I believe that everyone has innate talents — skills for which they have innate capacity, but «I’m not particularly talented at anything,» is a phrase that I frequently hear from my coaching clients.
The statement seems to come from the belief that to be worthy of the label «talent,» a skill or ability must be both extraordinary and recognized by the general public. So we freely consider LeBron James to be a talented basketball player, or Meryl Streep a talented actress. But we don’t see our own behavior as reflecting unique talent.
It’s true that one dictionary definition of «talent» is the ability to perform a skill better than most people. But I find it rather discouraging that the most common comparison for judging a talent is external — «How does my ability to do XXX compare to everyone else’s ability to do XXX?» — rather than an internal one — «How does my ability to do XXX compare to my ability to do YYY?»
It may seem like a small point, but the result is that many people ask themselves, «Do I have any talent?» rather than the more constructive — and more accurate — question of, «What talents do I have?»
I believe that everyone has talents, and I define them as those things that you do well and that you are capable of doing well because you’ve developed the natural skills you were born with.
I believe that people find the greatest sense of accomplishment and satisfaction by using their natural talents. Luckily, most of us enjoy doing the things we’re talented at. We just need to discover what they are!
The surprising thing is that just because you prefer these activities and roles, it doesn’t mean that you recognize them as talents. For a variety of reasons we are often unaware of our talents, or we dismiss them as «nothing special.»
When we see the things we do well, that come easily to us, as «ordinary» or «something anyone can do,» we lose the sense of what makes each of us unique. Discovering and claiming our talents is an important key to opening the doors to success.
Success is achieved when you recognize, claim, and utilize your Talents. By understanding and appreciating your talents, you can find the environments where they’re valued. And let go of behaviors and roles that don’t bring the same level of joy and fulfillment.
Recognizing the things you are especially talented at doing is the first step to claiming them as yours. Taking the second step means consciously finding new opportunities to use them.
Take some time to think about things you do that other people compliment you on or ask you to help them with — especially the things you think are ridiculously easy and they think are hard.
Select one or two of the talents you have identified and think about how you currently use them. When you are comfortable begin to expand your options. What are some new ways you can exercise this talent?
Make an effort to consciously use your newly claimed talent as often as possible over the next week. When the one you have selected feels natural to you, select another from your list. Keep moving down the list until you have claimed all your talents!