Since talented people can do many things very well, they can unwittingly get drawn into things that they don’t especially like to do. For years they’ve been showered with praise and asked to do many things. The recognition and accolades seduce them. But as in the story of Ulysses, they can get drawn off course by the sirens of seduction.
What’s the consequence for talented people succumbing to seduction? They get started and shine like a super nova but burn out quickly — not because they can’t continue but because deep down they don’t really want to continue. The result is they lose interest and underperform. Unconsciously, they may sabotage themselves to get out of something they haven’t acknowledged that they don’t especially want to do.
The key to avoid the curse of the talented is for such gifted persons to plumb what their deepest hopes are for their talent and understand why those are important to them. They need generous listeners to ask them questions and reflect back the responses so that they can hear themselves and separate true dedication from self-deception about “what’s hot.” It’s a simple conversation but a critical one to ensure that they are on their path rather than someone else’s.
Whatever our personal level of talent may be, we owe it to ourselves and those with whom we work to discern carefully what we are called to do. Exercise good stewardship of your talent, and you’ll enjoy your work more and serve others better.
Photo by: Alvimann