Sunday, September 14, 2008

Strengths, Talent and the One Thing

Strengths, Talent and the One Thing

On strengths

A strength is a naturally occurring talent multiplied by knowledge and skill.

Knowledge is that which is learned.

Skill is knowledge put to practice.

Knowledge and skill increase with experience, education, and use.

Talent is inborn. It is a natural propensity. It cannot be learned.

Talent alone is not enough. A person may have a natural propensity towards music (or art, or sports) but without practice and education, the talent goes to waste.

You may have a talent towards communication but without practical use, experience, knowledge and skill, your talent does little for you.
Strengths, weaknesses and the 80/20 rule.

Spend 80 percent of your time working on strengths (talent), 20 percent on weaknesses.

In the time you spend on your own development, concentrate most of your time (80%) on your natural talents. This will bring you the greatest success, satisfaction and fulfillment. Spend 20% of that time becoming aware of and overcoming your weaknesses.

Not everyone can be successful at anything. The old (American) adage that “if you work hard enough you can be whatever you want” is false. You can do anything you have talent for. You can achieve high levels of success in areas in which you can apply your talents. Wanting isn’t enough - unless what you want coincides with your talent or you can use your talents in achieving what you want.
Strengths, life and the path of least resistance.

As in nature, all things follow the path of least resistance; your path of least resistance is in your talents. It is what comes natural to you. It is the calm waters with the wind filling your sail taking you to your best possible self.

Discover and do what you are meant to do. It is the easiest and most rewarding path you can take.

Step outside of this path and you struggle. It’s the stormy waters, it’s sailing against the wind. It’s working, struggling, fighting for little gain or satisfaction.

We all have to do things that we are not talented at, in which we have a weakness, or which we just don’t like. If these things are taking too much of our time, we are off course, we are off of our path, and we are being dragged down. These things take our energy and give little reward.
The one thing you need to know

For Sustained Individual Success
(from Markus Buckingham’s book “the one thing you need to know”)
Discover what you don’t like doing and stop doing it

What is Sustained Individual Success?

1. Sustained Success is making the greatest possible impact over the longest period of time.
1. Requires that you take your natural talents and your enthusiasm and apply yourself to learning role-specific skills and knowledge. [Strength = Talent (Knowledge + Skills)]
2. “Something special must leave the room when you leave the room.” – P. Drucker

Contenders for the “one thing”

1. Find the right tactics and employ them.
1. Doesn’t tell you how to avoid becoming a commodity.
2. You have different strengths, weaknesses, interests, background, and experience.
3. Your individuality, not the process, must be the focus.
2. Find your flaws and fix them
1. The most commonly held view in the US.
2. Falsely assumes your greatest room for growth is in your areas of weakness.
3. You will not, in fact, learn the most in the areas of your weakness.
4. You will not feel most energized and challenged when fixing your flaws.
3. Discover your strengths and cultivate them.
1. Strengths are a consistent part of your personality.
2. You are most successful when your strengths mesh with the challenge facing you.
3. Focusing on strengths will lead to success. Finding roles that play to, or building your roles around your strengths will bring about success.
4. Success will bring about changes – new challenges, responsibilities, and opportunities. Many tempting, but few that continue to use your strengths.
5. Those changes that don’t play to your strengths, innocuous as they may seem, will actually start to drag you off your best path.
6. To sustain your success, you must keep yourself alert to subtle changes and take action to correct your course.


1. It doesn’t matter if you like your work; you just have to be good at it.
1. You may well be good at activities you don’t enjoy, but your enjoyment is the fuel to keep practicing, to keep stretching, investing, and pushing yourself to greater levels.
2. You need a little difficulty in your life, a little grit. No grit, no pearl.
1. Grit will only grind you down. Time spent in an activity that grates on you is poorly invested time. You will learn little and it will leave you weaker.
3. Only those already successful have the luxury of cutting their dislikes out of their job.
1. This is backwards. People who are successful became so because they were unwilling to tolerate aspects of their jobs they didn’t like. Their intolerance caused their success.

What percentage of your day do you spend doing those things you really like?

1. To sustain your success, assess where and how you are spending your time.
2. When the answer to this question is below 70 percent, identify the activities getting in the way and take action to remove them.
3. The more effective you are at this, the more creative, resilient, valuable, and thus the more successful you are.

Quit the role, tweak the role, seek out the right partners, or find an aspect of the role that brings you strength. The longer you put up with aspects of your work you don’t like, the less successful you will be. So, as far as you are able, and as quickly as you can, stop doing them and then see what the best of you, now focused and unfettered, can achieve.

About The EarthAsylum Leadership Circle

The EarthAsylum Leadership Circle is a business networking, support, and educational association started in January 2006 by six friends and family members who wanted a way to develop their own and other's leadership abilities.

We strive to understand and develop leadership skills and talent in a way that transcends trends and looks beyond short-term goals. We see our mutual role as supporting individuals and organizations in achieving effective and transformational leadership through life affirming and supporting practices.

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