We each have skills, gifts and/or talents that we are naturally good at and love to do! Some of these unique talents we know about and some may be waiting to be discovered or re-discovered. Often we don’t recognize our talents as we think everyone finds that particular activity as easy to do as we do. In some cases we may have buried our talent after being told there was no money to be made using it or we may have followed a career path that our parents thought would be better for us.
Imagine how energizing it would be to live your life using your unique talents most of the time, whether it be in work or play!
To discover your unique talents consider these ‘clues’:
- Time flies when you are doing the activity.
- You’re skilled at the activity. If you haven’t been using the talent you may be a bit rusty
but will quickly come up to speed.
- Other people may comment on how good you are at an activity yet you may think ‘Isn’t everyone good at this?’
- You feel energized during and even after doing the activity.
- You’d do it for free.
Here are three exercises that can assist you in finding your unique talents:
1. Create a list of activities that you’re good at and determine if they meet the criteria in the ‘clues’ listed above.
Consider activities you loved to do as a child that you no longer partake in. You may have been told that art, for example, was not a good career choice so you stopped drawing. Perhaps you were told or thought that women didn’t fly planes. You may find your mind telling you it’s silly to include a certain activity on your list. If you are (or were) good at and it fits the criteria from the list above, write it down. You may rediscover a unique talent during this process.
Note: You may be very good at a skill or activity that you don’t like to do. This would not be considered a unique talent.
Also think of activities that you’ve been drawn to or wanted to try but haven’t. Approximately eight years ago I was asked to think about activities I thought I might be good at but hadn’t tried. When I wrote down writing, I started to tear up. I had never considered writing as an option as I found the rules of grammar perplexing and I had a very trying semester in first year English in university. Within 6 months of that day I took a teleclass on creating ebooks and then wrote my first ebook – How to Become a Coach.
I don’t consider writing to be my unique talent, but it is a skill that I enjoy and want it to be part of my daily activities.
2. Ask for Feedback
Ask people you trust (such as family members, friends, colleagues) to answer the questions listed below. Sometimes others can see things you’re skilled at better than you can, usually because they’re not good at it. You can send a form by email or just ask them.
- What do you think are my strengths?
- What activities do you think I’m naturally good at, do with ease, and/or am passionate about?
- If I was to change professions, what do you think I would be great at and why?
When you get the results back, see if any patterns emerge. Perhaps 4 of 6 people will say you’re very skilled at explaining complicated procedures in a simple and easy to understand way. If that’s something you love to do and time flies when you’re doing it, then that may be a unique talent.
Another person may think you’d make a great professional organizer. If you don’t like helping other people get organized then it’s probably a skill you became good at but it may not be a unique talent. It’s really important not to take anything personally. The information is just feedback from another person’s perspective.
To take this exercise a step further, take any activity that appeared as part of a pattern or any activity that resonated with you and run it through the criteria in exercise 1.
3. Rate your activities at work and home for a week.
If you completed exercise 1 in “Is It Time for A New Career?” (Part 1 of this series), then you have already completed the ‘at work’ portion of this exercise. Doing it again for activities you do at home may uncover some additional insights.
In a notepad write down each activity you do throughout the week as you do it. Give it a rating of 1 to 10 with 10 being something you love doing. Also make a note about your energy level during and after the activity. Refer to the ‘clues’ listed above. Did time seem to fly by?
At the end of the week review your notes and ratings. Did you give a 8, 9 or 10 to any activities? Highlight these or write them down. How can you focus more on these highly rated activities? How can you do less of your least ranked activities? Can you delegate them to someone else?
It May Take Time…
If you do all three of the exercises, you’ll be able to get clues from different angles and different perspectives. Look at the answers from all the exercises and see if any patterns emerged.
It may take some time before your unique talent(s) are obvious to you, especially if they’re not of the mainstream variety. It’s easy to tell if someone is a gifted singer, musician, chef, or athlete as it’s usually very obvious and it may be expressed at a very young age. It may not be so obvious if your unique talents have to do with how your brain works or how you think and analyze things. Stick in there and let the answers be revealed.
Stay tuned for the next article in this series: Researching a New Profession
If you missed Part 1: Is it Time for a New Career or a New Job?
Resources For You
1. Forms for Exercises
If you would like a form I created to record your answers to the above exercises, please email me at info @ how-to-become-a-coach.com The form isn’t finalized yet so I’d appreciate any feedback you have once you’ve used it. Do you need more space to write? Two pages of activities versus one? Have I missed anything? etc.
2. Want to Know More About This Topic?
Have you read the transcript of an interview I did with Barb Richards on “Career Transition” yet? Just subscribe to the Becoming a Coach newsletter (top box on right).
In the interview we covered: 1) How to Know if it’s Time for a New Job or a New Career; 2) 5 Mistakes People Make During Career Transition; and 3) 3 Tips for Transitioning to Self-Employment.