Yet again, you dig deep for your gratitude attitude so you can do more than just slog through another awful workday.
But still, you might be thinking these thoughts:
Must be nice to have a job you love.
Must be nice to be so good at what you do.
Must be nice to have a financially rewarding career.
These sentiments are all too common in a let’s-settle-for-safe world while continuing to envy others.
You stay in a job where you are unhappy because you know you couldn’t find anything that pays better.
You are content with good enough because you don’t believe you have the talent to be something more.
You keep your head down and do what you’re told because you are afraid of the consequences if you do otherwise.
It is here you run smack dab into the Myth of Talent.
This is the lie that claims only other people have natural abilities that take them to amazing places, leaving everyone else condemned to workaday lives on the treadmill of mediocrity.
I was introduced to the phrase The Myth of Talent in an article written by Craig Tanner. In that piece, Tanner shared his journey from feeling “trapped, depressed and burnt out” to a fulfilling life as a professional photographer and more.
One nugget really resonated with me:
The truth about talent is this – talent is a set of skills you develop over time through desire.
Think about that simple premise:
Talent is a set of skills you develop over time through desire.
In So Good They Can’t Ignore You, author Cal Newport writes about career capital.
He argues that “traits that make a great job great are rare and valuable, and therefore, if you want a great job, you need to build up rare and valuable skills—which I call career capital—to offer in return.”
Talent—that set of skills you develop over time through desire—becomes career capital you can use to invest towards a better life.
Does this mean that you can be absolutely anything you want to be?
Of course not, as there is something to be said for other circumstances, such as the importance of physical traits to some career choices.
However, it does mean you can take a fresh look at where you are today and choose an area on which to focus.
Through this intentional pursuit you will grow your skills and have much more to offer in the workplace.
Plus, when you are more competent, you are happier.
Where is the best place to begin?
Right where you are, whether that is un- or underemployed, re-entering the workforce, or creating an entrepreneurial enterprise.
It’s time to give your doubts the heave-ho, because you do have talent.
Just imagine finally bringing this treasure chest of currency to light!
You may have already become deeply knowledgable about research, organization, problem-solving, or an area such as finances, relationships, or on how to do/create/build something, and you have become the go-to person for help.
If you look back, you know it came through lots and lots of deliberate practice, even though you may not have recognized it as such. This is the simple version of the path you took:
Act on the information. Check results.
Learn from your mistakes. Do it again, better.
Rinse and repeat.
A helpful resource to reveal your own talent(s) is the worksheet What do they know? from life/career coach Joel Boggess.
You’ll need just three of your closest friends and/or family to answer a few short questions that will provide you with lots of great food for thought.
Speaking from experience, the information I gathered from my family was priceless in helping me identify potential career capital. Let’s face it: sometimes people who know us and love us can see us more clearly than we can see ourselves.
Another great question courtesy of Joel was “What is it you just can’t not do?”
Read that again: What is it you just can’t not do?
What that means is that wild horses can’t keep you from doing these things, it is such second nature for you.
Sometimes your family tells you to stop, thank you very much, even though others find your contribution very helpful.
For me, that meant offering practical information to help people live happier lives. I’ve done it as far back as I can remember. As a matter of fact, I’ve joked that when I hear two moms talking in the supermarket in the next aisle over about a problem, it takes all the willpower I can muster to keep from speed walking on over and offering a resource or two.
I think my husband and children used to live in fear I would actually do that one day.
Be prepared for pushback from family, friends, and fellow business people, and especially from yourself.
You’ve heard him, that inner naysayer that says you aren’t good enough, it’s too hard, or that it won’t matter anyway.
When you hear that voice, it’s time to fight back.
As author Mel Robbins writes in Stop Saying You’re Fine, “To grow, you have to do the stuff that feels hard right now, not later.”
That being said, there are managers and/or companies that just won’t ever recognize the capital you offer as legal tender.
To quote Newport, they:
1. Present few opportunities to distinguish yourself by developing relevant skills that are rare and valuable
2. Focus on something you think is useless or perhaps even actively bad for the world
3. Force you to work with people you really dislike
At one point in my life, I was on a first name basis with #1 and #3.
I was sure that if I developed even more rare and valuable skills, my employer would appreciate my contribution, pay me more, and treat me better.
I’m also sure I don’t have to tell you how that worked out, but I will.
If you recognize any of these three, it may be time to re-evaluate how and where you are spending a third of your life.
To help you through that process, refer also to The Three Door Rule.
Remember as well you will reap benefits in your marriage by making a change.
You bet you do, and there is a world waiting for you to share it.
Question: What has been your experience with searching for and/or discovering your talents?
Image credit: Paul Inkles via Flickr