours she spends organizing, sorting, and de-cluttering at home. Her immediate response was 3 hours. I was asked, “Every week?” “No,” she asked, “I do this every day. It relaxes me.” Organizing is clearly her talent.
To discover your talents simply ask yourself, “What do I enjoy doing? How do I like to spend my time? What is easy and effortless for me?
Your best talent has a flip side.
Your greatest strength can also be a weakness. For instance, if you like to plan ahead, this is a great talent! But when circumstances require flexibility and spontaneity, you might not respond easily. The sales person who is good at penetrating new accounts may be lousy at daily account management. Every talent has value – but not in every situation.
One way to manage your talents is to ask individuals who are close to you these questions: “What do I do that bugs you? What do I sometimes do to excess?” Then flip their answer around and look for the positive side of this quality. When you walk into a room, do you see every problem and nit that needs to be fixed? Then you might have a talent for detail and problem solving. Do others tell you’re a Pollyanna and your heads in the clouds? You might be an optimist. Choose the right time and place to use your talent strengths.
You have a primary talent.
One of your talents is a primary talent. This primary talent is a driving force in your life. If this talent is missing – you’ll lose the fire in your belly. We can see this happen to the entrepreneur whose his or her company is sold. The person loses steam when they’re not at the helm and taking risk. If there’s no need for our primary talents or it’s not valued, we lose our oomph for what we’re doing. Our primary talent is the one that motivates us to use all the rest.
We all have five to seven core talents that we use in a predictable way to get things done. How you orchestrate these core talents is what I call your ‘success pattern.” A success pattern is the unique way you mix and match your talents to achieve your goals. You may want to research a project before jumping into action. Whereas, a colleague might prefer to jump in feet first to figure things out. Respect these differences.
Your talents are valuable. Start recognizing these assets and using them every day. You’ll quickly discover it’s not only the ‘Stars’ who are talented.