Since I'm in career transition, I've been giving talents and skills a lot of thought.
I recently read and loved Geoff Colvin's Humans Are Underrated: Proving Your Value in the Age of Brilliant Technology. His premise is that eventually it won't be the "hard skills" so valued today that will keep our jobs safe, but the soft ones that make us uniquely human. So there will be a lot fewer programmers, doctors, and lawyers and those still viable will be great at developing human ties with others: the ones with high EQ. Women will finally have an advantage when that day comes.
But that day is still some time away, and in the interim, I envy those that have a talent or skill that allows them to excel, be fulfilled, and in demand. I just finished reading Kym Gold's Golden Standard on how she founded the True Religion brand, and this perfectly demonstrates what I mean.
Kym had a knack for fashion everyone recognized and she realized this was something she could turn into a career. With each business that she founded and that didn't succeed, she learned what to do better the next time. And even when ousted from her own successful businesses, she was always able to start over since her talent was so valuable and distinctive.
That type of talent is precious. At one point I thought writing was my talent. Story ideas would present themselves all the time and I loved putting them to paper and seeing how the characters and plot evolved. Ironically majoring in creative writing dried out my inspiration. I've since discovered that I have certain strengths and try to apply them where I can, but that's not the same as talent.
I still enjoy some types of writing (obviously) and believe I have a minor talent for teaching, but neither of these are things I'm driven to do all the time or that make me stand out. The "strengths" I've discovered on the job can be deemed as minor talents as well.
Perhaps my talent is learning and evolving in addition to teaching. Maybe not the most distinctive or glamorous of talents, but perhaps more useful. And thankfully there will come a day when my soft skills will be more valued.
Do you know what your talents and strengths are? How often do you use them?