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5 Ways to Quit Hiding Your Talent by Next Friday!

I remember very few commercial slogans. However this one, from the 70's and 80's, struck a chord in me and many, many others. In fact, it's been called the most successful public service marketing slogan of all time! It was simply this: Give to the Unitited Negro College Fund because... "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." How can you argue with that!? Who would want to waste the potential good arising when a mind is not educated, equipped and empowered? But, I would argue most of us waste something even more important almost every day and the costs are off the charts. Most waste their talent. Less than a third of U.S. employees were engaged with their jobs in 2014 according to a Gallup poll. Though engagement from 2013 was up by almost two percent (the highest it's been since the year 2000), 51 percent were still “not engaged” and 17.5 percent were “actively disengaged.” That's right. Do you think there might be some wasted talent out there? No. Not always fully, but if someone wastes 60% of their talent, is that a waste? How about when they waste 40%? Who loses then!?

And so, having spent too many years wasting my own talent, I'm now deeply passionate to 1. Never again waste my best talents. 2. Never stop encouraging, empowering, cajoling and challenging others not to waste theirs! Benjamin Franklin, kind of a big deal of a guy, once said "Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?" 1. Clarify WHAT TALENT you might be wasting! In a better world, our families, schools and churches would have empowered us to know our talents and even develop our talents. That's right. No one would have been seen as "educated" until they were excavated to know their best skills and talents.

Sadly, most parents, teachers and pastors haven't been equipped to help others discover their truest talents. And, yes, for some it's obvious. They know they're great at basketball or public speaking or even parenting. But, for many, their greatest talents are a bit more hidden. They're things like organzing projects, or researching solutions, or writing music or coaching people. And it's very possible, they've never taken a course on this or had someone call it out and name it! Do you sense there's a talent you have you aren't fully utilizing? What is that? 2. Consider the Best ENVIRONMENT for Your Talent Assuming you know the talent, where will that talent flourish? Instructing children may not work in your corporate setting. Environments to consdider may be things like sports, non-profit, entrepreneurial (your own biz), marketing organization, entertainment, teaching, small firm, large firm... etc. Too many talented people find themselves in the wrong environment. Right skills. Wrong place! And changing enviroments can change everything! 3. Contemplate WHO BENEFITS most when you use your talent. It's true that YOU benefit when you use your talents (energy, self-image, money, freedom) and quit hiding your talents, but as Author Rick Warren wrote in the first line of the Purpose Driven Life, "It's not all about you!" When you realize who else benefits from your talents, it enables you to see the higher purpose for what you do AND recognize that it's actually selfish for others to not benefit from your writing, or your organizing, or your even your sales! Who loses out when you hide your talent? 4. Create Your DREAM SCENARIO for Using It. So, it may not be obvious at first of how you can utilize your best talent, so you may have to do a little imagining. Think outside the box. Three years, from now, if you were utilizing your best talent, where would you be? What would you be doing? Who else's life would be better? 5. QUIT ALLOWING FEAR to Hold You Back! Finally, the thing that almost everyone has in common when it comes to unlocking their real talent is one pervasive enemy: Fear. Fear keeps us unwilling to change. Unwilling to invest in ourselves. Unwilling to see things could be different. Nuff said on that! GO for it!

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