Got talent or doubts?It’s a brand new week with the same old job.


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:

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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.

It didn’t.

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.

Got talent?

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


About the author 

Kim Hall

Kim Hall created Too Darn Happy to help you build stronger and more joyful relationships through offerings of fresh perspectives and practical advice. Having been a wife for thirty years and a mom for almost as long to two daughters, she also shares occasional cautionary tales of her own character building life experiences. Kim recently authored her first ebook, Practicing Gratitude and Discovering Joy-Thirty Days to a Happier You. You can connect with Kim on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, too!

Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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  1. Pingback: The Myth of Talent: How a mistaken belief is holding you back
  2. Hi Kim – Thanks for the great information and encouragement. I love the idea of creating “career capital” – I’m going to share that concept with our college and young adult sons. I also like your definition of talent – “Talent is a set of skills you develop over time through desire.” I’m wondering if you would add “…and with practice” to that?

    1. Glad you liked those, Gaye, although I can’t take credit for either. Yes, I would absolutely add “and with practice” to the definition of talent. There is so much we can accomplish through practice!
      I’m tickled pink you are sharing this with your sons. What a priceless gift! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  3. This is so true, Kim. I remember thinking that experts were these people who had degree upon degree and a massive following. But recently I’m waking up to the reality that I can be considered an expert just because I’ve spent lots of energy and time researching, studying and applying myself in a certain area of passion and interest. That’s been an encouraging realization, so I resonate with all that you’ve shared here, my friend. You always have great practical and helpful ways to tackle the obstacles in our lives. Thanks so much! And love you’re new territory!

    1. You are an expert, Beth. Isn’t it nice to finally see yourself as such, though? Your advice on “messy” marriages is always spot on. Thanks for your kind words!

  4. I love this article and your advice and the expert advice as well. It’s so true. WE just have to push on and through and ignore the naysayer voice – whether it be ours or someone else’s.

    1. Thanks, Ilene. Ah, yes. That nasty resistance that keeps telling us we can’t or we’re not capable or we’re not worthy. Ugh. Have you read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield? I’m rereading it again. Great thoughts and inspiration on overcoming the resistance!

  5. Kim,
    I love the Craig Tanner quote and the fact that you use your talents as you write and bless others…I am realizing I cannot not write, or I must write, and I am taking a class to improve as a writer…blessings to you, my friend 🙂

    1. Boy, do your words resonate with me, Dolly. I can’t not do what I’m wired for. So glad to hear you are taking a writing course. It’s always good to invest in ourselves! Blessings back, and thanks for stopping by!

  6. Great post, Kim! Love the quotes and the inspiration. Creating is the thing I can’t not do. Creating changes for me at different times and during different life phases, but writing is my first and perhaps favorite way to create — though I love everything from photography to cooking to crafts. I’m still working on a way to incorporate all my passion into one solid business plan 😉

    1. Glad you found the post inspirational, Elizabeth Anne. I understand the drive to write and photograph. I know my fingers practically itch to do either! Prayers for you to find a way to put everything together!

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