In their research, Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton found that every person has at least one talent – something which the person can do better that the next 10,000 persons. It could be singing, dancing, public speaking, painting, writing, running fast, running long, jumping, dribbling a football, and so on.
Our talent is something which if we focus and improve upon, would make us better than the next 100,000 persons.
How do I know that something is my talent?
We can tease them out with these two sets of questions.
Set one, is like brainstorming – we get as many possible talents (the suspects) as we can by asking ourselves these questions.
- What do I love to do?
- What do I do happily without been asked?
- What do people consistently tell me about what I am good at? Especially, if they are different people and better still if they don’t know each other.
- “What makes me special?” Ask this question of people whom you trust who can and would give you an accurate, honest answer.
- What activity do I like to read, talk and/or write about?
- What is easy and effortless for me that most other people find hard to do as well as me?
- Think back to your childhood for those proudest moments and accomplishments for clues. What were you doing?
- Think back to your childhood – what were you doing when you were happiest?
- What activities make me lose track of time and miss my meals?
This list of questions is adapted from Martin Seligman’s work on strengths.
- What do you feel when you are using this talent?
- Do you feel a sense of ownership and authenticity, that “This is the real me”?
- Do you feel excited when displaying this talent? Even if, you are displaying it for the first time.
- Do you improve and learn fast as you develop this talent?
- Do you continuously yearn for new ways to use this talent?
- Do you continuously learn new ways to use this talent?
- Do you feel a sense of inevitability in using this talent? That you will do well and triumph, no matter what difficulty?
- Do you feel that the more you use this talent the more energised you get, instead of feeling exhausted and drained from the exertion?
- Do you continuously create and pursue personal projects that revolve around this talent?
- Do you feel joy, enthusiasm and even ecstasy when using this talent?
Congratulations! You have found your voice, and now by all means SING!