BD7: Finding Your Talents
Welcome to Breakdown 7. Today we tackle how to actually find your talents.
BD is where I teach a coach's secret secret sauce: how to dissect a person's problem so you can give them the solution. Think of it a little bit like making an ice cream cake - I don't just show you the final cake but the recipe and mechanism that got me there. If you can learn this skill then you can start coaching yourself through your challenges and put me firmly out of business.
If you'd like to have a problem of yours BD'd please feel free to just hit reply and let me know (I've currently got 3 in the chamber so send one across if you have one.)
It's always a delight to do one of these and help one of you.
BD posts can get quite (very) long. Let's do this.
Estimated full reading time: 8 minutes.
After speaking with you, I got an advice to do something I am really talented in. That's another problem - how to find what is my talent? Asking friends and family didnt help. I got answers like " you are talented in foreign languages" just because I can speak in 3, but learning it was super hard and I was not the best student, neither was it my favorite thing to do. I would not consider it my talent.
Thank you very much for your emails and please keep them coming. I love to read them.
Have a lovely day!
Hey hey hey!
Welcome BD7. We just have a straight solution today because of our BD's problem.
First things first, it’s worth pointing out that you must work on actively realising that you do have talents. I spent about 2k words explaining how the mind creates stories that turn into mindsets last week so I won't go over it here: but the key thing to realise is that your mind will believe any story you tell it by filtering evidence. If you think you don't have any talents, then you sure as hell won't even come close to trying to find what they are or end up finding them. You may not know what they are and you might not have any control over what they end up being are but they are there. It's our job to find them and your job to do the work that it takes.
Doubting yourself or your ability means that you will consistently miss what's right in front of you and spend your whole life looking for something and getting frustrated because you can’t find it (watch this if you want to see the bias I’m talking about in action.) If you can’t find something then maybe you’re using the wrong strategy. That’s a very powerful point to think about. It's incredibly healthy to be aware of what your strengths are, so false humility or active doubt are things we need to avoid. If you need a primer on how to do this, check last week's email or look at BD6 on the blog.
Finding your talents can take a lot of time because we often struggle to give ourselves permission to chase them (wrong strategy.) It’s like clients I see who wonder why they are not motivated to do something that the assume they will fail at. You have a disincentive to actually do the thing you want. It took me 5 weeks of med-school to drop out after I knew on the second DAY that it wasn't the right place for me to go. I wasn't confident enough to do what I really wanted and so I kept running away from what was staring me in the face. We are all doing this at some degree and overcoming it is critical to finding your talents.
The next step is - as it always is with any change that you want to make - to make the commitment that no matter what happens, you're going to figure out what your talents are or die trying. This is simply the biggest deal since sliced chocolate cake with cream and ice cream and a spoon. Finding your talents can require you to clear a lot of bullshit out of your life and your mind. The work required to do this is only going to get done if you’re coming from a place of total obsession with finding it. It's really easy to talk, it's a lot harder to walk. Give me someone's calendar and bank account and I can tell you 1000% what their priorities are in life. Where are you allocating your time and money and how much do you really want to find your talents versus what you say you do?
The skill we talking about here is learning to light a fire under your own butt rather than waiting for life to smack you in the face. In self-development land we call this a forcing function. The reason I left med-school is to place a forcing function on myself, I had no choice but to chase it. Same thing with leaving the job I worked after med-school and running this full time. That forcing function is what MADE me figure it out. Learning how to create these artificially so you don’t wait for life to smash you is a huge secret to moving life to where you want it to go. As you’re reading this right now - where do you need a forcing function?
What's the point of this? You need to be dedicating your life to figuring this out if you want to get there. As Tony Robbins says ‘People who have a choice between die or be successful generally become successful.’ You must be placing time and money towards figuring this out daily. Finding your talents takes consistent and daily action and time allocation. I mean spending at LEAST an HOUR a DAY before you have any hope of putting in the right amount of work to get where you want to be. If you spent 350 hours a year trying incessantly to discover these you would get good results.
Everything that's happening in your mind ('one whole hour? But what about work? But I have 14 children! I own 5 chickens - how am I supposed to feed them and do all of this?') is all a bunch of bullshit (no disrespect to you or your children or chickens. Actually. Fuck your chickens. Tell them I told them that. I digress) You must not fool yourself. There is always more time to be found, you just need to prioritise more. If Elon wouldn't use that excuse, then neither should you.
So, if you're committed to spending one full year reflecting and taking action for 60 minutes a day, then you should read the below and I'll give you the path. Until this is done though there is literally no point in progressing.
Lastly, before I give you some practical tips: there is a pretty solid amount of evidence (read The Talent Code if you want more) that actually sheer effort and deep practice will build a lot of 'talent.' Talent is really a word that means myelin (read the book if that means nothing to you) if we are thinking from a neuroscience perspective. So I would really focus on finding things you love doing and 'making' them a talent rather than trying to find this magical thing that you're already GREAT at. You have to build it, it's not just going to fall into your lap and I really support finding something you love doing so that you’ll want to work. More on that below.
There is a correlation between what you enjoy and what your talents are
We always enjoy things that we are good at, which means we will naturally work harder at them and do more of it. Often times people are talented a things that they believe are an extension of who they are which logically follows what you enjoy doing. There is a lot to be said for following and pursuing things that make you feel full, lit up and energised. You're not in any rush to build a business out of them, so don't worry if it doesn't seem obviously monetizable when you're just seeking.That is an easy conversation to have once we know where we need to be heading.
There is a correlation between what you loved when you were young and what your talents are
I find that a lot of people I work with have always had a love for something and deeply understand what they want to do. Remembering what life used to be like and what you used to enjoy and do when you had spare time (which is always) and nothing to do as a kid is a huge help. I rediscovered my passion for reading in 2012 when I remembered how much books meant to me and how much I loved them.
I also want to emphasise that this correlation and coaching did not apply to me. For the longest time as a kid I wanted to be prime minister and in charge of shit. I'm now someone who helps people get their shit together. Kinda the same? I had no idea this career was even a thing until 2013. But because I love it so much, because I believe that my life is built to serve in this way, it gets pretty easy to start finding 'talents' when I approach it with such love and find so much flow in the world. Time disappears when you’re doing something you love and you’re good at - which is the most effective way to become ‘talented’ (read Flow the book for more on this.) Get the picture yet?
Answer this question: If you had nothing to do at home on a Saturday afternoon and there was no one around to catch up with, what would you do with your time? I would watch self-development videos, read books and learn about cool shit. Pretty easy to see why I do the work I do when you look at that. Any of your talents will probably be inside one of those. Maybe.
You need to follow what causes any sort of emotional charge
If you haven't followed the pattern yet, let me spell it out: FOLLOW WHAT FILLS YOU UP AND AVOID WHAT DRAINS YOU. Sorry for how aggressive that was but I say that sentence 10 times a day. If you catch yourself thinking about or arguing with people over a particular cause, always reading blogs about a topic or just engaging with it, then you clearly have a lot of focus in that area and so probably will have a talent if you gave yourself permission.
You need to surround yourself with people that know their talents
Asking people who don't know what their own talents are what they think your talent might be is a sure-fire recipe to not get anywhere. Remember always that you shouldn't take advice from someone unless they have what you want. Instead of just asking people what they think your talents are, you should instead focus on surrounding yourself with people who are passionate, love what they do and are really talented at it. Just by doing that, something will strike you for sure.
You need to carve out space to reflect and to think
I've spoke about this above, but it's true. You have to put in the work.
You need to give yourself permission to follow your talent, no matter how strange or uncool
This is probably the most important of them all. You might know what you're good at, you just won't give yourself permission to really understand it and live from that place. You might be talented at smiling and so want to go and get a job that involves you working with people to make them smile. Maybe you're really talented at making shoes for people who had one foot shorter than the other. It's not as rockstar a talent as helping humanity get into space or being a rapper, but it'll sure as fudge give you a great life filled with beauty and fulfillment. Instead of trying to find what you want to find, instead you should try to find and love what is there.
Lastly, read the damn free guide on finding your purpose: seriously - it's over at the 99% page and it's epic (https://www.mjfitzpatrick.com/the-99-percent).
PS- to help you with the direction: you're not talented in 'foreign languages' you're talented at LEARNING or APPLYING or SPEAKING systems of information that have rules and commonalities between them. That's a talent that could make you a LOT of money
PSS - of course it's hard. Most people just call what they cannot figure out in 3 seconds 'hard.' If you want an easy life then stop trying to live a life of joy.
PPSS - got a new masterclass coming up tomorrow. If any of you on the interwebz want me to answer a question for you just hit reply and I'll be on the video.