We head into week three of the series, diving deeper into the juicy stuff. By that, I mean, taking a look at what makes us do what we do. How did we get here? How do we move forward? How do we obtain success and maintain it?
Each and every one of us has intrinsic motivators we must tap into to find our talent and potential. Read on to discover some of my essentials for answering these questions.
Lesson #15: Talent is never enough.
One of my favorite books that I gleaned many insights from as I began hiring a team was John Maxwell’s book, Talent is Never Enough. In it, he goes through all the reasons that a person with talent alone will never be capable of achieving their potential.
This book motivates me in my growth journey. It also serves as a reminder of the characteristics and qualities I want to hire in my team and those I want to work with as clients.
𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭 + 𝐁𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐟
Belief in yourself and your capabilities lifts your talent.
𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭 + 𝐏𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧
Passion energizes talent.
𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭 + 𝐈𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞
Initiative and self-motivation activate talent.
𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭 + 𝐅𝐨𝐜𝐮𝐬
Focus directs talent in the right direction. This often means saying no more than you say yes!
𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭 + 𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧
Preparation (an ongoing process) precedes opportunity, positioning talent for success.
𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭 + 𝐏𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐞
Practice sharpens talent. Fact: you play at the level at which you practice. Great practice equals great play.
𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭 + 𝐏𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞
Perseverance sustains talent. Perseverance is like wrestling with a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired–you quit when the gorilla is tired.
𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭 + 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐞
Courage tests talent. Courage is required when change is needed, but inaction is more comfortable. Courage is necessary to seek truth that might hurt.
𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭 + 𝐓𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐛𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲
Teachability expands talent. Paradox of life: the things that initially make you successful are rarely the things that keep you successful.
𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭 + 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐫
Character protects talent. Character requires self-discipline, personal core values, a clear sense of identity, and integrity. Character shows that who you are and whom you appear are the same–and that’s the first key to greatness.
𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭 + 𝐑𝐞𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩𝐬
Relationships influence talent. For talent to take flight, surround yourself with encouragers who add value, rather than those who pull in the wrong direction, drain you, or knock you down.
𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭 + 𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐛𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲
Responsibility strengthens talent. It’s a foundation for success, and when handled correctly, leads to more responsibility, ultimately building a solid reputation.
𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭 + 𝐓𝐞𝐚𝐦𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤
Teamwork multiplies your talent. Teamwork divides the effort and multiplies effect.
Lesson #16: Thoughts run your life.
The book of Proverbs is absolutely my favorite book of the Bible. I believe it contains so much wisdom about the way life and circumstances work. There’s a lot of “if this, then that” in the book of Proverbs. One of my favorite scriptures in the book is in Chapter 4, verse 23: “Be careful what you think. Your thoughts run your life.”
I believe that the thoughts we focus on become our beliefs. Those beliefs result in actions and are the basis for our decisions. Those actions become habits. Those actions, habits, and decisions (even the micro ones) result in the composition of our lives.
Please hear me when I say this–if you’re out pursuing a goal, a dream, a business, or anything else, and someone says to you, “You can’t” or “You’re not good enough” or “You’ll never succeed,” YOU HAVE A CHOICE. That choice is whether or not you’re going to allow those thoughts to become a belief.
This goes for our own self talk too. What we say to ourselves can be one of the most encouraging voices or one of the most detrimental. I’ve had many people ask me about this before, and it seems to be a challenge for many people. They’ll say, how do I shift my negative self-image when it feels like I have so many things that support it. To that, I tell them to focus on the things you’re good at. Look for the things you have been successful in and remind yourself of those things. Just because you’ve failed in the past does not mean you’re a failure. Failures foster innovation. I believe that’s why Elon Musk’s response to the crash of Starship prototype SN11 was, “At least the crater is in the right place!”
He understands that without learning what doesn’t work, it’s impossible to create what does. Innovation and creation involve trial and error; it’s a learning experience. Each failure is one step closer to potential success. So, shake off the fails, learn from them, laugh at them, and keep going!
Lesson #17: Ego is the enemy of your success.
Your potential, the absolute best you’re capable of—that’s the metric to measure yourself against. Winning is not enough. People can get lucky and win. People can be jerks and win. Anyone can win, but not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.
Ego leads to envy, and it rots the bones of people big and small. Ego convinces you that what you have, who you are, and what you’ve accomplished is never enough. Ego forces you to portray yourself a certain way to get all the glory for what you’ve done (and then some). Ego rejects feedback and criticism, meeting them only with excuses and justifications. Ego talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk.
That’s what is so insidious about talk. Anyone can talk about himself or herself. Even a child knows how to gossip and chatter. Most people are decent at hype and sales. So what is scarce and rare? Silence. The ability to deliberately keep yourself out of the conversation and subsist without its validation. Silence is the respite of the confident and the strong.
As Ryan Holiday says in his book Ego is the Enemy:
“When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real. What replaces ego is humility, yes—but rock-hard humility and confidence. Whereas ego is artificial, this type of confidence can hold weight. Ego is stolen. Confidence is earned. Ego is self-anointed, its swagger is artifice. One is girding yourself, the other gaslighting. It’s the difference between potent and poisonous.”
Ego is something you always have to be on guard against. You can’t let it creep in. You’ve got to stay humble. Because once you do win, everyone is gunning for you. It’s during your moment at the top that you can afford ego the least—because the stakes are so much higher, the margins for error are so much smaller. If anything, your ability to listen, to hear feedback, to improve and grow matter more now than ever before.
Lesson #18: Mindset is what separates the best from the rest.
A fixed mindset is one in which you view your talents and abilities as, well, fixed. In other words, you are who you are, your intelligence and talents are what they are, and your fate is to go through life avoiding challenge and failure.
On the other hand, a growth mindset is one in which you see yourself as a fluid work in progress, embracing challenges as opportunities for growth. Your fate is one of growth and opportunity.
“People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.” – Travis Bradberry
I believe one of the keys to adopting a growth mindset requires an understanding that you’ll never be perfect in this journey. You’re always going to have opportunities to grow and develop. When you adopt that idea as truth, it makes it easier to face challenges as an opportunity. It becomes easier to ask for help, which ultimately helps you learn and grow faster.
I encourage you to evaluate the areas you may be struggling in and ask yourself if you’re operating in a growth or fixed mindset.
Lesson #19: We possess the ability to be either a creator or a creature of our circumstances.
To be proactive means to take action before it’s required. Being proactive also equates to being effective; taking responsibility for your own life. Being proactive is a position you take towards the world. It requires recognizing that your behavior is a decision you make, not something controlled by outside forces.
Alternatively, being reactive lets physical conditions, social environments, or circumstances dictate your actions and choices.
Proactive mindsets take the initiative, set goals, and go after them. It’s not that they are unaffected by the unexpected, but they are (most of the time) more prepared.
Proactive mindsets rely on their carefully established personal values to interact and respond to the world around them. Reactive mindsets depend on outside input to react to the world around them, which often results in being tossed and turned by the tides of life.
Proactive mindsets strategize, plan, and follow through. Reactive mindsets allow the rest of the world to dictate their responses.
Proactive mindsets are most often creators of their circumstances, reactive mindsets are most often creatures of their circumstances.
Be a creator of circumstance, not a creature of circumstance.
Lesson #20: Sometimes, you have to say “no” to the good, so you can say “yes” to the great.
When I first heard this statement from John Maxwell, I didn’t understand what it really meant. It was a foreign concept to me. It was an idea I had to shelf for a little while as I looked for an opportunity to prove this idea to be true or false in my life.
Fast forward a few weeks, and I’m sitting around a fire pit with some friends as we hung out discussing life. The topic shifted to work, and I listened to those around me talk about their work lives. Some were loving their work. Some were miserable. Then it came to me. As my friends asked me about my perspectives in work, I responded with the fact that I felt like the work I was doing was good, but I wasn’t satisfied with it anymore. I had been in a cycle of telling myself that feeling that way was selfish because the role I was in allowed me to serve the community. The reality, though, was that there was a reason I was dissatisfied, but it wasn’t selfish.
As my friends and I continued the conversation, I discovered that I felt that way because there was something different I wanted to do. I was in my mid to late 20s and had found some things about myself, things I was good at, things I wanted to develop and pursue within myself. Something I wanted to pursue further in the world of entrepreneurship. That was the moment it clicked. Instead of telling myself the things I wanted to pursue were selfish, I should have more quickly realized that I needed to take action. It was time to muster the courage to say “no” to the good (but also mundane, repetitive, and at times stagnant work I was doing), so I could say “yes” to the greater things ahead.
What are some things you may have to say no to so that you can say yes to something greater?
Lesson #21: Know thyself (and those around you).
One of the greatest tools I have found is personality assessments. I say this for many reasons, but most importantly, these assessments helped me learn more about myself. They were able to identify my natural strengths and weaknesses. They explained why I thought the way I thought, why I do what I do, where I need to grow beyond my natural weaknesses, and how to interact with others.
I had a friend once who struggled to understand my perspectives early on, and I hers. One day we were in the car discussing something on a topic I can’t remember, but I know the discussion was getting heated. I finally stopped and said, “if we’re going to make it as good friends, we need to learn about each other’s personality types.” My friend was a bit shocked at first. As I explained to her that we are very different people with different goals, ideas, and perspectives, she became interested in the concept. She took the MBTI right then, and we soon learned we were complete opposites. She found it so intriguing to learn about herself and then about my type of personality. I remember reading through some of my type descriptions, and she would respond with, “So that’s why you do that–I had no idea!”
My friend and I building awareness about our differing personalities made us better communicators. She and I shared the responsibility of pulling off a major community-wide event each year. That level of understanding we had developed made it so much easier to communicate and read each other.
Now, personality tests are a staple for me. My team members take an assessment when they’re onboarded, and personality is a topic we visit often. It makes us function better as a team. It makes us more compassionate and empathetic towards each other. It also makes us more collaborative and innovative.
Two of my favorites are the MBTI and the Enneagram. Whichever personality test you begin to explore, it’s crucial to view your weaknesses as opportunities for growth, development, and self-awareness, not as an excuse or crutch for not growing.
I will wrap up by presenting you with a challenge: Take action.
What that looks like will differ for each person reading this. But I encourage you to take a personality assessment, get your hands on one of these books, get quiet with yourself and ponder some of the questions throughout this post. Take action, and see what momentum may start within you.