“Wow! That’s amazing. You have a real talent for that.” Have you ever heard those words? Most of us have at some point in our lives. The usual acknowledgement is “oh, it was easy” and a clue to a superpower is dismissed and forgotten.
When things are easy for us to do, we disregard the value they provide. It is easy for us thus it must be easy for everyone else. And that is why we don’t know, recognize and understand the unique strengths we possess.
Awareness of strengths is the first step; understanding how strengths show up in your life is the next. Even if you haven’t taken the CliftonStrengths® assessment (and I find that hard to believe if you are reading this!) here are five ways to recognize and begin to understand your natural talents.
Yearnings – Have you ever watched someone perform an activity and found yourself saying “I want to do that!” Yearnings, particularly those felt early in life, often indicate presence of a powerful talent. A yearning is a pull, much like a magnetic force, that is felt internally and leads an individual to a particular activity or environment over and over again.
Satisfaction – is observed when a person gets a “kick” out of doing a particular activity. The pleasure is not just in the moment, but forms a person’s intrinsic motivation. In satisfaction the emotional and psychological rewards are great. When you experience these types of energizing experiences, you know a natural talent is present.
Rapid Learning – occurs when we simply just get something. Although we have had little experience in the activity, we pick it up quickly often anticipating the next steps. A natural talent is sparked simply by doing the activity. You may find yourself thinking “I’ve always known how to do this.”
Glimpses of Excellence – are often hard to detect but those who make a practice of observing success notice the presence. In witnessing the activity, one recognizes the display of great talent and can easily see the potential for the development of that talent into a strength.
Flow – Have you ever become so engrossed in an activity that you lost track of time? Then you have experienced flow. It is sometimes referred to as “timelessness,” and can serve as a clue to talent. It differs from “glimpses of excellence” in that flow is the complete extension of an activity. Lost in the moments, or hours, you now have a clue to your natural talents.
Armed with these clues, you can delve deeper into the awareness and understanding of your own strengths. More powerfully, you can begin to observe the presence of talent in co-workers, family and friends helping them to understand their unique abilities.
Adapted from “Five Clues to Talent” Gallup, Inc.