Your Talent Advantage: What Is It and How Do You Use It?
There are many benefits to learning about Perceptual Style Theory (PST) and knowing your Perceptual Style (PS). Our recent blog posts have highlighted many of them – increased self-awareness, improved communications, and more understanding of interpersonal conflict. One of Perceptual Style Theory’s most important and useful contributions is the concept of “Your Talent Advantage”.
Simply put, Your Talent Advantage is the idea that each of us is born with a unique set of natural skills potential. These skill potentials are directly related to our Perceptual Style. When we recognize and develop these skills to their full potential, we use our “Talent Advantage.” Regular and intentional use of the skills associated with our Talent Advantage leads to satisfaction, meaning, and greater fulfillment in life and at work. Ignoring Your Talent Advantage wears you out psychologically, emotionally, and physically.
When I describe Your Talent Advantage to others, I often see smiles and knowing nods. It seems that we are all familiar with the concept in some shape or form, and more importantly, the concept resonates with what we know to be true. Yet the amazing thing to me is how many people “understand” the concept yet fail to truly live it.”
Claiming Your Talent Advantage and using it to experience a fulfilled life are more than theoretical concepts for me. I have spent over 40 years learning about, researching, and applying Talent Advantage to the lives of others as well as my own. I truly understand the difficulties involved with fully living the theory. It seems this concept is much easier to describe conceptually than it is to transform into reality.
Ultimately, I am aware of the forces at work in our lives that keep us from claiming our skills and living our talents. But more importantly, I also know the joy and sense of meaning that can be experienced when you choose to be driven by Your Talent Advantage. In other words, the benefits of living Your Talent Advantage outweigh any potential hurdles you might face along the way!
When my father died in 2002, I had the painful task of going through his things and deciding what to do with them. I remember opening one of his dresser drawers and discovering two or three shirts that were brand new and still folded and pinned as they came from the store. My father was the type of person who would continue to wear something until it was ready to fall apart, even when he had a suitable replacement. If asked why he didn’t start wearing the new one, he would reply, “I’m saving it.” The irony of dying while still owning thirty-year-old brand-new unworn shirts that were being saved would be laughable if it were not so sad.
Like my father’s new shirts, the time to use Your Talent Advantage is now. If you wait for “the right time” or until you “really need it,” it will be too late. Life will pass you by as you continue to work away in jobs and careers that use skills and roles that wear you out and leave you exhausted. Someday you will arrive at the same destination that we all do. Do you want to arrive fulfilled by the journey, having lived a life of meaning, full of joy? Then make a decision to fully use Your Talent Advantage. Make it today.
Like many, you may find yourself thinking, “Well, I understand what I read, and I like the idea of discovering and using my Talent Advantage, but how do I do it?”
The simple answer is one intentional step at a time.
If you haven’t done so already, take the Perceptual Style Assessment and the Recognized Strengths Profile. The results package provides a step-by-step process to identify your unique Talent Advantage. Understanding, accepting, and celebrating Your Talent Advantage creates a high-water mark against which to evaluate what you are doing in life and make changes where desired.
Let’s take your job or career, for example.
One of the most powerful aspects of understanding Your Talent Advantage is knowing the activities and behaviors that feed you rather than drain you. So, start by looking at your job or career in light of what Your Talent Advantage tells you about yourself. Ask yourself how you chose to do what you are doing. Did you consciously choose it, or is it something you “just fell into”? Are the activities and behaviors you engage in every day on the job things you like to do, or do you dread facing another day of work?
If you are like most people, you took the job you have because your employer accepted your application for work, not because you had evaluated it as a good fit for you. Additionally, the things you do daily are probably just tasks to get through until it’s time to quit. If true, it’s probably time to find a new way to make a living.
Now, ask yourself what you really want to do.
The answer to this question needs to be a set of skills, activities, and behaviors, not a job title. Instead of “I want to be a bookkeeper,” it should be “I like working with numbers” or “I enjoy classifying debits and credits into a spreadsheet to balance accounts.”
I am often asked if Perceptual Style Theory can be used to help young people discover what they want to do with their lives. The answer is yes, but not in the usual “career counseling” way. Knowing Your Talent Advantage will not tell you in which industry to seek employment, and it will not give you a specific occupation or job title. What awareness of Your Talent Advantage will provide is knowledge of the type of activities and behaviors for which you have natural potential and, therefore, can provide meaning and joy in your life.
Knowing Your Talent Advantage does not tell you what you should do as much as it tells you how you need to do it.
Your Talent Advantage can provide you with the specific types of behaviors, activities, skills, and roles that need to be part of any work you do for that work to be meaningful and satisfying.
With knowledge of Your Talent Advantage, you can create a list of five to ten key skills against which you evaluate potential employment or businesses. Use interviews as a two-way conversation to determine how well the job you are applying for fits the skills you bring. Even in tough economic times, taking a job or starting a business that does not allow you to use Your Talent Advantage is likely to result in dissatisfaction.
Remember, there are many jobs, careers, and businesses where you can excel with Your Talent Advantage. Finding the one that fits you is so much easier when you know what you are looking for.
About Dr. Gary M. Jordan, Ph.D.
Gary Jordan, Ph.D., has over 35 years of experience in clinical psychology, behavioral assessment, individual development, and coaching. He earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology – Berkeley. He is co-creator of Perceptual Style Theory, a revolutionary psychological assessment system that teaches people how to unleash their deepest potentials for success. He’s a partner at Vega Behavioral Consulting, Ltd., a consulting firm that specializes in helping people discover their true skills and talents. For more information, visit https://www.YourTalentAdvantage.com.
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