No, I don’t mean ultimate Frisbee or billiards.
And unless you work in a kitchen, I also don’t care how well you bake cookies.
Okay, maybe I care about the cookies.
I want to know what you’re good at in your job.
Not just good at, but better than most.
What are you talented at?
Maybe you proofread or write better and faster than anyone in your office.
Maybe you’re the only person who really understands Excel’s formulas and exceptions. If that’s the case, you’re better off than I am.
Perhaps you can see order in a jumble of information and organizing it comes easy to you.
Here’s a hint that you might have a natural talent for something right where you work: You’ve done something in your office because it came easy, or you were bored, or maybe it was just bugging you and fixing it was easy.
The second hint is a little more obvious. It comes in the form of coworkers asking how you did something, or how you did it so fast. That’s a good thing.
Just because something comes easy to you doesn’t mean it does for everyone. I find that a lot of people don’t take the time to ask themselves this simple little question, and since they don’t, they can’t see the potential they have to contribute more to the organization.
We often take our own talents for granted and spend no time developing them.
Once you know what you’re good at, the next question is a little more difficult:
What are you going to do with it?
You really have just two options: Share with your peers and managers, or don’t.
As an example, Power Point is easy for me. My manager had some great ideas, but he needed help putting them together. I would take his vision and use my skills to make them presentable to his boss. We managed every program on the ship in a way that allowed us both to understand the goal. He saw what he needed, and I learned what he looked for. Simply doing what I was good at jump-started my career.
Also, I write fairly well, so helping people at every level write more effectively has taught me more than I could have ever imagined. I helped my peers prepare for their briefs, edited professional correspondence for those above me, and helped others with things as simple as college papers. I learned something every time, and in sharing my skills, I developed them.
Like I said in a previous post about opportunity, you have talent. I know you do, and hopefully you’ll realize that talent and do something with it.
In sharing your talents, you become better at them, you help the organization, and you become more connected with the people you work with. By not sharing, well, nothing good happens.
People in the organization benefited because I shared my time and effort, but I gained ten times as much. Not only did I learn about how my leaders think and communicate upwards, but I had chances to interact with good people and I thrived professionally because I had something to offer my leadership and peers.
I’ve been writing for over a decade, but it wasn’t until about five years ago that I started using my talents for work. Instead, I tried to force some line in the sand between the writing and the day job, and I turned down opportunities to write for the base paper or the public affairs folks. They asked once, I said no, and they never asked again. Sounds silly, doesn’t it?
Don’t do that.
Maybe the title of this series should be: Don’t be like Jamie.
So, we’re right back to where we started.
What are you good at?
What are you going to do with it?
Hopefully you’ll choose to share.
Let’s go a little further.
Who are you going to tell and offer this talent to, and how?
I don’t think you should go around showing everyone what they’re doing wrong to prove that you know better than them, but there is a way to make yourself known without coming off as self-important. As you connect with people, walk around, and talk about life, you’ll find a chance.
Maybe someone like me will come right out and ask.
If that happens, I hope you’ll be ready.
Here’s the fun part.
What are your people good at?
What are their talents?
Wouldn’t it be great to know?
Does the boss know what you are good at?
Have a great week out there.
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