An Overview of Discovering Your Strengths and Talents
Identifying your unique talents is one of the first steps to discovering your life purpose. If you want to understand why you exist and what your unique contribution will be to the world, you need to understand how you’ve been created.
Did you know your life is no accident? With over 7 billion people on the planet, there is no one who is exactly like you. Every single person has a unique combination of abilities and strengths. Isn’t that incredible?
You have something special to offer to the world if only you could tap into what those unique qualities are. Our goal with the lifeplan process is to enable you to share at a moment’s notice what you naturally do best. We consider these strengths, your core talents. By talents, I mean the things you do exceedingly well.
What Talents Are Not
Before we dive into more of what talents are, I want to affirm what talents are not. Skills and talents are not the same. Skills can be developed through hard work and consistent effort. For example, you may be good at communication or perhaps you’re great at organizing. These are fantastic skills. However, other people can develop these same skills with enough commitment. On the contrary, a talent is something you were born with or a natural ability you possess proficiency in prior to any outside influence.
What Talents Are
Your talents may be honed and grown over time, however they are not skills you can acquire. I often refer to talents as the things you do where you seem to have a disproportionate amount of return on your investment of energy when you do them. Others likely comment on your ability to do “that thing” and you tend to feel amazing when you’re executing in your talent zone.
Let me share an example from my own life. I was an English major in college and spent much of my life working in publishing. Therefore, writing is a skill I possess. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a writer. Even as a child I wrote stories and long essays with ease. My teachers often affirmed my skill as a writer and I received a lot of praise from my work. However, my talent is not in writing. My talent is in sharing wisdom I’ve gained with others. Writing is a vehicle for me to use my primary talent as an insight communicator. I have an uncanny ability to take knowledge from one area and disseminate it to others in a way that is often compelling and inspiring. I don’t think about this, I just do it. Or rather, it happens through me.
Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making, perhaps best captures the essence of talents passing through us in his book on restoring a creative calling. He refers to talent as places of grace in our lives. Instead of thinking of talents as ego outposts of excellence he takes a more humble perspective. Crouch writes, “When we undertake the work we believe to be our vocation, we experience the joy and humility that come only when God multiplies our work so that it bears thirty, sixty and a hundredfold beyond what we could expect from our feeble inputs.”
This is why talents cannot be equated to mere strengths. They’re almost nonsensical. In our hunt for talent, we look for more than what you are simply good at doing. We want to know the good work that passes through you. We seek to find what you excel at that seems beyond what you could reasonably be expected to do in your own power.
Have you experienced this kind of otherworldly gifting?
I believe you have even if unaware. If you’re able to read this post, you’ve likely encountered a moment in your life when you put your talent to good use. I’m here to help you uncover those moments so you can discover your talents for more intentional use.
Next week I’ll share the number one reason clients tell me they don’t know what they are good at doing. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. Do you think you know what your talents are? Are you struggling to identify what you’re exceedingly good at in your life? Either way, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share where you are in your journey.
If you are ready to dive deeper into discovering your talents, I have a brand new course coming out soon! The goal is to help you refine why you exist and what your unique purpose is in life. If you want to be one of the first to hear about it, hop on the list to be notified before it goes live.