The Ultimate Guide to Discovering Your Natural Talents and Strengths

By AAwosika07 | Uncategorized

May 07

Strengths and talent matter most.

Forget about passion.

Passion is like a unicorn in the wild. You’ve heard it exists but you’ll spend your life searching for it with no success.

Instead of focusing on passion focus on strength.

When you find something you’re good at, practice, and get better at it, you’ll start to feel passionate about it.

Do you wish there was a genie who could tell you what you’re good at and how to make a living from it?

There are clues all around you trying to tell you what you should be doing with your life, but you’ll miss them if you’re not paying attention.

I’ve spent a long time learning about myself and discovering my strengths. I decided to put together a resource for people who are looking for direction.

If you’re desperate to know what you’re good at and how to use your skills to make a living keep reading.

This guide is going to walk you through everything I know about discovering your talents and strengths. Consider this your road map to taking the first steps in designing a career and life you love.

But before I continue I want you to make me a promise.

I want you to promise me that you’ll actually use this information. Information is useless without action. Most people will read guides like this but won’t take action on the information.

I want you to be different.

Use this guide as your compass. Find your path and follow it.

Note: This beast of a guide is 4000+ words long. If you don’t have time to read it right now you can download a pdf version to read later. Click here to download a free pdf copy. 

 

Part 1 – Tools To Help You Discover Your Strengths and Talents

There are tools available to help you learn more about yourself, where your strengths lie and give ideas on how you can use them.

I’m going to mention them, tell you how I’ve used them, and give you suggestions on how to get the most out of them.

Strengths Finder 2.0

Strengths Finder is, in my opinion, the best tool you can use to learn about your talents and strengths. Researchers from the Gallup company spent years testing and tracking data to compile a list of 34 natural talents people have.

The assessment has 200+ questions. The questions help determine your highest talents from the list.

If you buy the standard package you’re allowed to see your top 5 strengths.

If you buy the expanded version you can see all 34 of your strengths in order.

Your assessment will include descriptions of your strengths, examples, and quotes from people who share that strength, and a detailed list of actions you can take to develop your strengths.

I remember when I first took the assessment and read the descriptions. It was eerie how accurate they were. You’ll feel like someone read your mind.

Here’s a view of my top 5 strengths:

 

strengths-finder

We’re going to go through each of them for you to see how I’ve used the information to develop my strengths.

Strength 1 – Ideation

People with the ideation talent are fascinated with ideas. They’re always looking for connections between different topics to come up with novel ways of looking at the world.

Some strength development suggestions from the book include:

  • Seeking a career where you’re paid for your ideas
  • Scheduling time to read
  • Taking time to understand where your best ideas come from

How I’ve put these suggestions into action:

  • I started blogging and wrote a book. — I’ve been paid for my ideas.
  • I read at least a book per week.
  • I began a daily practice of writing down ten ideas per day to strengthen my “idea muscle.”

Strength 2 – Strategic

People with strategic strength are always plotting their next move. They’re always asking “what if?” They look for the best route of action. If one strategy doesn’t work, they ditch it and move on to the next tactic.

Some strength development suggestions from the book include:

  • Taking the time think deeply about your future goals.
  • Make yourself available to consult with people on their problems.
  • Trust your intuition.

How I’ve put these suggestions into action:

  • I set clear goals for myself and constantly tweak and refine my vision. I run “mini-experiments,” to try new methods of doing things. These usually last about two weeks. If the experiment works I keep doing it. If it doesn’t I ditch it and move on.
  • People like to confide in me and ask questions, so I make sure to provide the best advice I can when asked.
  • I make moves. I’m not passive in my approach to getting ahead. When I see a potential strategy for advancing I execute.

Strength 3 – Intellection

People with the intellection strength love to think. They’re introspective. Even if they appear extroverted on the outside they enjoy time alone to be with their thoughts.

Some strength development suggestions from the book include:

How I’ve put these suggestions into action:

Strength 4 – Input

People with the input strength have an insatiable appetite for information. They are voracious readers who love to collect facts, quotes, books — anything they can store into their reservoir of knowledge.

Some strength development suggestions from the book include:

  • Find a way to use your knowledge to benefit other people.
  • Position yourself as an expert
  • Deliberately increase your vocabulary.

How I’ve put these suggestions into action:

  • I use the facts and quotes I collect into my books and blog posts in the hopes it benefits the people who read them.
  • I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I’ve been building authority by learning, implementing, and sharing my ideas.
  • I have multiple vocabulary books I use to learn new words.

building-strengths-learning

Strength 5 – Adaptability

People with adaptability strength are able to change pace quickly and thrive in situations with unexpected challenges. They prefer to work in flexible and can get bogged down with having to work in a structured environment.

Some strength development suggestions from the book include:

  • Seek roles which success depends on changing circumstances.
  • Avoid roles requiring structure and predictability.
  • Turn mundane tasks into games to keep them interesting.

How I’ve put these strengths into action:

  • I come up with new topics to write about and refine my approach depending on how they resonate with readers.
  • I try to keep a set time each day to write, but the number of words vary. It could be 500 or 5,000.
  • I don’t plan far ahead. I set 90-day goals and break down what needs to be done into monthly and weekly goals.

This breakdown of my strengths and ways to put them to action should help you learn how to do this for yourself.

They key here is taking action. I’m not the first person to discover or write about Strengths Finder 2.0, but many other people will just say “Read Strengths Finder 2.0 and learn about your strengths.”

To get the most from the book, go through the exercises and follow the suggestions.

If you’d like to buy the book you can check it out here StrengthsFinder 2.0.

Meyers-Briggs Typing Index

The Meyers Briggs test shares concepts with Strengths Finder 2.0. You’re asked a series of about 80 questions and in the end, you’re given one of sixteen personality types. Each personality type is separated by the weight of four different factors:

  • Extroverted or introverted – E or I
  • Intuitive or sensing – N or S
  • Feeling or thinking – F or T
  • Perceiving or judging – P or J

My personality type is ENTP.

ENTP’s are known for being fascinated with ideas and novel ways of thinking (remember this was my number one strength found on StrengthsFinder 2.0). They have a non-conformist view of the world, love to debate and play devils advocate, and are eager to start new projects.

The weaknesses of being ENTP are that they can get distracted easily and have problems following through with their plans. They have a hard time paying attention to detail and hate having to do repetitive tasks or planning.

You can take the Meyers-Briggs Test here. There are also resources online that dive into detail about the strengths and weaknesses of each personality type.

There are a few other tests you can take online to help you learn more about your talents and strengths. You’ll notice patterns and overlaps the more of them you take.

IF you take the time to go through them you will know more about yourself which will come in handy when paired with your interests and coming up with your action plan, which we’ll discuss later.

Additional strength finding resources:

Enneagram Test

Authentic Happiness Questionnaire Center

Now that you’ve learned how to identify your strengths I’m going to show you how to pay attention to the world around you so you can find some interests to pair these strengths with.

Part 2 – Listen to What The World is Trying to Tell You

What if I told you your “passion,” was sitting right underneath your nose?

Unless you’re the most boring person on the planet, there has to be something you’re interested in, passionate about, or willing to learn more about.

People get lost trying to find their passion or purpose because too far into the distance. They see passion as a distant prize when in reality it’s nothing more than a subject you’re interested in that can become useful when paired with a certain skill.

I’m going to share a few techniques with you to help you find out what you’re interested in. At the end, we’ll tie everything together to give you a solid roadmap of what you should be doing going forward.

Your Upbringing

Looking into your past can help you figure out what to pursue going forward. What type of activities were you drawn towards as a child? What did you want to be at the age of 14? What recurring themes or patterns can you spot if you think about your past?

My upbringing tells a tale of my love affair with words.

When I was younger I used to love reading books to my parents. Throughout grade school, whenever the teacher asked someone in the class to read I would raise my hand. The other kids in the class always wanted me to be chosen too because I was the fastest reader and that meant we could get it over with sooner. I was always fascinated with learning new words. In school, we would have to take vocabulary tests. A week before the test we’d be given a set of words to study. I would wait until about 10 minutes before we had to take the test, memorize all the words, and ace it every time.

I started writing poetry in middle school. I even attempted to write a book a few times while in high school. When I wrote papers my teachers would be impressed. It’s clear to me now that my life’s mission is to use words to make an impact on others, but it wasn’t always this way.

It’d Be Cool…

Thinking of the words that come after this phrase will help you discover what you were meant to do.

I can remember talking about writing for a living in one way or another several times. I would always say things like:

“It’d be cool to write a book.”

“It’d be cool to be a writer.”

“It’d be cool to start a blog.”

I got lucky. A friend of mine came to me and asked me to write blog posts for his website — the rest is history. I’m thankful for the push he gave me, because I’m not sure how long I would’ve waited to get started or if I would’ve gotten started at all.

What comes to mind when you think of the phrase “It’d be cool.” I bet there are some things you’ve offhandedly mentioned wanting to do. Your passion might be closer than you think if you stop and reflect for a while.

Feedback

Your friends, family members, acquaintances, and even strangers are all giving you clues to help you discover your purpose.

Let’s take a look at these different sources of feedback.

  • Friends/Family – What do your friends compliment you on? What do your friends find difficult that you think is easy? What do they ask for your advice on? You can think about the answers to these questions yourself. You can also ask your friends what they think. Tell them you’re thinking of making a career change or starting your own thing and that you need them to be you want to know what they think you’re good at. Tell them to be honest. Your friends and family can see things in you that you can’t.
  • Strangers – Stranger feedback can be even more useful than feedback from people you know. After all, they’re strangers, so they have no reason to give you compliments that aren’t genuine. Have you ever received a compliment from a stranger? What did they say? I’ve been told that I’m articulate, have a nice voice, and that I sound intelligent. Think back to the random things strangers have said to you and those pieces to the overall puzzle.

The Bookstore Test

I want you to go to the bookstore and browse through each of the sections until you find one that interests you. The goal here is to find a section in the store where you would literally read every single book. Try finding a non-fiction section. Non-fiction sections will deal with real-life areas of interest, so if you find one that’s interesting to you it will translate into a field you can enter in the real world.

I can spend the rest of my life reading books about business and entrepreneurship. Going back to the “upbringing” section, in addition to being interested in words I was also interested in business for as long as I can remember. Those two interests have overlapped and I’ve been able to make income from writing. I’m also an entrepreneur and have used my writing skills to land paying clients and freelance work. We’ll keep going over more ways to find your interests but you have to be seeing a pattern by now.

Talk Isn’t Always Cheap

Running your mouth might provide a clue to finding your passion or purpose.

What can you talk about without stopping?

Everybody has a subject they could talk about for days if someone was willing to listen to them. What do you talk about with your friends on a Saturday night? If you had to give a speech about one topic what would it be?

I’m always talking about fighting for freedom and choosing your own path rather than the one society lays out for you. I talk about the problems with society, our education system, and the status quo. This theme runs through my writing and shapes my worldview. You have a subject you can’t keep your mouth shut about too. Consider it another piece of the puzzle.

Part 3 – Using the Strengths You’ve Already Developed

Maybe you’ve been working in a career that doesn’t fulfill you for a long time. When moving forward on a new path to discovering your strengths and building a new life, you might think the skills you’ve used in the past are useless. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Regardless of what industry you’ve been working in, there are some skills you can take from your experience and use them on your new path.

Keys to Identifying Strengths In Past Work

  • Think about the tasks you’ve done well in previous roles – These are skills you have a natural talent for and can be used in your future. Using myself as an example again, I used to work in retail and customer service. I was good with customers and used problem-solving skills to help them when they had issues. I use these skills now when I’m looking to work with new people or if my current clients have any problems needing resolution. Running a successful blog will come with its fair share of new challenges, and my adaptability learned from previous jobs helps with my new career.
  • Think about the parts you disliked about your previous roles – Time and time again the number one problem I had in previous jobs was staying organized. I hate having to deal with tedious tasks. Although I still have tasks to do for my business, I structure them in a way that’s not so rigid. I also look to find my 80/20, meaning I spend the majority of time on what will have the most impact on my business and ignore everything else.
  • Think of any assignments or projects you were praised for – You must have achievements you’ve been praised for or are proud of. Notice the strengths in your work pointed out by other people. I’ve had writing assignments where I was praised for creativity and originality. When I was a member of my university’s student senate I was praised for always challenging the thinking of my peers and being relentless in voicing my opinion in order to come up with the best results.

Part 4 – Use Your Strengths to Take Action

Now you’re armed with everything you need to start searching for a new career or begin to think about building your own. It’s important to have self-awareness, but if you don’t take action on what you’ve learned you’ll stay stuck in the same place.

So how do you take action?

Your plan will involve one of two options – look for a new job or build something of your own. If it were me I’d opt for number two (for many different reasons), but I’ll explore both with you today.

Using Your Strengths to Find Better Employment

Let’s say you’ve taken the personality and strengths tests. These tests come with potential jobs for people with your “particular set of skills.”

You’ve developed a solid profile that can be coupled with different available jobs. I’ll list of some of the potential careers that align with my strengths and talents.

 

  • Journalist
  • Research and development
  • Entrepreneur
  • Author
  • Customer Service Representative
  • HR recruiter
  • Marketing Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Actor (ooo I like that!)
  • PR Specialist
  • Real estate agent

These are just a few options. Once you have this list in place you can start by crossing out the ones that are a definite no – bye bye customer service rep, journalist, HR recruiter, and researcher!

Narrow your list down to 5 or 10 options. Once you have these in place you can go online and look through job descriptions of each to get a feel for if they’d be the right fit. After looking through the descriptions, some will stand out more than others. If you can, narrow it down to 3.

Once you’re left with 3 options you can reach out to people who work in the same field and ask them questions to learn the ups and downs of the industry. Find someone local. You can type in the job type on LinkedIn and a list of results will show. If their email is listed send them a message, otherwise, you can message them directly via LinkedIn. Chances are they’ll respond unless they’re a high-level executive or celebrity (but even then they might reply if you reach out the right way.)

After you’ve learned more about each of the 3 positions you can look to start interviewing for them.

Here are a couple of places you can look for more guidance on the subject of job searching and interviewing:

The Career Upgrade Roadmap: 90 Days to a Better Job and a Better Life – This book, written by millennial career expert Olivia Gamber, is hands down one of the best books I’ve read on finding high-quality jobs.

The briefcase strategy – This technique will 10x your chances of winning jobs by doing what most other job candidates will never do.

Using Your Strengths to Start Your Own Venture

In the age of the internet and information economy, it’s possible to start building your own career using the power of the internet. You can take those same skills and use them to start your own venture. This breakdown will be simple (I’m in the process of creating another jumbo-sized guide on this topic), but it’s enough to get you started.

The key to building a career of your own using the internet is creating what’s called a platform. A platform is nothing more than a medium to share your message and unique worldview with other people in order to turn them into potential customers.

Examples of platforms include:

  • Blogs
  • Websites
  • Youtube channel
  • Podcasts
  • Social Media Websites
  • Amazon
  • A combination of the above items.

 

You can use your platform to either build a following or connect with potential clients who could use your services. When you combine your skills and interest with the power of the internet, you can create a business you love.

The only two options for businesses you can run

There are only two ways to make money as an entrepreneur, you can either sell a product or provide a service. You can use your platform to find potential clients for a freelance business or you can use your platform to offer a product.

Freelancer Pros
  • Flexible schedule
  • Potentially lucrative clients
  • Quicker transition from idea to cash.
Freelancer cons
  • Inconsistent income streams
  • Dealing with shitty clients
  • Business will only survive if you can work
Product Business Pros
  • Easier to scale
  • Opportunities for passive income
  • Lucrative once established
Product Business Cons
  • Takes more work up front than freelancing
  • The product might fail = wasting lots of time
  • High competition

This is a basic overview of business that doesn’t do it justice, but at least you have an idea of the available options. How does these options tie in with your strengths? I’ll again use myself as an example.

My strengths include coming up with good ideas, communicating, collecting information, writing, and reading. My interests include outside the box thinking, entrepreneurship, non conformity, and a love for words.

I’ve taken these strengths and interests and used them to make a side income in a number of different ways:

  • I wrote my own book, which has created a passive stream of income.
  • I do freelance blogging and copywriting work on the side.
  • I coach inexperienced bloggers on building an audience and using it to launch their own businesses.

None of this would have happened if I failed to take action. I started with one action – writing one blog post. I continued to keep writing and learning more about internet marketing and online entrepreneurship. I’m making great progress, but I still have a long way to go.

So what about you?

I’ve given you actionable information you can use to discover your unique talents and strengths. Are you going to use it? Are you going to take the time required to increase your self-awareness and change the direction of your life?

We all deserve to have lives and careers that are built on a solid foundation of strength. There are so many people in jobs that don’t suit them. We live in a society focused on fixing weaknesses rather than developing strengths.

Imagine a world where everyone did work they were good at. Society as a whole would be a happier, more productive, and efficient place.

I want you to join those who have found their strengths and have put them to good use. Use the resources, try the exercises, and get results.

Please leave a comment below if you found this useful. I also encourage you to share this with your friends on social media by using those buttons on the left!

 

 

About the Author

Sinchan Banerjee May 8, 2018

Hello,

I have gone through your article and it is just fantastic. The ground reality is very well articulated. It is very true that passion is something “Good to have”, but the rest of the knowing your strength and applying them by adapting what the world is saying is a more practical approach. Please do keep writing these kind of fascinating articles. They are just awesome.

Regards

Sinchan Banerjee

Malinee K. May 8, 2018

Thanks a lot. Your article is very thorough and enlightening for me. I begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Comments are closed