Leverage Your Talents For Maximum Success

By: Jill Frank

We live in a cookie cutter world. In my neighborhood, the new homes have the same floor plan, the preteens all wear the "Abercrombie" uniform and the moms drive one of five acceptable SUVs. It's no different in the business world where getting ahead involves following a prescribed set of procedures. Why is our uniqueness a liability? Is it because the alternative to following the crowd gives way to the potential for rejection? And who wants that? Not me and probably not you. Everyone wants to belong somewhere.

No matter how accepted our 'sameness' is, it can be detrimental to our career and to the continuity of our organizations. The expressions "don't reinvent the wheel" and "every good idea has already been thought" are contributing to the decline of originality and inspiration in the workplace. Each of us brings a unique set of skills, experiences, and perspectives to our jobs. When we rely solely on the established "wheel" we are giving up the opportunity to bring that uniqueness to problem-solving, creating and executing and we are setting ourselves and our organization up for failure.

Let me give you an example. Having never been a successful business owner before, I have come to rely on the wisdom of those who have come before me to establish, market, and run my business. This advice has been invaluable - without it, I never would have gotten off the ground. It's with the marketing advice that I have experienced difficulty. Everything I hear and read says that you have to do x, y, and z to effectively market your products and services. While I may not have trouble with 'x and y,' 'z' is another matter altogether. After much procrastination on my part and during one of my own coaching sessions, it became evident that some of these techniques would force me to shore up my weaknesses rather that build on my talents. No matter how much I try, the most I can hope for is competence. What's so ironic is that my core message to my clients is to leverage your talents to achieve maximum success and I'm trying to make a one-size-fits-all approach work.

You will never be truly successful taking this approach. If you are always developing your weaknesses (especially with activities you don't enjoy and don't really do all that well), it will be harder and harder to find the motivation you need to achieve your goals. You will spend your life spinning your wheels and feeling inadequate. Think about it - Albert Einstein never would have discovered the theory of relativity if he wasn't mathematically and scientifically inclined. Wouldn't you rather have a small hill to climb than Mount Everest?

I'm not suggesting that you abandon all efforts to develop your weaknesses. I'm suggesting that you stop trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. When you choose a career path, select the one that is most aligned with your talents. When you prepare your development plan, select activities that will leverage those talents. Then, you will be setting yourself up for success instead of failure.

Do you want to develop a comprehensive career plan that leverages your talents to help you reach your professional goals, but don't know how? Register for the promotion planning eClass. In eight weeks, you will learn about corporate advancement, find out what success factors are crucial to your targeted position, understand and address the obstacles standing in your way of success, and create a plan to build on your strengths. Learn more and register at www.leverageyourtalent.com.

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