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4 Effective Ways To Find Your True Talents

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Are you looking for the secret path to a successful life? Something you can find out there in the world – if you just keep searching for it. You see, most people make the mistake of looking outward for success opportunities.

However, the easiest and most rewarding path to success is looking within. Discovering what you have to offer to the world that nobody else can. Finding your own unique talents and sharing them in a meaningful way.

So here is a little run down on the importance of finding your true talents.

Why you need to find your talents and strengths

Most people never find their natural talents and strengths – either because they do not believe they have any or because they underestimate their importance. If you want to be successful, discovering your uniqueness is not a nice bonus – it’s a necessity. The following two examples show you why:

Your biggest room for growth lies within your talents

A common assumption in today’s society is that the key to success is fixing your weakness. People tend to think that working on what you are not good at is the fastest way to grow and develop. That’s far from the truth. Of course, you can get better at anything. Working on your weakness can help you go from bad to mediocre. But you will never be able to achieve true excellence without an underlying talent. As Markus Buckingham says: each person’s greatest room for growth is in the areas of his or her greatest strength.î So find these areas of talent and strength and capitalize on them. That way you can use your full potential.

Making use of your key differentiator

What sets you apart from everyone else is your unique personality with all the special talents and strengths that you possess. YOU are the biggest asset that you could ever have. The first step to embrace your uniqueness is being aware that you are special. You are like nobody else in this world. Nobody else has had the same experiences as you. No one has exactly the same characteristics and shares the same values. Nobody has learned all the various skills you learned. Discovering your talents and strengths means becoming more aware of who you really are. Because only when you know what makes you so unique ñ you can fully embrace and make use of it.

But what exactly is a talent?

A talent is simply a strong characteristic that you have. It’s something you naturally do, think, or feel and that can be used in a beneficial way. It is nothing you acquired in school or that was taught to you at university. A talent is just a natural pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior. Psychologists say that 90% of what you think every day is repetitive*. Meaning most of what you think today, you already thought yesterday, and 90% of these thoughts you also thought the day before … Not only are your thoughts the results of underlying patterns but also your behavior and feelings. Finding your talents is simply about discovering these most prominent patterns within you and then using it to your advantage.

Identifying your unique talents

To set yourself up for success and capitalize on the way you are, you need to identify your unique characteristics. This is a process that takes quite some time but that is definitely worth doing!

The following four ways can help you get started:

1. Find what makes you feel strong

Keep track of how you spend the next two days: What are you doing, feeling or thinking about daily? Write down everything that energizes you and makes you feel strong. It could be a particular physical activity such as meeting up and going dancing with a friend or a mental activity such as finding a solution to a difficult problem. Then when you found a few things you repeatedly do and love, dig deeper and see what part of that particular activity made you feel good.

So for example, one of my patterns is that I love learning and sharing my findings with you. That statement in itself is not quite true: I don’t like learning about everything. Give me books about personal development and I am occupied for hours feeling energized and in flow. Give me almost anything else and I am bored to hell. I like sharing what I learn but if you make me talk about it in front of a crowd, I will try to run and hide. However, sit down with me alone and I will happily talk with you for hours. These are distinct differences that are vital to know in order to make the most of my talent.

Look out for your own patterns: what are you always doing or thinking about? What can you just not help doing, thinking or feeling? Even if someone asks you not to? Often these are things that others can find quite annoying about you 😉

2. Discover what you spend your money on

Your core values are closely linked with what you spend your money and time on. Take note of what you spend your money on and look closer at what this can tell you about yourself.

For example, I spend my money on books, seminars and conferences. The types of books I buy show me what I am passionate about – namely personal development and entrepreneurship. But what’s behind it is my innate desire to learn and grow. That is a strong natural characteristic of mine, a talent that drives everything I do, how I think and how I spend my time.

If you like spending money on going out with friends, is it that you like bringing people together? Is it that you like getting attention and expressing yourself? Or maybe is it because you value deepening your pre-existing friendships? Why do you do what you do? What is behind it? The key is to keep digging deeper in order to get to the core essence of your talent patterns.

Most people, including myself in the past, make the terrible mistake of being too fast and not taking enough time to truly discover themselves. Identifying what makes you truly unique and what drives you is not a 1-minute exercise you can complete while brushing your teeth.

3. Asking others

Find out what others value most about you. What personal characteristics would describe you best? Ask your friends, partner and family members what they love most about your personality. This will not just be valuable for your self-confidence ñ it will also show you what you are likely to dismiss about yourself. You might be surprised by what you find out. Often, how you see yourself is very different to how others see you.

The problem with talents and strengths is that they are so normal to you that you tend to dismiss them. You are so used to them that you take them for granted and don’t realise that they exist and that they are your biggest asset.

4. Using personality tests

Another good way to discover your unique talents is using a personality test. One that I can recommend is the Clifton StrengthFinder which determines your top five dominant patterns. It gives you a detailed explanation of them and actionable advice about how to put them to use. The test has really opened my eyes and helped me understand my talents and myself a little better. You can buy the test as part of the book  Now, Discover Your Strengths or get it on its own.

However, don’t just use the test alone and do nothing with it. The result alone will have no impact on you or your strength development unless you use the answers as a starting point to get to know yourself better. The best would be going through the steps in the order described above. Start with self-analysis, then see if others confirm your view about yourself and lastly you can also see what personality tests reveal about you. From my experiences, this process will prove to be the most valuable one for finding your unique talents and strengths.

Let me know in the comments what you have done to identify your talents.

Do you still tend to focus on fixing your weakness or are you already developing your strengths?

*According to a research by Dr. Fred Luskin of Stanford University

Maxine runs the The Leader of Tomorrow, a personal blog that is dedicated to help you become more successful by making the most of yourself and mastering your mind. If you want to know how to use your full potential - visit her at www.theleaderoftomorrow.com for more great content.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. John

    Feb 26, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Maxine,
    I just read your article about the 4 Effective ways to find your true talents. Thanks for posting.

    Regarding the StrengthsFinder. I have taken it 3 times, offered to me in various venues.

    The first time, my top themes were Harmony, Responsibility, Connectedness, Belief, and Relator.

    The second time, my top themes were Learner, Harmony, Responsibility, Connectedness, and Analytical.

    The third time, my themes were Learner, Harmony, responsibility, input, and consistency.

    As someone who has struggled with defining the type of role I want to pursue after doing the same thing for 25 years, these somewhat inconsistent results, spanning over 5 years, are not confidence building. Any thoughts?

  2. Samuel

    May 10, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Great insight, I have learnt a lot. Now implementing…….

  3. john

    Feb 1, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Profound piece thanks!!!

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Life

Don’t Want To Feel Like A Failure Anymore? Stop Doing These 6 Things

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It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? All those great and accomplished people telling you that FAILURE is a necessity on your way to success. Yeah, that’s easy for them to say; they’re already ‘on the other side’! You on the other hand, are still struggling all day everyday to get your business lifted off the ground and are really not that sure if you’re indeed going to make it.

There’s that little voice in your head that keeps telling you that you don’t have the stuff to make it all happen. Not now and not ever. You feel like a failure…it’s holding you back and you don’t know how to deal with it. Well you could do yourself a favor and start dealing with it by doing the following things:

1. Stop Denying You Feel Like A Failure

Telling yourself things are going great when they’re not is one of the biggest, though most useless, coping mechanisms human beings deploy in rough times. Common denial signals among entrepreneurs: trying to regain more control by working even more hours and on the other side compensating this by letting go of all this control by partying and drinking way too hard.

What you’re doing is denying yourself the opportunity to actually feel what’s going on and acknowledge the problem; that both you and your business are in a bad place. Without acknowledging it, it’ll be pretty difficult to actually STOP feeling it. And remember, just because you feel like a failure, this does not mean that you indeed ARE a failure!

2. Stop Making It Bigger Than it Really Is

This is one of those other ‘fun’ things human beings do; we blow things way out of proportion in our heads! In business, when you lose that big client you’ve been working on for weeks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. You start doubting yourself, your strategy, your entire business model right up to the point where you barely sleep because you’re working on pivoting the whole thing.

But what if that customer simply didn’t have the money to go for your service anyway? Or what if they just decided to go for someone who is cheaper but who offers less quality? Does that mean there’s something wrong with YOU? Or that this was the ONLY customer out there and that you’re now doomed forever?

Of course not, it simply means that THIS CUSTOMER wasn’t a match. It’s a bit like dating actually…So if you take this into consideration, could it be that you just feel like a failure instead of really not succeeding in that what you want to at this point in time?

3. Stop Thinking You’re The Only One Who Feels Like This

You’re not! With the possible exception of the true sociopaths, that feeling you’re feeling is very normal to EVERYONE. It might not seem like it on the outside – because people don’t like to acknowledge this remember – but I can guarantee you that it’s true. But unlike 99% of the world’s population, YOU’RE not going to let this feeling stop you in your tracks. Are you?

4. Stop Thinking You’re Supposed To Be Superhuman

In fact, it’s very likely that you’re already doing, learning and succeeding at WAY more than most other people are. But for entrepreneurs, somehow, that never seems to be enough. You don’t just want to be successful after a few years of hard work (which is normal). You want to be successful after only a few months. Because you’re special…or at least you think you are…

Well, here’s the truth: you ARE special! But…it’s just not very likely that you’re one of those – very very rare – entrepreneurial superstars that – seemingly – just added some hot water and got instant business success as a result.

5. Stop Being So Incredibly Stubborn

Entrepreneurs are stubborn…almost by default. It’s what makes them push forward in the hardest of times. But…if you’re not doing the right things right you might just be hammering a square peg through a round hole. Which will only add to that frustrated feeling you’re already having. So why not stop being so stubborn for a moment, stop hammering away on that what obviously is not working and ask for help?

No matter who you ask – a business mentor or coach, a befriended entrepreneur – someone with a neutral perspective on you and our business will be very likely to see what’s going on with a lot more clarity than you can and can guide you to a place that will feel a whole lot more comfortable.

6. Stop Being Afraid Of Failure

I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times before and you wouldn’t be in this pickle if you could do this. Right? I’m right there with ya!

But, if you get really rational about it, what’s the worst that could happen?

  • You might have to get a ‘real’ job for a while and start over on the side;
  • You might not be able to afford your rent anymore…but with Airbnb on the 1 hand and couchsurfing on the other, you should be able to work it out somehow;
  • You’ll have all the more experience to start over a whole lot faster;
  • You’ll be no less respected by anyone because it’s clear you gave it your all;
  • In a few years, when you’re an established and supersuccessful entrepreneur you’ll also have a cool failure story to tell;
  • None of your limbs will fall off;

Now that’s not too bad for a plan B is it? Failure is such a negative word. And the associated feeling is terrible and numbing. But really…how is giving it your all and not succeeding really the same as failing? Shouldn’t the definition of failure not be along the lines of ‘not even trying’ or ‘giving up when it gets hard’?

In other words: stop beating yourself up over this!

There’s really no need to feel like a failure at all because you’re sticking your neck out, you’re trying to make a difference and you’re still moving upward on that treacherous entrepreneurial mountain.

And that…is what success REALLY is.

Those Who Failed Their Way To Success

Quotes To Live By:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie

“Success is stumbling form failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“Don’t let success go to your head and failure to your heart” – Will Smith

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Why You Never Have Enough Time and What You Need to Do About It

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Has this ever happened to you? You had an assignment, and the deadline was far away. You didn’t work on it much, but in the back of your mind, that insistent little voice was always whispering, “I gotta get this assignment done.” (more…)

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6 Unusual Exercises to Effectively Increase Your Creativity Faster Than Ever

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Although a vast majority of people think that creativity is something you are born with, the truth is a bit different. While we cannot deny that you need natural talent to a certain extent, stimulating creative thinking is indeed a matter of practice. If you give this thought a bit of thinking, you can realize pretty quickly that even the most fascinating and creative minds have faced the lack of creativity at some point in their lives. (more…)

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3 Psychological Facts That Can Unleash Your Inner Power

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Some people will achieve great things. Others won’t. But why is that? We’re all just “talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the universe,” as Joe Rogan puts it. So why do some “talking monkeys” build 7 or 8 figure businesses, travel the world, and live the life of their dreams while the rest of us… well, wish we were living the life of our dreams. (more…)

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