What is talent?

Something happened to me today that made me think about this topic. What is talent? Depending on who you ask, you'll get different answers. But what is it truly? Is it your past achievements, your past accomplishments? Or is it merely the sum opinion of what others think of you. Perception is a powerful thing. You could be the most talented individual in the world, but if the world does not view you in that way, are you really? It's a harsh reality that many people in the corporate world face every day. Your career becomes what other people think of your accomplishments and failures. You're labeled as talented not by if you truly are, but by the right people indicating you as such. This works well for some and not so well for others.

Every organization has some type of talent management, many thinking they have it down to a tee until its turned upside down by a new research paper or academic study. But what happens to the people who aren't labeled as talented? What happens to the people who have talent in their blood, but who get discouraged because no one else believes them as such. How many people never get the chance to be awesome because they aren't in an environment that plays to their strengths? I've met many people in my career so far who are regarded as highly talented and many more who just gave up. The sad truth is that the ones who gave up are some of the biggest losses. Someone can only stay self motivated for so long until they decide that they no longer care. I've watched many talented friends leave great jobs because they were done trying to impress people who weren't paying attention.

So what is talent? Well, I can only tell you my definition. Talent is drive. Talent is passion. Talent is enjoying what you do and who you work with. You can create an environment that produces highly talented individuals. I experienced it first hand in one of my prior roles.  People were molded into leaders, nurtured and grown by their peers and manager. They were forgiven for their mistakes, put in an environment where they were encouraged to take risks and weren't considered truly part of the team until they made their first major screw-up. That is an environment that hones talent. That is how you create high performers. The people who fail are the ones who refuse to accept responsibility, the ones who allow laziness and jealousy to have its way with them. Talent is grown and honed and when more companies start to realize that, the floodgates of success will open.

Michael Price, the author of The Millenial's Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the Real World, listed the below items as the top traits that make people successful.

  • They challenge the status quo
  • They don't fear failure, they embrace it
  • They have a strong sense of self
  • They desire to improve things
  • They are goal-oriented
  • They have confidence
  • They have a positive relationship with time
  • They are optimistic
  • They embrace challenges
  • They stay focused on the few

For the article I pulled the above list from click here.