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Discover Your Talents

Posted 9 years ago

“Faith is an author, speaker and innovative leadership consultant with over 30-years experience helping organizations with projects that include launching new strategies, restructuring, building trust and engaging employees.  Faith’s insights on organizational politics are well versed.  She helps leaders succeed and get things done in large, complex environments.  Faith is a true talent and we’re thrilled to have her contributions to Platinum Rules for Success!” ~ Dr. Tony Alessandra

Discover Your Talents: How to Succeed By Doing More Of What You Do Best

by Faith Ralston Ph.D.

Leaders, are you satisfied at work? Or by the end of the day do you feel exhausted? The key to greater energy and job satisfaction is using your talents more. Do you know your talents? Are you focused and doing what you do best? To discover your talents you must see what has been there all along. One of the easiest ways to pinpoint your talents is by noticing when you feel good. What projects energize you? Do like to start new projects or finish them? Conversely, what do you avoid? 

When do you feel frustrated? When do you procrastinate? To what degree does the environment contribute to your lack of energy or enthusiasm?

5 Talent Discovery Questions To further pinpoint your talents, here are five great questions to help you recognize your talent strengths:

#1. What did you enjoy doing before age 18? Before age eighteen, you had less responsibility. The activities you enjoyed offer solid clues as to your talents. Today you have bills to pay and mouths to feed.  Prior to age eighteen, you had more latitude as to how you spent your time. At age eighteen, did you prefer to be inside or outside? Did you save money or did you spend it? To what clubs did you belong? What groups did you join? What types of friends did you see? Did you enjoy books, plays, or movies?

#2. What tasks are easy for you? Look beyond your work setting and notice your current activities. What groups do you belong to? Where is your participation strong and active? What hobbies do you maintain? Do you have strong civic, religious, social or community interests? What do you do when no one is making requests of you? What kinds of activities simply come natural for you? What do you do around the house and around the neighborhood? Are you the person who doesn’t need to read the instructions? No thoughts, no cares, you just do it! To gain further insights as to your natural talents, ask others, “What do I do well? What are my strengths? Where do I shine? What do I seem to be able to do more easily and readily than others?

#3. What do others say you do well? What comments do you repeatedly hear from others about your talents? When someone says to you, “How did you do that?” or “That’s amazing! I could never do that,” it’s a fairly reliable indicator of one of your talents. Encourage others to tell you when and where your enthusiasm seems to be high, where your eyes light up, where you’ve got that look of both determination and satisfaction. Take notice when people praise you for your talents. Recognize the skills you take for granted may be a gold mine of capability. From now on take note when you say, “It’s nothing, or it’s no big deal” — this is a valuable talent you might be taking for granted.

#4. When do others ask for your help? What do others want from you? When do they seek your help? From now on, notice when people ask for your help. When do they want to talk to you? When do they count on you for help? When do they appreciate your help? Are you adept at balancing your checkbook? Are you fantastic at keeping your garage orderly? Do you offer effective career guidance? When do others ask for your advice? Take notice. This is your talent.

#5. When do you annoy others? If you could only ask one of these five questions, this is the one to ask. You might prefer not to ask it at all, but it’s a valuable question. Whatever you do well, you’re likely to do to a fault. The ways you annoy others are reliable indicators of your talents. This is especially true when you’re unaware of your talents. What ever you do well, you can do to a fault. So be open to feedback and manage your talents so it doesn’t become a liability. Friends and family members can tell you if you’re over using a talent. Their observations and comments are insightful. You may want to dismiss what they say, but fight that reflex. Listen with new ears. 
Hear the criticism and flip it upside down to see your talent. If you’re too controlling, you may have a talent for organizing. Ask yourself, “What’s the positive side of this trait?” and you’ll discover a strong talent. Then discern how to turn this behavior into an asset rather than a liability. Lasting Benefits When your interests and talents are aligned with your work, you have the ideal work situation. You’ll enjoy what you’re doing so much that you may not consider it work. You might even feel guilty for being paid for what you do. Your talents are like a rudder. No matter what’s happening, if you’re using your talents, you’ll feel more confident and energized. With your talents top of mind, reflect on your current work situation. Identify areas where you’re engaged and focus more on these. Find ways to delegate and eliminate tasks that don’t reflect your talents. You’ll know you’re making progress when you feel engaged, motivated and energized.

Blog contributing writer Faith Ralston Ph.D.

Faith Ralston, Ph.D. is a trusted adviser and executive coach to senior executives.  Faith has 29 years of experience, helping leaders tackle the human dynamics of change. She works with healthcare organizations, fortune 1000 companies, gas and electric utilities and government agencies. Faith is the the author of three books including Play Your Best Hand, Emotions@Work, Hidden Dynamics and Dream Teams. She is also the creator of Play to your Strengths® Talent System and Assessments.  Faith is a much sought-after, motivational speaker who delights her audiences and delivers actionable ideas. She speaks at leadership conferences and professional association events.