Discovering Your Talents – How and Why It’s Important

In this article, we explore the importance of discovering and understanding your talents and skills, how you can go about developing and mastering them. Written by Letícia Miranda.

A Clean Desk with Drawing Pencils« Back to Articles

At some point in life it is highly likely that you’ll be asked by someone (you might even be the one asking yourself), what you’re good at. This is a relatively common question, but for some, it can cause distress. If you do not have an immediate answer to such a question – and it’s understandable that you might not, you may well come to the conclusion that you are not good at anything. Unfortunately, this way of thinking is harmful and unproductive.

Many coaching experts and psychologists believe that it takes a minimum of 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. That's right. 10,000 hours! The theoretical “gift" of being naturally good at something is merely a myth, because what really develops talent is practice. Now, when was the last time you put ten thousand hours of practice into mastering a new skill? The answer may be a clue to the answer you are looking for.

Reflecting on your skills, talents, competencies, and personal characteristics (see definitions below) is a great place to start in helping you to discover yourself and improve them. Begin with self-belief, promoting your strengths and neutralising your weaknesses. Do this on your resume, at work, in your social life and with your short-term goals. With time, depending on your goals, look at the weaknesses holding you back and the subsequent skills you need to develop.

Essentially, there are four factors that make up our capabilities. Bear with us. They are closely interlinked but we’ll explain the differences:

Ability
Ability is the technical skill required to perform certain tasks, developed from theory and practice. For example, driving a car or using a computer. Most professions can be carried out thanks to ability - skills, which add knowledge and experience. In isolation these cannot be considered a ‘gift’, as computers and robots can also be programmed with skills to replace human work.

Talent
Talent is the abilities that we are born with, which lead to a satisfactory performance both in learning and in the execution of skills. For example, the talent to negotiate, invent or communicate. There is a difference between possessing a skill and having the talent to perform that skill. A person with talent for a profession can learn to execute that profession far more easily. Talent can also be associated with vocation.

Competence
Competence is the total sum of talent with a skill. This association leads to superior results than those obtained by people who have only the talent or skill separately. For example, a Formula One racer is a person who adds the ability to drive cars with the natural talent to compete. It implies that the more skill and talent together, the greater the chances of success.

Personal Characteristics
This depends on the set of values, beliefs, paradigms, physical and psychogenic characteristics, and the influence of the external environment. This can be transformed by adding new experiences and is dependant on each person's way of life. An example here would be diet and fitness level in sport.

So, how can I discover my talents?

Now that we’ve outlined the important factors and aspects to our capabilities and talents, it’s time to explore what our true talents are. But how? Below are three quick and effective ways to work out what your talents are and to truly discover your best self.

1. Call on Those Who Know You
Ask your closest friends and family members what they think you do best and what you are good at. If you don't want to ask directly, lookout for and think about compliments you usually receive, relating to things you have done.

2. Unsure? Try it!
That's right, the best way to get to know yourself and learn about your talents is to invest in a range of different experiences. Try new activities you've never tried before and even if you find that you're not as good at them as you hoped you might be, you’ll be discovering more about yourself in doing so.

3. Explore Memories
Think back to times when you practiced something and didn't even feel the time passing you by. The chances are, if the time flew by, then talent may have to do with this! When you're good at something, it's common to enjoy spending time on, and getting involved with, it.

Think of your actions that led to the resolution of a problem, helped someone, or created something new and exciting. It is extremely important to remember and acknowledge your accomplishments. These will help you to truly discover yourself and your talents. After you've put all these steps into practice and figured out what your skills are, what do you do? The first thing is to exercise them, as no skill can stand alone. It is vital to practice and continually work to improve.

The second is to look for other professionals who can give you the necessary guidance, such as a mentor and courses that can help you to channel your gifts.

In addition, a great way to grow professionally with what you know how to do is to show it to the world and share it with others. For example, let's suppose your hobby is graphic design. Create a blog or YouTube channel to review and share your graphic design insights. The most important thing is to become a reference on the subject, no matter what.

Someone, somewhere in the world, will find you and call you to work for a company. You can start to gain experience and then start your own business or find people who believe in your ideas and want to invest in them. Start now. And if you're looking for that mentor to help you, click here to join PushFar free today and find your mentor match.
Mentoring Solutions: PushFar
We are a global mentoring solution for individuals and organisations! We can help you get a mentoring scheme up and running in minutes or help you to find mentors, mentees and career progression.