So, maybe you haven’t taken the CliftonStrengths assessment and you’re still wondering about your own talents. Or, maybe you have taken the assessment and you feel like one or two of your top five might not quite be right. Either way, you could be thinking about all this mumbo-jumbo sounding jargon about talents question whether or not you’ve got any.
Well, Don Clifton, the father of strengths psychology, wrote a book back in 1992 called, Soar With Your Strengths. In that book he helped point people to talent by point them to five clues that reveal talent. The first clue he wrote about is yearning. This is the gut feeling you have that draws you into activities you enjoy doing. These are often activities you choose to do when you don’t have to do anything else. Or, it would be those things you would choose to do if somebody came to you and magically cleared your calendar and just let you pick anything at all to do to feel fulfilled, productive, and enjoy your experience.
The second clue is satisfaction. This is the “feel fulfilled, productive” part of that last sentence I wrote. When we find ourselves engaged in activities that yield significant joy, and genuine fulfillment it’s likely we are deeply involved in doing something where we have talent. When you finish doing something and can hardly wait until you get to be able to do it again, then you are likely looking at one of your top talents.
Rapid learning is the third clue. Because talents are those naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior we can be fairly confident that when we readily learn something new in a specific area, no matter how complex or difficult, it’s highly probable that we’re in “the talent zone.” Sometimes we might even be involved in doing something that no one ever explained to us how to do it, but we did it right the first time anyway. That’s talent!
Whenever we notice high quality, or someone else catches a glimpse of excellence, in something we have done then we have just uncovered another clue to talent. Our ability to perform at a very high level, or frequently achieve outstanding results in a given activity, we can realize that talent has been discovered, uncovered, or revealed. We do things well when we are tapping into talent.
One last clue we can count on to help us reveal out talents is any time we realize that time flies by whenever we’re involved in doing something. We get so engrossed in our experience, and in our doing, that we simply forget to look at the clock. Time sails by and we hardly realize that any time at all has passed.
Of course, whenever a combination of two, or more, of those clues show up in our activities all at the same time then we know for sure we have hit on a talent that may likely be well on its way to becoming a strength!