Every single one of us is talented. Natural talent exists in us from the moment we are born. For some, talents present early and for others talents lie latent awaiting an experience that demonstrates their existence. Either way, the existence of talent does not mean we are or will use it. Here is how we limit the power of our natural talents and what we can do about it.
Dismissal of talent – occurs when something is easy for us to do. A friend or colleague admires an action or end result and we diminish the talent (and our friend) saying “oh, it was easy.” The very fact that it was easy gives a clue to talent but a talent that may never develop without recognition for what it is. And not that you are to blame…when something is easy to do we assume it is easy for others as well.
Remedy: Acknowledge your friend and the talent by saying thank you. Then ask “what did you notice?” Recruit your friend’s help to identify what was at play.
Reliance on a talent – can lead to its overuse. When something is easy it may become our default way of being in the world. With Strategic in my Top 5, my mind quickly sorts through possibilities and settles on a path forward. Sounds great, yes? But it can be a point of friction for others who are working with me on a project and see it through their own talent lens. The Analytical person will challenge me to prove my thinking, but not if they don’t appreciate their strength OR feel comfortable speaking up. (Over) Confident in my Strategic abilities, I may bulldoze my strategy forward. And a project that could have benefitted from the input of other talents moves forward without.
Remedy: Ask what other people think. If you are the leader, others may be reluctant to speak up so encourage them. Admit that you see things a certain way and you need their help to poke holes or identify unintended consequences.
Undirected talent – is perhaps the most frustrated of the three. Muddling along, not really shining in any area, your talents and quite possibly your life, lie latent. Not knowing and appreciating your talents is the most common cause. Having few opportunities to let your talent shine, or environments that don’t recognize talent, from your upbringing to your current place of employment, can mean that you have never built on what was given to each and everyone of us.
Remedy: For this challenge and the other two as well, take the Clifton StrengthsFinder® assessment. It measures the presence of natural talent by capturing your responses to 177 statements.
Important Note: The StrengthsFinder® assessment measures only the presence of talent. It does not indicate if you are using those talents or not. That is up to you to determine. Read the reports provided with the assessment. This will give clues to your talents and how they may show up. Use the Action planning guide for ideas on how to put your talents to work. Take full advantage of your natural talents by working with a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach to develop and deploy the natural talent that lies within.