Do you know what your talents are? And are you maximizing them? Think of a talent as something that you enjoy, do easily, and that people often ask you to do. Sometimes our talents can feel like they are no big deal or not that important because it seems to us that anyone could do them. In fact, we are often surprised that others can’t do these things as easily as we can.
How do Talent and Strengths Differ
A strength is the ability to demonstrate high performance in a particular activity. Talents are patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior that apply to many different areas. Talents, knowledge, and skills along with taking the time to practice developing your skills, combine to create your strengths. For example, being able to talk to strangers and enjoying the challenge of making a connection with them is a talent. A strength might be the ability to consistently build a network of supporters who know you and are prepared to help you.
Although talents, skills, and knowledge are essential in building a strength, talent is the starting point. The reason is that your talents are something you are born with; they are not acquired skills and knowledge. For example, as a salesperson can learn your products' features, you can be trained to ask the right open-ended questions, and you can practice making a sale. However, the natural talent to be able to guide a customer to make a commitment at the right moment is a naturally occurring talent that separates you from others.
Your talents often play a role in your purpose because they are things that are easy and fun for you. One way to discover your talents is to look at things you do for fun or to relax.
Discovering your talent is much easier than you may realize. Here are a few simple ways:
- Just ask. Make a list of what others say about your talents. Those closest to us can help. Maybe they have been telling us about our talents, but we were too focused on what we needed to improve that we missed it.
- Identify what is easy for you. Are there things that you find easy or obvious to do, while others may struggle?
- Find your joy. Your talents may be revealed in other ways. What topics spark your imagination? Think about what it is that you love to do most when you have free time.
- Identify your Passion. What are passionate about? Are you attracted to people or situations that allow you to engage in conversations on this topic?
- Do Something that Scares You. Sometimes by breaking out of your comfort zone, you might be surprised what you can discover about yourself. Sometimes just knowing what you are not good at, will help you see more clearly your talents.
- Think back to your childhood. Do you remember what you were good at when you were in school? What did you always get picked to do? What profession did you pretend to be as a child?
Once you have discovered one or two things that might be talents, continue the exploration by asking yourself.
- Is this something I enjoy doing?
- Is there something about this that is meaningful to me?
- What is meaningful about it?
- Is it something that I would like to do more? If so, what is it about this that I would like to pursue.
Keep in mind discovering our talents is a journey. This is not just a onetime exercise. Living with the curiosity of a child and appreciation for both our talents and strengths allow us to continue growing and dreaming all of our life.
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