Archive for the Secrets of Nurturing Your Hidden Talents… Category

SECRETS OF NURTURING YOUR HIDDEN TALENTS… by Tom Rath

Posted in General Management, Life Management, Secrets of Nurturing Your Hidden Talents... with tags , , , on September 30, 2010 by Robert Finkelstein

In addition to the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, my own personal and business blogs, the recommended reading list, and information on my consulting business, I would like to share some of the writings of various thought leaders.

SECRETS OF NURTURING YOUR HIDDEN TALENTS… by Tom Rath

No matter how old you are, discovering and developing your hidden talents can lead to greater fulfillment in life — and possibly additional income.

So why don’t more people take advantage of their hidden talents? When people choose careers early in life, the decision is often based less on their talents than on an immediate need for income… or the expectation of high salaries… or on the career paths of family or friends. And, because the job market places a high premium on experience, changing occupations in midlife often means taking a cut in pay.

Later in life, people frequently think about the talents that they haven’t fully used. I spoke recently with a group of government employees. Their eyes lit up when they discussed retirement, a time when they could wake up each day eager to engage in activities that truly give them joy.

UNWRAPPING NATURAL GIFTS

To discover hidden talents…

Think back to early successes and times of great enjoyment. Don’t be afraid to dredge up memories that go far back in the past. The standing ovation from your classmates for that solo you sang in your high school choir, for instance, might be the last time that you used your musical talent before it languished in a career that didn’t require that aptitude. Or how about that heroic moment when you caught a pass in the end zone and won the game for your college football team? Too bad your talent in sports wasn’t needed later in life.

Or in your first job, you may have wowed the boss with your ability to speak Spanish to a group of visiting clients — only to spend the rest of your career in areas where language talents weren’t necessary.

Helpful: Write a list of the talents that you haven’t used for many years. As you write the list, some will come to mind that you haven’t even thought of in quite a long time.

Ask close friends and relatives about your talents.
Others often see our strengths more clearly than we do. If you have any doubts about this, just think about your own friends and the talents that they fail to take advantage of. Friends who knew you early in life can be especially helpful.

Try things that you’ve never done before but perhaps always wanted to.

Examples: Working on a political campaign… doing volunteer work… writing for the newsletter of your house of worship.

New activities often reveal talents and interests that have remained dormant for a long time.

NURTURING 101

It usually doesn’t take long to discover several hidden talents that you would like to develop. To determine which ones are worth nurturing, try several. Then concentrate on the one (or ones) that give you the most pleasure.

You’ll know that you’ve chosen the right one when you lose track of time in pursuing the talent. If you sang in the glee club, for instance, consider taking music lessons or joining a choir. If you enjoy practicing so much that you can barely stop, music is clearly a talent to nurture.

On the other hand, you might discover that singing today isn’t quite as enjoyable as it was several decades ago. If that’s the case, move on to another dormant talent.

Effective ways to nurture hidden talents…

Take lessons. In doing volunteer work, for example, you may discover a talent for leadership. In that case, classes at a local business school could be a way to hone your aptitude. Once nurtured, leadership ability could lead to starting your own volunteer organization or even a profitable consulting business.

Get expert input.
No matter which talent you want to nurture, you probably know people with the same interest who can offer advice. If you don’t, ask around at the clubs and organizations that you belong to. Or ask your friends if they have acquaintances with knowledge in your field of interest.

If you were once talented in sports, for example, talk with friends who have been involved in sports, such as amateur or professional athletes, high school coaches or employees at a local gym. They’ll almost certainly have advice on how to get back into the game — perhaps as a player on a senior circuit or as a coach to an amateur team.

Or say that after working on a community newsletter, you rediscover your talent for writing. Seek out friends who are experienced in journalism, advertising or editing. They’ll know of ways to nurture your talent and could also point you to part-time writing jobs in your area.

Smart move: Consider the experts who advise you as potential partners in a business. If you want to nurture a talent for gardening, for example, your friends might recommend that you speak with a local nurseryman. If the two of you hit it off, you might suggest teaming up to start a landscaping business.

As people grow older, they rarely think that they need mentors. In fact, we can always use the advice of those with wisdom and experience. So when one or more people point you in the right direction, think of them as mentors. Keep in touch, and express your thanks whenever you have a success.

Example: If your hidden talent is painting and a local artist recommends a teacher who guides you on a path to a gallery exhibition, invite them both to the show. Share the credit, and more help will always come your way.

– Tom Rath

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session, for more information, please refer to my Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email me at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. I welcome your comments below. Thank you.