What are your natural talents?

TalentsTalents?

Last week I wrote about the difference between talents and skills. I want to discuss this week, what are our talents?

Many of us who have been working for over twenty years have lost sight of our talents. We are paid to exercise our skills, which may or may not be built on top of our natural talents. I have been taking myself through a few exercises. I have found it quite interesting and thought provoking.

What did you love to do as a kid?

It took be a while but the one thing I could do for hours and hours as a child were jigsaw puzzles. My mother did not buy them very often. When she did they were very addictive.

Dig out a piece of paper and ruminate on this for a while.

I developed a method for solving jigsaw puzzles. I would work the borders first. I would then find distinctive patterns in different sections of the puzzle to work on. Slowly but surely the sections would start to flow together or attach to the edges. I am a natural with patterns.

I now can see that whenever I had manageable puzzles to solve in my career I was successful.

By the way, I wanted to solve the entire puzzle and not just one piece!

What did you love to do as a kid?

What do love to do as an adult?

You may have to go back to when you first became an adult. Look for a common theme in your career when you have been really happy. What was really enjoyable?

Dig out that piece of paper and ruminate again. This might even take you longer!

The common theme for myself is helping people. Whether it was running a help desk for mechanical engineers, developing and delivering technology training, presenting product plans to customers, teaching Algebra to high school students or providing career direction to baby boomers, it has always been around teaching, training or coaching.

You may have to gather friends and family to help you find that common theme.

What are you natural talents?

What skills have you acquired to complement your talents?

For many us, we acquired a lot of skills that did not complement our natural talents. I know how to program in a lot of different programming languages. All of those skills, although valuable, I have not exercised in years and really do not want to use. I was paid very well early in my career for those skills but I quickly became burned out.

I have acquired a lot of skills in the area of training development and delivery that I love to use. I love them because they are complement my talents.

What are your skills? Take out that piece of paper again.Once you have completed the list answer the following question.

Which of those skills complement your natural talents.

I previous wrote a blog post titled – Larry Bird, Winners, Talents and Skills

I quoted the great basketball player Larry Bird – A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals

What goals have you attained in this manner?

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Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

 

Talents versus Skills – Do you know the difference?

Talents versus SkillsTalents versus Skills

Do you know what talents you have? Do you know what skills you have? What are your talents versus skills?

For many baby boomers,the answer will be I do not know.

Most of us have forgotten what talents we have. They have been blurred into building our career, making money, paying the mortgage, putting our kids through college, saving for retirement,……

Talents

Lets look at the definition of Talent. According to Dictionary.com

tal·ent [tal-uhnt]

noun

1. a special natural ability or aptitude: a talent for drawing.
A talent is something we do naturally. It is something that we do not think about we just do it.
Think back to your childhood. What did you just love to do? What did you do that it required little thought? What did you do that left you energized?
Think back to when you entered adulthood. Ask yourself the same questions.
Is this hard?
Make a list of all of your talents. Hmmm… can’t think of any or only a few? Let’s move on.

talents versus skillsSkills

Lets look at the definition of Skill. According to Dictionary.com

skill1 [skil]

noun

1. the ability, coming from one’s knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well: Carpentry was one of his many skills.

A skill is something that we learn. Skills are developed. You might attend training to learn a skill. You will practice that skill. You can master a skill such that it appears to be a talent.

This might be a hard skill like programming, hardware design, technical writing, web design, content marketing,…..

This might be a soft skill like negotiating, project management, people management, …..

Make a list of all of the skills you have. This will take a while.

What talents enabled you to learn these skills?

Again, I ask what are your talents versus skills? Getting any easier?

I previous wrote a blog post titled – Larry Bird, Winners, Talents and Skills

I quoted the great basketball player Larry Bird – A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals

What are your God-given talents?

(More: What are your natural talents?)

The Crux of the Problem

If you have been working for thirty plus years like me, you have developed a lot of skills. I have been paid a lot of money to produce products and services using those skills.

The crux of the problem is many of us are now saying we are sick and tired of using those skills.

Why did we develop some of those skills? Many times it was because our employer paid us to develop those skills? Did we like using those skills? Many times using those skills was okay!When were required to use those skills over and over and over and over….. it got old real fast.

When we say, we have had enough you may hear:

  • You are so good at it, why would you want to quit?
  • They pay you a lot of money, why would you want to quit?

Sound familiar?

The problem is the over use of those skills that were developed because someone else wanted you to learn those skills.

Over the last twenty five years, I have inhaled many complex technologies and spit them back out in culturally neutral stories, analogies, pictures, animations and other adult learning formats. I am really good it. I enjoy the design and creation of the materials but if I have to inhale one more complex technology that has no real social value well …….

I am really good at the inhalation process, but that is a skill that I have developed. I do not want to do it anymore!

What about you? What are your talents versus skills.

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Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my whitepaperDon’t Retire Even If you Can and What to do Instead – A Baby Boomer Manifesto

Check out theBoomerJobTips Page for the latest  curated content relating to baby boomers.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Larry Bird, Winners, Talents and Skills

Talents and Skills

Winners, Talents and Skills

I was looking for a quote about talents and skills. I found the following quote from Hall of Fame Basketball player Larry Bird:

A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals

Larry Bird

I am only a few months older than Larry Bird. We were in college at the same time. I was at basketball dude Northwestern University while he took little known Indiana State to the National Championship game his junior year.
Anyone who saw Larry standing on the sideline would say he was just an average player. In college, he was tall and some would say did not look like an athlete.

Talents

He had some real natural talents. My guess they were great vision and hands. He could see the court and teammates out of the corner of his eye. He could make the basketball twirl and spin in his subtle hands.

Skills

Larry Bird developed into a tremendous shooter and passer. Did this come naturally?  No, he worked hard at it. His talents made it seem easy. He could see things on the court that allowed him to leverage the natural skills in his hands to make great passes.

Would you call Larry Bird a winner? HECK YES!

What are your talents?

I want you to go back to childhood. What did you just love to do?

I was talking with my friend who gave me the idea for this whole series and asked her what she loved to do.

She loved to ride horses. It was the challenge of working with the horse. A horse that was big and powerful. She thoroughly enjoyed it.

Childhood was a time of innocence. We did not have work, society, and other factors telling us what we wanted or loved to do.

What were your talents in your youth?

Did you build skills to complement your talents?

If you had identified your natural talents did your build skills that complement them. For myself, the answer was no. I quickly got on the path of doing what my parents told me to do.

There is enough time in your life to develop new skills. Target them to complement your unique and individualistic talents.

Are you ready to discover your talents?

I just celebrated my second anniversary of saying goodbye to corporate America. As I prepare to do my 2012 income taxes, this will be the first time in over 40 years where I did not receive a single paycheck in a calendar year.

I am discovering my talents and focusing on developing new skills that complement my talents.

How about you? Are you ready to focus on your talents and skills to become a WINNER?

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Check out my new book!

Repurpose Your Career by Marc Miller and Susan Lahey

“If you’re deciding what to do for act two of your career, read this book.” ~ Miriam Salpeter, Keppie Careers

Available on Amazon.com

You can also download my whitepaperDon’t Retire Even If you Can and What to do Instead – A Baby Boomer Manifesto

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Your Talents and Skills – Do you know the difference?

Talents and Skills

I had a conversation with a friend last week about her talents and skills. This friend has a masters degree in Education and has been a training professional for many years.  She went huh.

If she struggles differentiating between talents and skills then well…. this is worth discussing.

Talents

Talents and SkillsDictionary.com gives the definition of Talent - special natural ability or aptitude: a talent for drawing.

A talent is something that comes naturally to you.

What are your talents?

I am in the Leadership Austin Essentials Class  for 2013 and in our opening retreat we were asked to tell the group what was special about ourselves. I had to think about this.

I am a story teller. I can tell stories anytime. I have an incredible knack to craft stories. I have naturally weaved this throughout my technical training and speaking career.

A talent is something that you look forward to doing.

What is special about you?

Skills

Talents and SkillsDictionary.com gives the definition of skillsthe ability, coming from one’s knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well: Carpentry was one of his many skills.

I have lots of technical skills. I am planning to create an audible version of my book, Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers. I developed the skill for recording and editing high quality audio in my last corporate gig. In fact, I recorded and edited well over 20 hours of online curriculum. Was it a talent that came naturally?

NO!

I had to learn a lot about:

  • Positioning of the microphone
  • Preparing my voice for recording
  • Techniques for marking and then editing the audio
  • and much more

This was a most definitely a skill.

I have acquired most of my skills in my career at the bequest of my employer. I most often acquired a skill because my job required it. It was not because I wanted to acquire the skill!

Your Talents and Skills

Take a moment to write down all of your talents. These are the things you look forward to doing.

Is this difficult?

Now create a list of all of your skills.

On that same list, write down why you acquired each skill.

Many of us have acquired a lot of skills in our careers. Are there any you do not want to use anymore?

For most of you who are over 50 years old, the answer is probably YES!

What skills do you want to bring forward in your career?

What skills would you like to leave behind?

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Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons below?

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Check out my new book!

Repurpose Your Career by Marc Miller and Susan Lahey

“If you’re deciding what to do for act two of your career, read this book.” ~ Miriam Salpeter, Keppie Careers

Available on Amazon.com

You can also download my whitepaperDon’t Retire Even If you Can and What to do Instead – A Baby Boomer Manifesto

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

What if you are not passionate about anything? – Followup

I have been writing this blog for eleven months.  The audience steadily grows by 10-15% per month. The traffic to the website should approach 4,000 visits in the month of May.

It is always interesting to see what garners attention measured by visits, social shares or comments.  My post on “What if you are not passionate about anything?” hit a home run for comments.

I post this blog on about 20 LinkedIn groups, my CareerPivot FaceBook page, my personal Google+ page and I even tweet some. Over all of those mediums I have received well over 80 comments.

The responses have been varied but similar to these.

  • Wow I am just like you. I am interested in many things but not passionate about any one area.

There is comfort when you know you are not alone.

  • I am interested in many things; when multiple interests are filled at work I am the most content.

I had a couple of comments like this and it is also true for me.  When I can combine my many interests in one project or job it is a lot of fun and I can feel true passion.

  • Do you have a pulse?  If so, you should be passionate about something!

We humans are a very special species.  More importantly no two of us are alike.  I have been fortunate to travel the world in my career.  I have taught in over 35 different countries and I spent a lot of time in the Peoples Republic of China from 2000 to 2003.  The more I understood the Chinese culture, the less I understood it. We are all different.

My favorite comment was:

Marc, I went on your blog.
In that post, you state that you are not passionate about anything.
In the About section of your same blog is stated : Marc is passionate about his work and the clients he serves.
I am confused…

My only response was to say You Got Me! I am passionate about helping people.  That is why I am doing what I am doing!

The last comment I got mentioned a TED talk by Larry Smith called Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career . This is as most of the TED videos quite thought provoking.

Thank to everyone for sharing!

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Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Do you really know what you are passionate about?

Late last year I started working with a client who was very unhappy with her current work environment.  We discussed how we would go about discovering all of the factors that surround her work and personal life.  I believe you cannot separate them.  Our first step was for my client to take the Birkman assessment.  Her interests came back as the following.

We discussed her Scientific interest and it was right in line with what she had done much of her career.

When we discussed the Artistic interest my client’s response was I am not artistic!!!

I asked her, did she like going to art galleries? To paint or work with clay or…..

The answer was some.

I then turned the discussion to my client’s home.  My client’s face lit up when they talked about her kitchen.  The kitchen had gone through a total remodel and this was a project of joy.  We talked about other projects that involved color and design.  My client’s face just glowed with enjoyment.

I later talked to some people who knew my client very well and asked them did they think my client was artistic. They went duh! Look at the house!

My client worked in HR for a very large organization.  Art would never be integrated into her work life.  I introduced my client to my image consultant who besides helping with clothes, color and other image related topics is helping her to integrate art into her daily life.

Just as with my wife and her outdoors interest my client knew– but did not know– how important art was to her.

Why do you think we do that?  Why do some people forget what is important to them?  I have some ideas on the subject  but I would like your perspective.

I will move on to a new topic next week – Social Media and Career – I will be looking at this from the Baby Boomer perspective.

Do not forget about the availability of the Cure for Career Insanity webinar series launching May 22nd.

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Please share this blog with your friends and colleagues using the social sharing buttons below.  You can subscribe to this blog and my monthly newsletter by filling out the form at the top of this page.  Please visit my Career Pivot FaceBook page daily for interesting articles.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

What If You Are Not Passionate About Anything?

What if you are not passionate about anything?

Well, there are a lot of us out there who are not passionate about anything.

I have talked about those interests that you must fulfill to be happy. In my last post, I talked about my wife and her very high outdoors interest.  She knew about this — kinda but she was not aware of it to the extent that she would go outdoors when she felt blue or just needed a boost.

What happens when you are not passionate about anything!

That is me!

I do have a lot of interests but nothing I am passionate about.  This came out in my Birkman assessment. A score of 85 or above is a strong interest.  A score over 90 is something you must have in your life to be happy.

What you will notice about me is:

  • I like putting things together, either physically or logically. (Mechanical)
  • I like helping people.  I have run help desks, support groups and been in training most of my career. (Social Service)
  • I like to research stuff, and figure things out. (Scientific)
  • I like to propose ideas and communicate. (Persuasive)
  • To a lesser degree I like the outdoors. (Outdoor)

What do I not like to do?

  • I am not a reader AT ALL! (Literary)

If you have read earlier postings you would have learned that I graduated from high school reading extremely poorly.  I read at maybe 30-40 words per minute.  Reading was hard work! Even though I have overcome that in the last 30 years I still do not read for enjoyment.  I read books when required.

I do not love to do anything.  I like to do a lot of things.  This is both good and bad.  On the good side, I have been able to move around in my career.  Programmer, engineer, trainer, IT consultant, public speaker, sales person, school teacher, help desk support person, non-profit fundraiser and now a career designer.

On the bad side, I have been directionless from time to time. I wrote about this in my post when I left teaching titled Dealing with that Directionless Feeling.  Rather interesting this post is found by readers using Google search every week. I am not the only one who gets this feeling from time to time.

How about you?  Do you feel that you are not passionate about anything.

Are you driven by a single calling? I will wrap up this series in my next post.

Note: This post is found daily! If you have found this article you are not alone. There are a lot of us who are not driven by any one interest! THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU OR ME!

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Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons below?

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Check out my new book!

Repurpose Your Career by Marc Miller and Susan Lahey

“If you’re deciding what to do for act two of your career, read this book.” ~ Miriam Salpeter, Keppie Careers

Available on Amazon.com

You can also download my whitepaperDon’t Retire Even If you Can and What to do Instead – A Baby Boomer Manifesto

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Baby Boomers – How well do you know yourself?

In my last post, I posed the question about whether work fulfilled all of your interests.

What if you really do not know what you are interested in anymore?

You might say that is a silly question but I have found this to be true with many clients.  I also found this true with my bride of 32 years.

On my wife’s birthday in late 2009, we made the decision to start looking at condominiums and apartments with an intention of downsizing. We found ourselves a Realtor and started exploring.

In about six weeks, we looked at a lot of places and we found nothing that felt right. Then we walked in the condo we live in now.

It was advertised as a tree house.  It is on the second and third floors of a low rise.  Three balconies and two of them face down a hollow.  It sat up in the trees.  During the day there is no need for any lights other than in the bathroom. We have few drapes or blinds.  My wife immediately said this is it. I said let’s do some homework.  She said – this is it! I said let’s do some homework. She said – this is it! I said –…… you get the idea.

It is a beautiful unit, in a great location, condo prices were depressed so it was priced right.  Why was she making such a fuss?  A couple of years later I did her Birkman assessment and I knew.

My wife is very high outdoors interest.  Did she know this of herself? Well kinda, sorta,….  She has been a nurse and a massage therapist of 30+ years. After lots of discussion this is something that has been submerged for a very long time.

In my work with over 50 clients in the last year, is this very unusual?  Heck no!

One of my discoveries in the last year is we, the Baby Boom generation, do not know ourselves very well.

How well do you know yourself?

Over the last dozen years as I have changed careers several times, I have learned a lot about myself.  What makes me happy. What pisses me off. It has not been easy but I am much happier for it.

What about you?

I will give you some more examples in the coming week.

Do not forget about the availability of the Cure for Career Insanity webinar series launching May 22nd.

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Please share this blog with your friends and colleagues using the social sharing buttons below.  You can subscribe to this blog and my monthly newsletter by filling out the form at the top of this page.  Please visit my Career Pivot FaceBook page daily for interesting articles.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Baby Boomers – Does work fulfill what you are interested in?

All of us have different interests in life.  For some it is music, art, fix things, researching, organizing, reading, being outdoors,……

Some interests are more important than others. Some of these interests are so important that if you do not fulfill them you will not be happy.

I have written before about using the Birkman Assessment with most of my clients to discover who they are and what they want.  The Birkman measures interests in 10 different categories.  The measurement scale is 1-99.  Anything over 85 is a strong interest but anything over a 90 is something you absolutely have to have to be happy.

Let’s look at an example:

This is a former client who works in something other than the music industry.  Notice the score of 97 musical.  Their first reaction was — I cannot carry a tune!!  I have no musical talent!! However, this person regularly visits live music venues. This measurement has nothing to do with talent but Interest.  They LOVE music!

Given that this person does not want to work in the music industry because of the dysfunctional aspects of working with musicians they absolutely MUST allocate time in their personal lives for MUSIC!  It is imperative that their work allows them the personal time to fill this need!

Do you have a personal interest that is so strong that you have to have it in your life to be happy?  Think about it?

How well do you know yourself?

My experience of working with Baby Boomers is we do not know ourselves very well. We often have taken our interests and shoved them so deep that we forgot about them!

We will look at other examples in the coming couple of weeks.

Do not forget about the availability of the Cure for Career Insanity webinar series launching May 22nd.

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Please share this blog with your friends and colleagues using the social sharing buttons below.  You can subscribe to this blog and my monthly newsletter by filling out the form at the top of this page.  Please visit my Career Pivot FaceBook page daily for interesting articles.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist