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  • Writer's pictureMaxine

How to use your talents to kick ass at work

In my role a Gallup Strengths Coach, I meet many professionals that don’t have a clear idea of what they are great at, what makes them unique and what gives them an edge. They can’t easily identify or name their natural talents and therefore miss out on opportunities to leverage them more powerfully.

Too often, they are unaware of their talents because they don’t seem remarkable or valuable or they take them for granted.

Because of this, they fail to benefit from a huge and amazing inner resource that provides their best and most reliable access to success.

Gallup research proves that your best bet for success in your career lies in building on the talents that come most naturally to you, rather than focusing on your weaknesses. Moreover, it’s by developing your talents into strengths that allows you to start performing at your best and reach peak performance at work.

When you tap into your strengths, your whole world can change.

In this post, you will learn how to discover your talents and ways to develop them to kick ass at work.

What are talents?

Understanding your greatest natural talents is the first step to becoming more successful at work.

Every single one of us has unique talents that make us exceptional. We all have something that nobody else can do.

You might think of talent as the ability to sing, run, or play the piano, but it’s more than that. Your unique talents can be your natural ability to develop relationships, influence others, think strategically, or execute tasks.

Gallup defines talent as patterns of thought, feeling or behavior that can be productively applied.

You may not even realize when you are leveraging your talents, as they show up naturally and using them often seems effortless. When you are using your talents, you feel as if you’re in the zone or in a state of flow. They leave you feeling energized and provide a great sense of joy and satisfaction.

Talents are what draw you toward certain interests, people, and situations, and they are behind your personal successes at work and in your personal life. Identifying your talents is an important step in your journey to success, but it doesn’t stop there.

Leveraging your talents to achieve excellence

Just having talent on its own is not enough to achieve greatness. Your talents must be developed into strengths to reach a high level of success at work.

Gallup defines a strength as the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance in a specific activity. In other words, strengths are inner superpowers that consistently produce the results you want. They become the secret weapon you can depend on to achieve your most ambitious goals. How amazing is that?

So if the key to success lies in using your strengths, developing your talents into strengths becomes essential.

How to develop your talents into strengths

To develop your talents into strengths, you will need to invest in them and understand how and when to use them most effectively.

A talent becomes a strength when it is cultivated with knowledge, skills, and experience. For example, a person that has a natural ability to communicate and put thoughts into words might gain value from advanced public speaking training. This person might also develop this talent by developing storytelling skills. Speaking and presenting regularly will also allow this person to refine their craft. Their talent for communication will develop into a strength when combined with experience and specific communication skills. Talents develop into strengths when you start investing in them.

Talents also need to be understood, developed and used in a mature way. Although talents are always positive, their expression may not always be. In fact, talents can either be expressed in a constructive or destructive way. For example, someone who is talented in analyzing data and facts and has the natural ability to notice patterns and cause-effect relationships might use this talent to make meaningful sense of complex realities. On the flip side, this same talent can be expressed in an unhelpful way by over-analyzing or over-thinking a situation, causing decisions to not be made or actions to never be taken. Learning how to use your talents in a productive and positive way is key in your development.

Knowing when to use your talents is also an important element in developing your talents and producing the results you want. It's essential to plan how to use your talents to reach your goals or overcome your daily challenges. You'll also want to be strategic about your talents and figure out what talents will most help you meet your objectives. Being strategic is also about being self-aware of who you are and who you are not and knowing when to use your strengths and when to partner with others to reach your goals. Understanding the best way to leverage your strengths and the strengths of others are what will produce amazing results.

As Gary Vaynerchuk puts it: “Self-awareness is accepting your shortcomings and accentuating your strengths. It's being at peace with yourself and your skill set. Try to get to a place where you understand yourself and what your strengths are, then go ALL IN on them”.

Now it’s your turn…

The Clifton StrengthsFinder is an invaluable tool designed to help you identify and activate your talents for greater happiness and success. It is one of the most powerful tools on the market and has helped millions of people discover what they do best.

This assessment is the first step needed to achieve greatness at work. It measures the presence of talent in 34 general areas or themes and provides customized results that name your unique talents. Similar to your fingerprint, the sequence of your themes is unique to you. The odds of someone having the same five signature themes in the same order as you are 1 in 33 million.

After taking the assessment, work with a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach to understand and develop your talents and use them constructively and maturely. Coaching will also allow you to understand what it takes to be successful and unlock your true potential at work.

Performing at your best is possible and easier than you think. Your dominant talents are key to your personal development. By fostering them, you will pave the way to greater fulfillment and achievement. Also, by considering how you’re already using these talents, you can discover how you can cultivate them to be your best every single day.

When you approach your work, relationships, and community from your areas of strength, success follows. So what are you waiting for? Transform your world with Clifton StrengthsFinder today.


Maxine Skerrett is an Executive Coach and a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. Since 2015, she has worked with hundreds of professionals to discover what they do best and unlock their full potential at work. As the founder of Pure Bliss Coaching, Maxine helps organizations develop a strengths-based culture by offering StrengthsFinder workshops and coaching programs for leaders and teams.

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