It occurred to me today that maybe it’s time to breakdown a few terms I tend to throw around in my conversations about strengths. By now you know I’m strongly encouraging you to become a STRENGTHS HERO for yourself and others but at a basic level – what is a STRENGTH?
Let’s start with the word TALENT. A talent is simply a natural way we think, feel and behave — nothing more…nothing less. You could also refer to it as a natural tendency. If you are not in charge of your talents or natural tendencies, they might even operate more as compulsive ways to think, feel and behave. Talents, natural tendencies just are and they can show up very early in life. When I was four, the lamp wasn't working so I got out a screw driver and opened the outlet to "fix" the light. While my mother was less than impressed with my natural "talent" to just jump in when I encounter something I want to do, I have been able to develop and direct that particular tendency ;) Everyone has natural talents! It’s up to you to learn how to use those natural talents for your highest good and for the good of others.
Natural Talents are only POTENTIAL strengths...
A STRENGTH is when you are able to intentionally and consistently produce the results you truly desire utilizing those natural talents. Turning your talents into true strengths takes awareness, dedication, time, effort and practice. Building your natural talents into strengths is sooooo worth it though! It's what allows you the opportunity to create an awesome, outstanding, fantastic life and work you love. (Week Two of my Strengths Course is all about the development of your talents!)
The next two get confused sometimes with talents or strengths…
A SKILL is simply the ability to perform a specific task. Skills can be learned through training – either or formal or informal. There are many skills a person may have that they are adept at executing without them being in alignment with their talents and/or strengths. Personally, I can effectively read spreadsheets but I guarantee you doing so does not tap into my natural talents and I don't enjoy it.
KNOWLEDGE is only one thing — information. It’s what you know; it’s facts; it’s theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. Retaining knowledge may be a natural talent of yours – one of my best friends still remembers my phone number from when we were 10-years-old - amazing!. My phone number though, is just information.
While skill and knowledge are not the same as talents and strengths, they are very important because when you add skill and knowledge to your talents that’s where the magic happens!
Being a Strengths Hero for yourself means keeping a sharp awareness to your own talents and natural tendencies and then being willing to put in the focus, time, energy, commitment and practice to turning those talents into true strengths and someday into your very own SUPERPOWERS!
Being a Strengths Hero for others means keeping a sharp awareness as to others’ talents and natural tendencies even if they don’t see them and then encouraging them to grow and develop them into true strengths!
Spread the Word,