I love my job. I have a manager who knows, understands, and develops my talents, and I get to spend the majority of my time doing things I’m naturally wired to do.
When you use your natural strengths, you are happier, more engaged, and you feel strong. However, some people are not the right fit for their jobs. Their talents don’t match up with what’s expected of them. They make up a considerable portion of the people who dread going to work each day.
Think about the one thing in your job you do best, maybe even better than everyone else. Now think about the one thing in your job you do most.
Do the two match up?
What if you spent most of your time doing what you do best?
When people use their talents, they can experience exponential growth—yes, they can get 10 times better, 10 times more productive. But when people are called on to use their non-talents, they experience very limited growth, they struggle to get even 10% better..
I wish I could sing, but I’m a terrible singer. I just can’t carry a tune. If I took voice lessons and practiced every day, I may get a little better, but I will never be a famous vocalist—or even an adequate chorus member—because I don’t have the talent. On the other hand, I love cooking and I’m pretty good at coming up with my own recipes. I love to plan the meal, shop for the ingredients, and prepare interesting dishes for people to enjoy. Now, if I took cooking lessons, I would likely experience tremendous growth, because I already have a knack for it.
You shouldn’t waste time trying to fix one of your weaknesses, but instead come up with a plan to manage the weakness so it doesn’t get in your way. Then spend the majority of your time developing your precious talents.
How do you know if you have a talent?
There are four key factors that can help you identify your strengths:
There’s something deep inside us that makes us want to try some things, and steer clear of others. We are drawn toward some activities, usually when we see someone else perform the activity and we want to try it. If you see someone performing a new dance, and right away you think, I’d like to do that, that could be an indicator of dancing talent.
When we try something new, it either feels good or it doesn’t. If you are gifted in a certain area, you usually derive deep satisfaction after completing tasks in that area. You might even lose yourself in it. My mother-in-law has a natural talent for sewing, and she will completely lose track of time when working on a project. She enjoys it so much that she will spend hours in her sewing room, and has no idea if she’s been at it for one hour or four. We look forward to practicing and using our talents because it is satisfying.
3. Rapid Learning
When you spend time practicing a talent, you tend to pick it up faster than others and your skills improve more quickly than others who put in the same amount of time practicing. Similarly, slow learning is often a sign of lack of talent. When you pick something up quickly, like I do with modifying recipes to make them even better, that’s an indication you should have lots of growth potential there.
4. Glimpses of Excellence
When someone does something really well early on, others take notice and talk about it. It’s often mistaken for “beginner’s luck,” but it usually has little to do with luck. I recently saw this at the baseball field when a six-year-old boy hit a homerun each time he was up to bat. Other parents stopped by to watch him hit and there was a buzz in the stands about his performance. When you see flashes of excellent performance like that, it’s a good sign of an underlying talent.
What are your natural talents?
Considering these key factors, what would you say is one strength that you use in your job regularly? Take this opportunity to challenge yourself to grow in that area of strength. Spend more time on it, practice, learn, and seek coaching from an expert to take you to the next level. This investment of time will pay off—tenfold!
Speaking of which… I have to get dinner going.