Talent is way more than what you can see -it’s about how and not what we do

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Talent is not limited to your profession : it shows itself in all sorts of situations. It is not about what you do, it's about how you do it.

A footballer’s talent is not limited to playing football. If it were, his very being would end at the age of 30 along with his football career. It is in the way he plays football. Is he a strategist? Does he take the initiative? Is he a team player, or a captain? And that talent can be seen not only on the field, but also in other situations.

The Insight

In our project with the women entrepreneurs from the Balkan states, one of the participants found it very difficult to identify her talent. She had run a successful ICT company for 28 years, and could not separate herself from that: she thought her skill was being a 'manager'.

But all the stories she told were of something that was much bigger than that. From her anecdotes, it was clear that she always saw ‘the big picture’. After a lot of patient effort from our side, she acknowledged this as her talent.

Getting the hang of it

Knowing this, all sorts of surprising things happened. Around Christmas she organised an event for children with Down's Syndrome. Full of empathy, she discovered how important it was for the parents to meet each other and to be able to share their stories.

During her visit to the Netherlands she was moved by the example of the Yes-Hub in Delft; a vibrant melting pot for technical graduates' start-up businesses. 'I'm going to set this up in Macedonia! Our young people need this!'

Talent never retires This entrepreneur is beginning to understand: even if her company stopped functioning, her talent would still blossom.

And that is true for you, too. The growth of your talent is not limited to your job, and it does not stop when you retire. For some people, that is when a ‘talentful’ life begins, although you can start it sooner. So where are you at right now?

My suggestions for you
1. Take a step back and look at yourself objectively
2. In which characteristics do you excel?
3. In what areas outside your work does your talent flourish?

Talent and Trump

It was during our Brilliant Entrepreneur seminar in Albania that the results of the election in the US came through. Trump as president. It was a shock for most of us. Some of the participants even asked us: ‘Trump, I do not believe that he has a talent. So how could he win?’

This question challenged me to look at his victory from the perspective of talent. Everyone has a unique talent and so has Trump and his millions of voters.

Trump speaks their language, understands them and takes them seriously. This is his talent. He also offers a solution to the growing uncertainty: “We build a wall, lock the door to immigrants and take production into our own hands!”

From the perspective of talent development, this is where his talent gets lost. It searches the solution outside the people themselves. Trumps’ ideas are built on fear and anger. And not on trust, understanding and insight in a changing world.

In the world of today we depend – more than ever –on each other. An American can eat chocolate because elsewhere in the world a farmer has worked hard for the required cocoa. His salary is not more than 2 euros a day. This farmer too wants a better future for his children.

Talent is not about fear, isolation and polarization. Talent is about confidence; in your own strength and that of others. As a basis for connection, communication and understanding of the differing opinions of others. There is still much to do, also for yourself, close to home.

Talent tips
A self-training ‘contact with talent’ with people who are different from you requires a lot of practice. What to do? Here are some talent tips.

Contact with someone who is outside your comfortable social circle: a political counterpart, an annoying colleague, someone who jumps the queue in the supermarket…

Be genuinely curious about the other person.

Try to find a click with the other person. Do this in your own spontaneous way. See what works.

Do this as often as you like. Does it not always work out well, do not worry. There will be plenty of new opportunities. These are the little initiatives that make the “change” that election campaigns are full about.
Just enjoy!

You may also like; Ultimate Talent Boost

  • Written byYvette van Dok

    Yvette van Dok worked for 15 years in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 2003, she returned to the Netherlands and started her company Co-Motion Consult, (www.co-motionconsult.nl) focusing on talent and business development. In collaboration with Karen Kammeraat she launched the Brilliant Entrepreneur program, www.brilliantentrepreneur.net


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