It wasn’t until a professional development session in 2008 that I first realized — really realized — that I had unique talents that made me different than others. In fact, all 30-ish people in the room that day had their minds blown when we recognized that we had all been so focused on being good at all things that we had neglected being great at the few things that made us unique.
More importantly, I learned how to figure out what I do best and develop it and it’s made all the difference in my career. Now I build my daily work on my talents and the results are significant:
-More energy throughout the day
-Increased satisfaction from my work
-Opportunities to do more of what I do
-Focus on what areas I can develop to become my best self
-Clarity about where I thrive and where I struggle
-Better results in my work
-Congruence and authenticity
Your goal this week should be to figure out what you do best and do more of it. This is the secret to a fulfilling and successful career. Here’s how:
1. It’s all about energy. When your energy is highest it’s because you are using innate talent. “Innate” means natural or inborn, and natural means you don’t have to exert energy because it comes easily. These innate talents are hardwired into who you are.
2. Name them. What exactly is the natural activity that’s giving you energy? Pinpoint the catalyst. Hint: It’s probably not the activity itself but rather the way you are doing the activity. For example, teaching is not a talent. It’s a manifestation of talents being utilized. The true talent may be using words to communicate ideas or tapping empathy to relate to a group or developing and utilizing powerful questions to engage an audience.
3. Develop them. Talents are innate but that also makes them raw. You can get far on talent alone, but if you add knowledge and skill to those talents they will explode into awesome magical powers of transformation. If I’m good at utilizing powerful questions to engage an audience, I could read an article on how to formulate even more powerful questions and talk to someone who also does this well to learn tips and tricks. I could also practice developing some power questions in my lesson planning since practice makes perfect.
4. Find opportunities to use the talent. When else could you put a talent to use? By analyzing other parts of your work week you can find opportunities to put the talent to use and show the world what you do very best.
By practicing these four steps — in other words, being intentional about doing what I do best — I’ve put myself in positions to do even more of what I enjoy. The mindblowing thing is that all of us have this same capacity and just as much opportunity. Talents aren’t bound by job title or description.
Don’t neglect what you do very best. Pinpoint it, develop it, and put it to use!
Hi! I'm Dustin.
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