Written by Dr. Michael Monroe Kiefer
In the early 1990’s a long term research project was initiated to study “Peak Performers”…people who had raised themselves to the top 1% of their fields. The Powermind Project as it was named, analyzed dozens of life histories of individuals from the late 1800’s to the late 1990’s and looked at both business and sports fields. In every case where a peak performer was studied, several common threads were seen. 1. All peak performers based their career on their natural talents and genetically inherited skills. 2. They were goal setters. 3. They used subconscious conditioning techniques, namely affirmations and visualizations and 4. Most had mastered the use of superconscious power to far out perform the average person. This gave them a tremendous competitive edge in their chosen field and allowed them to rise to the top quickly. It also enabled them to be highly motivated and energized as they developed themselves and perfected their talent. This article will focus on point number one: Discovering Natural Talents.
Recent research shows that about 75 percent of the average working population in the U.S. are working in jobs where they are not effectively utilizing their natural talents. The biggest reason for this, is that they are unaware of their natural talents! The sooner a person discovers their natural talents, the better off they will be in life. In our research we learned that it took some peak performers over half of their adult lives to find their talents. In other cases, especially with Olympic gold medalists, talents were usually recognized in early childhood.
Natural talents are of two basic types, physical skills, such as batting a base ball and mental talents, such as being able to do algebra in your head. Many people have multiple talents or themed talents. The key to a successful job, career and fulfillment in life is to maximize the use of your natural talents on the job or to earn money. The key to a high performance work or sports team is to have everyone on the team working in an area of their natural talent. Professional sports teams do this all the time. They seek out top talent in specific positions and develop those players based on raw talent and position. This same principle can be applied in the workplace and on projects to enhance overall team performance.
In sports fields, talents are fairly obvious, but in the workplace they can go unrecognized. People need a comprehensive understanding of their talent package to work confidently in their jobs and also to know what tasks or project positions to volunteer for. Managers also need a good working knowledge of their total team talent so they can manage projects and workflow to enhance speed, quality and efficiency. This is called, talent based management and is the key to top performing work teams.
So… how can we gain insights into our natural talents? The best way is to take a comprehensive questionnaire and analyze it for talent patterns and themes.
Here are a few classic questions to think about to help you identify your natural talents.
- Have people consistently complimented you on something on the job and you thought nothing of it? What was it they were referring to?
- What three subjects fascinate you? Why?
- Make a list of all of your hobbies, past and present, since childhood. What do they have in common?
Armed with solid knowledge about your natural talents and those of your coworkers, a highly productive, energized, rewarding and motivated working environment can be created!! One where everyone is happy, contributing to their own personal and professional development.