Monday, January 3, 2011

Finding Your Talent

When people see my work, they often comment that they wish they had some sort of talent.  I find that ironic since I grew up thinking I had no real talent.  Sure, I was good at academic stuff, but I didn't think I was good at anything considered a talent.  My dad was an artist and it really bothered me that I couldn't draw or paint to save my life.  There was no way I would have believed that one day I would be playing around with Photoshop and creating posters and invitations.  I still can't draw something from scratch, but I have developed a talent for putting things together and altering other images to fit what I need.

Everyone has some kind of talent.  It's just a matter of discovering it. One of the best ways to figure out what you're good at is to ask your closest friends and coworkers.  Talent isn't limited to sewing, art, crafts, sports, and so on.  You may be the person everyone sees as being highly organized or the person who can solve problems in almost any situation.  Are you the person who can teach others or the one who people go to for advice?  All of these are talents and you can use them.

In one of my business management classes a few years ago, we did a series of exercises to help us figure out what our career area should be.  What surprised me was that it wasn't only about discovering our aptitudes.  The best indicator of career success was enjoying your work.  My oldest son is an interesting example of this.  He's every bit the geek, doing complicated math in his head, modifying iPhones and PSPs without fear, and working his way around computers like no other. Even though we expected him to pursue some technological career, he ended up pursuing training in culinary arts.  We never even saw that one coming!  He loves cooking and experimenting in the kitchen and ended up rising to the top of his class and becoming the sous chef (second in command). 

One of the great things about having an Etsy shop is that I can see and appreciate some of the talents I have.  Some are obvious, while others are behind the scenes.  In addition to graphic design and tatting (visible in the shop), I have organizational and business skills that keep us up and running.   My marketing skills have helped me to connect with others on Facebook, Twitter, on this blog, and in person to raise awareness for Native and Pilgrim and increase business.  In December, this all came together as one of my business contacts ordered nine tatted necklace and earring sets that were to be used as gifts for a holiday event.  My dear hubby (Cricut Man) designed and made the coolest ornament gift bags to put them in, making a great conversation starter at the event.

If you still can't figure out what talents you have, I want you to do the following exercises:
  1. Write down three times where you enjoyed what you were doing and give some details.  As you tell about what you were doing (in detail) and what made you happy about it, you will notice some of the things you do well.
  2. Write down compliments people have given you.  
  3. Ask several close friends, family members, and friends to tell you what they think you are good at or enjoy doing.
As you look over the results, you should see some patterns that will point you in some direction.  This is a good exercise to do periodically since our talents change over the years.

Texas MonkeyWhat interesting talents did you discover you had?

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