Talent isn’t hierarchical. Everyone has talent and anyone, anytime, anywhere can use proven keys to unlock his or her talent and the talent of others regardless of their position. You don’t have to wait for the perfect opportunity, the perfect boss, or an ideal economy to get your engine firing and moving forward. The perfect moment is now.
Your talent is much more than your strengths. It’s your self-expression—the joyful demonstration of your unique abilities that benefit both you and the world. It is how you use both your own and others strengths and resources to realize meaningful accomplishments.
When we start to think about taking charge of our talent, we often get stuck on “Well, I guess I need to figure out what my talent is first.” This attempt to label our uniqueness immediately limits what is possible, and derails us into worrisome thoughts such as:
“Am I talented?”
“How do my talents compare with others?”
“Who’s going to win and who’s going to lose?”
As we’ve learned from neuroscience and psychology, this pathway of fear robs us of our best and most creative thinking.
While it’s useful to know your strengths, the more important questions are “What are your hopes for your talent?” and “Why are those hopes important to you?” These are the drivers of your talent and career. Or, as Pulitzer prize winning poet Tracy K. Smith commented, “Hope is an idea with an engine.” Your hopes are the engine on your locomotive that provide the direction and motivation fundamental to personal fulfillment and success.
This approach shifts the dynamic in productive ways. For example, it helped Fran, a staff member stymied by roadblocks to become a supervisor, find new possibilities, and get the job she thought was out of reach. It sparked Jesse, whose boredom had him looking for a new job, take the initiative to rejuvenate his career right where he was. Sheila, a senior manager swamped with tasks, discovered how to get her work in balance and contribute more to her organization. These people, and, thousands of others, have created new worlds for themselves. All because they took charge of their talent.