High performance is connected to talents and strengths. Talents are present when we are young. Even though they are hard-wired into us, discovering them sometimes takes time.
For example, finding areas that kids naturally excel in at school or the right extracurricular activities to participate in doesn’t always happen on the first try. But if we pay attention to the emergence of talent, clues arise.
In fourth grade, the focus might be finding the right sport to join, or in the school band, finding the right instrument to play. Once discovered and developed, deploying talent becomes a rich source of joy, challenge, fulfillment, and healthy self-esteem.
As life fast-forwards, the “talent principle” follows us to work. Often thought of as the second violin to skills, our talents are one of the most significant things about us. They are a source of passion and often describe “how we show up in the world.”
Talents flavor our personal brand, so to speak. They give energy and motivation to what we do. They bring a source of fulfillment to our work while we work. They are part of what makes us stand out from others in the marketplace. They are what make us unique.
Just like in fourth grade, when we exercise our talents, they grow. When we pay attention to them, they get stronger. Add complementary skills, education, competencies, experiences, and practice, and they supersize.
When we develop mastery of our talents, they transform into strengths. Not all talents get developed. Not all talents transform into strengths. But all strengths were once raw potential and talent.
We are born with talent. We develop strengths. Talents are awesome but often still raw. Strengths are honed and consistently produce positive results in relationships and tasks.
Cultivating talent development so it transforms into strengths causes individuals, teams, and organizations to thrive and excel in new ways. We achieve more than we could ever expect. Why? Because we’ve tapped into something powerful, and that’s a human being fully alive.