If you've been reading awhile, you know we discuss talent at The Center for Sales Strategy a lot. In fact, it's one of the foundations of our company. We believe that everyone has their own unique talents, that talent is innate, that we can advance our careers (and our lives) by focusing on building our strengths instead of trying (albeit fruitlessly) to fix our weaknesses, and that contrary to what I told my son, we cannot be whatever we want to be when we grow up.
I recently wrote about the toxic advice we give our children, telling them they can be “anything they want to be.” That is simply not true. We cannot. There are things we just are not good at or well suited for.
So how do we determine what we ARE good at and find where we “fit?” How do we know what our talents really are?
A couple weeks ago, I was delivering a presentation about this very topic, and I think it can help you find your own unique talents, too.
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 and away from others. Think of something you are good at… do you remember being “drawn to it?” Maybe you are a good singer and the first time you saw someone on stage you thought, “That could be me. That feels right…” You had a strong desire to try it out! What we long to try indicates an area of talent.
When we try something new, it feels good or it doesn’t. If you are gifted in an area you usually derive deep satisfaction after completing tasks in such areas. For other people it may just be one of those things which have to be done, but for you it is different, you can lose yourself in it. What is it that satisfies you so much that you want to do it over and over again? Whatever gives you deep personal satisfaction is probably your talent. If it feels good, we keep at it. We look forward to practicing and using our talents – it is satisfying.
You may see this in yourself, in children you know and in people you work with. There are some things we learn quickly—other things are difficult to learn even after many tries. When you are talented at something, you tend to pick it up faster than others and improve more quickly.
Glimpses of Excellence
Some call it beginner’s luck, but I don’t. It’s usually not luck. When someone does something really well early on—others notice it and talk about it! When you hear friends say things like “People listen to you when you talk, or you write really well, or you plan excellent parties…” that’s often evidence of Talent.
When something inside of you yearns to try something, give it a whirl. When you find yourself immensely satisfied, take a moment and relish the feeling. When you find yourself picking something up extremely quickly and finding joy – take note! And, when you hear others comment on your talents, accept the compliment and recognize your unique talent.