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Identify Your Talents in 9 Easy Steps

Identify Your Talents in 9 Easy Steps

What are you good at? Would you know what to say if someone asked you to identify your talents? You may balk at the question. While you may secretly believe you don’t have any talent, you do. Often it’s hard to identify because your talent can feel like second nature. What you assumed was easy could actually be really difficult for other people.

So how do you identify your talent? Try these 9 steps to identify talents.

1. Identify What You Love to Do

Write down a list of activities you enjoy. It can include anything from hula hooping to making chicken pot pie. Without any judgment write it all down. If you’re stuck, try asking yourself these questions:

  • What do you enjoy doing without being asked?
  • What do people have to drag you away from doing?
  • What activities make you lose track of time?
  • What would you do for free?

To be fair, this list is more of a passion list than a talent list. For instance, I love dancing but that doesn’t mean I will try out for the next Step Up movie. Often, though, to truly be talented at something requires hundreds of hours of practice. Passion can give you the energy and joy to help you reach talent.

2. Know Your Interests

While similar to knowing what you love to do, interests are more about what you love learning, reading or watching. Some questions to ask yourself include:

  • What types of things do you like to read?
  • What do you enjoy talking about?
  • What do you enjoy watching?
  • What topics catch your eye?

In all likelihood, this may dovetail with your passions. Someone who likes to play music may find themselves reading music blogs online, too. But, you may also be interested in business and following the financial news.

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An interest list can help you identify possible combinations of passion and interest. From there, you can start taking your talents to new levels.

3. Identify Previous Successes

For this list, write down successes you’ve experienced in the past. This list can reveal your talents that you’ve been using without even realizing it. Some things to consider as you write include:

  • Classes you rocked at
  • Assignments or rojects you did well
  • Anything that made you say, “I did great in this”

Once you’ve written this list down, go through it. What are similar about these successes? What did you do well in them? Perhaps you were a natural facilitator in conflict. Maybe you are great at raising funds for organizations. It may take some time to find the similarities, but you will find your own patterns to emerge from your list. These patterns are crucial to identifying talents you can use for the future.

4. Take Some Tests

Test Taking

    For further clarification, there are some great personality quizzes. Myers-Briggs, DISC, or even the Book ‘Please Understand Me’ by Kiersey can help you gain further insight on yourself. None of these quizzes on their own can identify your unique talents. They do give you more insight on yourself, how you process things and what energizes or causes you fatigue. They can help make it easier for you to discover your strengths, where your talents may lie.

    5. Interview Someone

    Sometimes, an outside perspective can be clearer than your own. Talk to people who know you well: friends, family member, even a mentor. Ask them questions like:

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    • What do they think you are good at?
    • What have you’ve succeeded at doing previously?
    • What makes you light up?

    Keep an open mind while they talk. You don’t have to agree with everything they say. Still, the answers they have may surprise you.

    6. Know Your Weaknesses

    Just as everyone has talents, we all have weaknesses. Mine include going to bed before 11 pm and resisting social media, amongst others. The fact is, we can’t be good at everything. None of us is perfect, and acknowledging our weaknesses can help show what we are good at.

    It can be a bit painful, but write them down. Questions to ask yourself include:

    What takes you a long time to do?
    What do you procrastinate?
    What makes you feel awkward or uncomfortable?

    Knowing these will help you identify any weak spots in your passions and interests. This will be helpful to know for later.

    7. Start Putting it Together

    You’ve done the research; now you have to see what comes forward. You don’t have to comb through every note or thought from each of these lists. Some questions to ask yourself include:

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    Are there patterns emerging from your interests, successes and passions? What are they?
    What can you combine from these lists?
    What do you dream of doing?

    From here, you may identify multiple talents, or just one that you want to focus on.

    8. Practice, and Practice Well

      No matter what, you have to practice.

      It may come naturally to you, but you still have to work at mastery. In identifying a talent, this step is a trial by fire. Practice your talent, and practice it a lot. You don’t have to spend eight hours a day at it. If you have a full time job, try spending just 30 minutes a day.

      Groaning at trying to find 30 minutes? You can do it. Take a look through your day. Are you watching an hour or two of tv when you get home from work? Turn off the TV. If you’re struggling, put a timer on for 30 minutes, and don’t turn it on until the time has passed.

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      There are other, less obvious points in your day when you could practice. Perhaps you spend more than 25 minutes commuting. If you can, take that time to work on your talent. Sing while you’re in the car, or giving a speech. Can you take time during your lunch break? See where you have pockets of time. You can reallocate time away from Facebook or Twitter, and towards your talents. This is the real test that will prove whether or not your talent will stick. Is this a possible long term vocation or just a passing phase?

      More than just practice, you need to practice well. If you’re serious about your talent, you also need to know your weaknesses. The difference between good and great isn’t the number of hours they put in, but that they work at improving their weaknesses. Working on weakness isn’t easy, but creating a reward system for yourself can help you get through the uncomfortable aspect of looking at your own weakness.

      9. Find a Mentor

      If you’ve been practicing regularly, and want to continue with your talent, find someone with more experience than you in the field. It doesn’t have to be a nobel prize winner. What you do want is someone with some more experience who can give good advice.

      More importantly, knowing what you need and want from a mentor is crucial. Do you need support? Do you need someone to challenge you? Your personality tests and strengths and weaknesses will be helpful in figuring out these answers.

      Not sure where to look? Some good places include:

      • LinkedIn networks. If you went to college, look at your alumni network. This can be a great way to reach out to people who may do what you love. Introduce yourself and ask to meet them for coffee to learn about their experiences.
      • Networking Events. Go to events in your field of interest. Conferences, meeetup groups, or just happy hours. See who you meet, and reach out to them after the event with a follow up email
      • Ask for Help. Mention to friends and family you are looking for a mentor. They may know someone who can help you that you never thought of before.

      Identifying a talent isn’t easy. But following something you are not only good at but also passionate about will make your life more rewarding. More so, you’ll be giving something meaningful back to the world that only you can provide. Perhaps it’s your unique take on manufacturing stocks. Maybe you do a wicked Jazz guitar. Whatever your talent is, it’s worth pursuing.

      Featured photo credit: Dusty J via photopin.com

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      Published on August 4, 2020

      How Smart Goal Setting Helps You Make Lasting Changes

      How Smart Goal Setting Helps You Make Lasting Changes

      SMART goal setting is one of the most valuable methods used by high achievers today to actualize their life goals time after time. SMART goal setting is the inverse of random or carefree goal setting without strategy.

      Perhaps, you’ve always wished to get back in shape, get an annuity, or take control of your finances, but you failed to act. When you approach your goals with a care-free and nonchalant attitude, you’re less likely to achieve them.

      You should have a strategic goal setting method in place, and learning how to set smart goals is imperative in this case. The method is time-tested and purposeful, meaning it can help you achieve your goals now.

      To achieve your goals consistently and join the pack of high achievers out there who have consistently achieved many of their goals, you must be prepared to do what these people have been doing, and be ready to do the right thing: SMART goal setting.

      What Is the SMART Model for Setting Goals?

      SMART goal setting is a goal-setting method that considers certain factors about a goal relative to the person setting it. These factors are simply the five different letters in the SMART acronym for goal setting.

      It is relative to the person setting the goal because what is true for A may not be true for B; or what is possible for A or within A’s ability to achieve may not be possible for B or within B’s ability to achieve.

      What does the goal setting acronym SMART stand for?

      • S—Specific
      • M—Measurable
      • A—Achievable
      • R—Realistic/Relevant
      • T—Time-bound

      Is it possible that this acronym can make a long lasting impact in your life?

      Is it possible that a mere goal setting metric like SMART can help you achieve so many of your unfulfilled goals?

      Is it possible that if you practice SMART goal setting, you will be able to have faster results, understand your goals better, overcome the habit of procrastination, and achieve a lot?

      The power to achieve your goals is in your hands.

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      It is important to extend the inquiry by asking: How many times have you said you’ll do “X,” but failed to do so?

      We all have goals, and we all have 24 hours each day at our disposal. While some people find it easy to achieve their goals without procrastinating, some find it difficult to do so.

      For some people who have succeeded again and again in achieving their goals, they have simply found an easy way of doing this. Is there something they know that you don’t?

      How Smart Goal Setting Makes a Lasting Impact

      Smart goal setting examples can be found all around you. Through SMART goal setting, Stephen Cooley was able to grow his real estate business to the point of closing at $110 million in sales when the average price point of homes was between $100,000 – $200,000 in South Carolina[1].

      Through SMART goal setting, Steve Jobs was able to improve the fortunes of Apple and prevent the company from going bankrupt, even when it had barely 90 days left before being declared so.

      SMART goal setting can make a lasting impact in your life in several ways.

      Make Your Goal Clearer

      When you use the SMART criteria to set goals, it is easier for you to understand the various phases of your goal.

      By using SMART goal setting, you’re able to ask yourself relevant questions pertaining to your goal.

      Motivate You Into Acting on Your Goals

      When you use SMART goal setting and break down the goal into smaller goals or milestones, the bigger goal no longer looks intimidating or impossible.

      Jack Canfield, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, wrote in his book How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be about how they applied the rule of five in marketing their book, Chicken Soup, and were able to make the book a best seller after some months[2]. The rule of five simply means doing five specific things every day that will move you closer to achieving your goal.

      In order not to be overwhelmed, you would have to measure your performance using the right metrics. Here we are considering the Measurable and Achievable aspects of the SMART acronym. It is critical that you measure yourself in terms of lead measures.

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      What are lead measures? They are the things you do that leads you closer to your goals. On the other hand, you would have to avoid “lag measures.”

      While lag measures mean a successful outcome that you wished for and got, they can be emotionally draining and deceitful because, whenever they don’t happen, you can become discouraged.

      Therefore, it is better to stick to lead measures.

      Help You Save Time

      You can achieve more when you use SMART model goal setting.

      To be strategic, your goal would have to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. If you can’t identify any of these points in your goal, you probably will be wasting your time on a wild goose chase.

      When your goals are written down, it’s easier for you to go into action mode.

      Improve Your Self-Discipline

      Self-improvement is an important thing for everyone to do periodically. When you set SMART goals, it makes you realize that you have to sit up and work on achieving them.

      How to Set SMART Goals

      See the source image

        To make your SMART goals work, use the following tips:

        Specific

        Every goal ought to be specific. It is important to guard against making vague goals because even when they have been achieved, you may not know. This is because you weren’t specific enough.

        For example, “I will start planning toward retirement” is vague. Rather than write that, you could say, “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan.” This is more specific.

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        When you are specific on your goal, it’s easier for you to identify all its components and work accordingly toward achieving it.

        Measurable

        Your goals must be measurable. When they are measurable, it’s easier for you to follow through.

        A goal like this is not measurable: “I want to make millions of dollars.” You can make it more measurable by saying, “I want to make one million dollars selling one hundred thousand copies of my book at ten dollars each.”

        Also, using our SMART goal setting examples while explaining the Specific acronym, you can make the goal more measurable by saying, “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan and saving $500 every month.”

        Achievable

        How realistic or actionable is your goal? Is it practical enough to fit into a given time frame? Is it something you are able to achieve in your capacity?

        You would only be setting yourself up for failure if you sets goals that are not reasonable.

        A goal like this is highly unrealistic and, therefore, not achievable: “I want to be the Governor of Texas in six months,” especially since the elections will be coming up in three years.

        Goals must be written down relative to the experiences of the one setting them. They must resonate with you. It is important that you have at least some of the resources needed to actualize this goal.

        It is also important that you consider your time frame. When the time frame to achieve a complex goal is too short, it is rare that such goal will be completed.

        Thus, using our previous example, if you write “I want to make one million dollars in ten days selling one hundred thousand copies of my book at ten dollars each,” you would only be setting up yourself for failure.

        This is especially true if you’re not a popular author or if you’ve never sold even up to one thousand copies of any of your previous books, whether e-copy or in print.

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        Realistic/Relevant

        Before you proceed to making the commitment toward that goal, you need think about how realistic and relevant it is.

        Being realistic means you should be willing to make all the commitments required for that goal to be achieved. If your goal is relevant, it fits into the life you’ve imagined for yourself.

        Time-Bound

        Every goal must have a commencement date and an end date written down. It is also important that you break down your goals into phases, chunks, bits, or milestones.

        The act of having deadlines set to your goals is ample motivation that drives you into action. Without a deadline, it is not possible for you to know if you’re making headway with your goals.

        “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan and saving $500 every month for the next twenty five years” is a time-bound goal.

        Remember that some goals are short-term while some are long-term. It is important to always bear this in mind, because this will help you in making a clear and realistic strategy when SMART goal planning.

        Without SMART goal setting in view, much of our goals may likely end in our minds, on paper, or just midway into implementation. SMART goal setting reveals to us all the action points of our goals and helps us to have an awareness of every aspect of our goals.

        The Bottom Line

        What matters at the end of the day is what you do with the contents of this article because the power to achieve your goals is in your hands.

        It is not enough to have a goal. It is not enough to put it down in writing. It is important to have a strategy in mind while putting it down. This strategy is a guideline or set of rules that point you in the right direction. It is SMART goal setting in the given circumstance.

        After writing down your goals, you will have to be ready to take action. There should be a clear action point. Write down what you need to do on daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

        When your goals are realistic, they make them worth the chase. One of the things to bear in mind is that, in order not to be overwhelmed by the daunting nature of your goals, remember to always break them into milestones, chunks, or bits. In fact, take one day at a time.

        Do not bother yourself with the one-year, three-year, five-year or ten-year plan as this may likely overwhelm you with fear and doubt. Let your focus be on each day. What will I be doing today? Consider this and go for it.

        More on the SMART Model for Setting Goals

        Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

        Reference

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