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Living Your Talent: Eliminating the Roadblocks that Get in the Way

Business & Personal Coaching

Updated on Feb 22, 2010

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Claiming your Talent Advantage and using it to Live Your Talents are more than theoretical concepts for me. I believe that Your Talent Advantage is not only your birthright, but the road to a more fulfilling and meaningful life. We all travel the road of life from one end to the other, so why not choose to do things you are naturally gifted at doing while on the journey so that you can enjoy fully exploring the gifts and talents you were born with?

I present this message as a constant theme in the talks I give, the blogs I write, and the services I deliver. With few exceptions the message is received positively. When I speak, I see smiles, nods of agreement, and get enthusiastic feedback. Inevitably, after the excitement of the message transforms into the reality of people’s lives I get the question, “Well, I really like the idea, but how do I do it?” I have often pondered why something that is so easy to describe conceptually is apparently not so easy to transform into reality.

Roadblock #1:

What I have discovered is that the process of learning how to use Your Talent Advantage to Live Your Talents has several hidden roadblocks. The first is that even after people have discovered their Talent Advantage they have never experienced what it is like to perform it in the real world.

When I was in graduate school I learned about negative transference in which a client projects all their anger, disappointment, hard feelings, etc. onto the therapist rather than on the person to whom they truly belong. I thought I understood it until a client went into a rage and delivered a scathing attack on my therapeutic skills. I was hurt and offended until my supervisor pointed out to me that I had just experienced “negative transference.” It’s one thing to read about it, another altogether to experience it.

Roadblock #2

The second roadblock comes from the process of socialization. It is my experience, that at least in the U.S., most of the feedback we get about ourselves is not about what we do well but about our shortcomings. Whether it is in school or in the workplace, on a progress report or performance evaluation, most of what we are given is a directory of things that need improvement rather than an inventory of what we have excelled at. Remediation usually consists of doing more of what we don’t do well and less of the talents that come naturally. The outcome is that we “work hard” to acquire skills and talents that wear us out, leave little or no time for our innate skills and talents, and spend much of our time wondering why we are exhausted and unfulfilled.

Roadblock #3:

The third roadblock comes from the intense but often, unconscious familiarity we have with our skills and talents. The reasoning that is often applied is, “if this is so easy for me to do then it must be nothing special. If it were it wouldn’t be so easy.” The cruelty joke in this chain of logic is that our skills and talents are easy to do because they are our skills and talents. The punch line is that we end up pursuing things that we don’t do well naturally because we attach more value to things we have to work hard at to master.

Helping people to discover their Talent Advantage is the first step, but most clients will need coaching help to break through the roadblocks to fully live their talents.

Gary Jordan, Ph.D., has over 27 years of experience in clinical psychology, behavioral assessment, individual development, and coaching. He earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology – Berkeley. He’s the co-founder of Vega Behavioral Consulting, Ltd., a consulting firm that specializes in helping people discover their true skills and talents. www.ACIforCoaches.com.
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