4 Talent-Boosting Habits

Back to list

Talent - a particular aptitude, skill, ability of superior quality - is, according to multiple employer surveys, becoming increasingly elusive. Yet, everyone is potentially highly talented, possessing a particular blend of skills, experiences and strengths and with a unique contribution to make to humanity.

The problem is that, too often, this phenomenal potential remains untapped.

Here are four habits that will help propel you to excel in your particular talent - and succeed!

1) Stimulate your ambition. Successful people are passionate people. This need not necessarily mean 'extrovert' - in fact some of the world's most passionate people are quietly passionate. Ambition to succeed, to stretch, to not be constrained by limiting conditioning is the result of productive habits of thought and behaviour. And like appetite, ambition can be stimulated. Setting meaningful goals and visualising what success looks and feels like will propel you to succeed. I ran a marathon last year, one of 40 life-goals; despite my lack of fitness, training was fun (mostly) as I held fast to the image of crossing the finishing line on my feet (I finished in 4 hrs 24 mins in the end). Running this week without a goal has felt terrible. I need to find another way to stimulate my ambition to be healthy and fit.

What are you particularly passionate about? What do you care about the most in life? What would success look and feel like to you in these areas? Imagine, dream, visualise!

2) Invest in depth. Talent can begin to show itself and then fade away unless we develop habits of taking care, nurturing and fostering growth. The best athletes in the world take care of themselves. The best relationship managers take care of their relationships. The best musicians practice and practice. Allocating the best of our resources - time, energy, finances - to our talents enables us to stretch to our fullest potential. Too often, though, we invest in secondary skills, because they're easier or we allocate our effort to meeting other people's expectations about what they think talent looks like. That might make us good or even very good in our particular roles, but it won't make us GREAT!

What skill, aptitude - talent - do you need to bring back into focus? What will you cut (or at least trim) to enable you to do this? What can you do to boost your investment in truly meaningful skills? Only you can make this happen!

3) Open your eyes. Timing is everything! Developing awareness of when and how your unique talents can be deployed will position you for maximum success. Read the right journals, connect with other experts in your field, attend the conference, listen with your ears and your eyes, spot the signs. These habits develop out of a proper sense of personal responsibility. In our work, using human data to analyse success traits, we are seeing a steady decline in awareness-skills, both mentally and physically. We speculate that helicopter-parenting (parents hovering over children, ready to jump in and solve problems) might be having an impact. Certainly, crossing the road whilst looking into your smart-phone creates low-awareness of potential risks!

Another way to look at this is as 'constructive fear'. Allowing valid concerns to hone and drive our talent will propel us forward. Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal explains this exceptionally well in her TED talk, "How to Make Stress Your Friend". Take 14 minutes to watch it via www.ted.com.

4) Plan Properly! "Proper planning prevents poor performance." We've all heard it! Yet effective planning and goal setting remains horribly elusive. Talent will flourish as we take the necessary step by step actions to solve problems, overcome obstacles and grow in confidence as we do. Without planning and goal-setting, we are at the mercy of wishful thinking and circumstance. A positive, hopeful attitude is the extension of effective goals being achieved time and time again. Goals that bring change for the better.

For goals and plans to be effective, they need to be meaningful; connecting with our unique talents and strengths. They need to be SMART(IE); There's nothing new about SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) and even adding Interesting and Energising will be familiar territory. Yet we seem to struggle to set goals for ourselves that are SMART. Our analysis shows that writing goals down and making them SMART makes them 38 to 41 TIMES more likely to work. The reality is that we simply don't make enough time to write good goals.

What SMART goal can you write today to help you grow your talents? If you don't have time today, when will you make time?

Four habits for developing your talent - ambition, accountability, awareness and agility - can be measured with human data. We are helping individuals and teams to identify their habits, then focus their efforts for growth. The result - phenomenal potential is untapped!