• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
businessday logo


How to find your hidden talents


Everyone has a talent.  Everyone.  So maybe yours is blowing milk out your nose… it’s still a talent.  And most talents can be monetized.  The key is to find your talent and then turn it into a scalable business.  Too bad many folks get stuck on the “finding the talent” part.  Here is a list of 55 ideas, all contributed by the TPE community, on how to find your hidden talent.  You have it!  Now find it:

Sorry, no excuses allowed: First, figure out what benefits you are getting by not finding your own talents. For example, are you really afraid to try something new because it might not work, so not letting your talents surface gives you an excuse for not succeeding – or do you just feel safer being able to blame your problems (boredom, lack of money) on someone or something else? Once you know what you are gaining by not seeking out your own talents, it is easier to let go of those old outdated beliefs about yourself and move on to new ideas.

Jar painting out of necessity: I discovered my hidden talent of painting jars in 1998 when I wanted something decorative to hold my 80 flavors of tea on my kitchen counter. I have now painted over 5000 glass jars (jelly jars, pickle jars, mayonnaise jars etc.) No two are alike and I’ve sold or given most of them away filled with candy, tea, paperclips, rolled-up dollar bills.

 Mirror, mirror on the all: Think about the things that you do naturally that others say “I wish I could do that.  as good as you do” and you say “whatever, no big deal, that’s nothing, etc., etc.”

 Others see it before you: One key to discovering a hidden talent is to remain open and receptive to new ideas – no matter how crazy they may seem. For more than a dozen years after entering the workplace employers and clients regularly told me that I would make a great teacher. I never took the idea seriously because I could never see myself being comfortable in a conventional classroom environment. In 1994 I discovered a subject I am passionate about – chocolate – and now I love teaching because it’s fun, not work.

Find your strengths: The best way to find your strengths or hidden talents is to take the online test of the book, “Now, Discover your strengths!” by Marcys Buckingham. This online test will show you your hidden talents.

Capitalise on Your Strengths: Read the book Strengths Finder 2.0 (by Tom Rath). Take the assessment and Pay Attention to the messages it either provides or that it affirms.

Go with your gut: Go with your gut. Whatever gives you the most personal satisfaction is more than likely your hidden talent.

Do what you love: The best way to discover a hidden talent is to think about what you love to do. What have you always wanted to try but haven’t yet? What do you see others doing that you wish you were doing? The best tip for discovering your hidden talent is simply to think about what you love to do!

Take an improv class: An Improv Class will encourage you to think across so many genres: different movies, countries, accents, periods of time. Then you must become what is needed for the scene: an alien, an 18th century aristocrat, a 60 year old truck driver, a 5 year old girl. Get your different voices out, walk with a certain gait, dance, sing. Transform yourself on stage, and you will discover more passions and hidden talents within!

Listen carefully: People will tell you everything about themselves if you listen carefully and do not interrupt them. For hiring, friendships or doing business with them always do some background checking (credit report for example will often tell you where they live and have lived for evaluating their resume or conversation).

 Follow Eleanor Roosevelt’s Suggestion: Do something that scares you every day.” Following this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt will help you find your hidden talent(s).

Try Everything: Try everything! Whatever your hidden talent is will shine through as you’ll be mediocre (or completely suck) at everything else. The trick is to quickly realize what you’re not good at.

Comfort zones stunt your growth: The best way to explore hidden talents is to try completely new “scary” things for yourself. Skydive, sing at a Karaoke, visit a church you know nothing about, volunteer for a crisis center, join a club, study something completely foreign to you. Break out of your comfort zone and you might be surprised what gets waked up in you.

Be Creative: Each day set aside 2-3 minutes of quiet time to contemplate a project or idea you are working on – give yourself space and time to do this, if you get distracted write a note.

The idea here is to let your mind wander, we don’t see idle thinking as work yet most of us know our best ideas pop into our heads when we’re not thinking about anything in particular. So sit, be quiet and just wander, you will find wild, wacky and creative ideas that you can later develop or reject but which might just give you a whole new way to look at your world

Listen up: Listen to people that know you. You may not be that aware of the things you do best but people who know you do. Listen to people when they say, “have you ever thought of doing____?” or “You are really good at___.” Next time someone says something to you–don’t blow it off, follow up instead. Being open to other people’s experience of you can expand your ideas of yourself!

You knew as a child: Remember what you imagined or pretended when you were playing by yourself as a child, under the age of seven. This will key you into your soul’s purpose. Were you a teacher, did you build things, make clothes for your dolls, heal your pets? It is important to remember what you imagined when you were alone, and therefore un-influenced by other people, and under the age of seven when the “inner self” is more pronounced than the conscious mind and conscious ego.

Is it really hidden: Sometimes, I think our hidden talents aren’t really hidden – more like repressed or discounted and ignored. Be especially aware of what other people “see” in you that you may or may not validate or give much attention to yourself.

What’s easy for you: We all think that the things we are good at are easy, so we tend to discount their value. Conversely, we value things that we find difficult – which other people find easy. If something comes easily to you, chances are you’re good at it, too – and often the people for whom it’s not easy will pay you to do it.

Find Your sweet Spot: In order to find your sweet spot, or your unique gift, think of those things that come easy to you. To you it’s no big deal, but to others, it’s incredible. What are those things that others come to you for that for you, it’s as easy as breathing and you’d do it for fun whether you were paid or not? When your operating out of your sweet spot, your true talent will shine!

One thing with effortless ease: What did you ALWAYS dream about doing or becoming? What did you dream about doing when you were a kid? What kind of success in other people´s lives make you the most jealous or uncomfortable with your life when you see it? (even if it´s in a movie, song, book or real life)

Ignite the spark within: Our true entrepreneurial talents may be divined by the emotion sparked by engagement. Listen to your heartbeat, when it speeds our intent becomes fueled by passion which enables action. Action is the key to realizing our identified entrepreneurial talents. If the spark isn’t there, you won’t have the stamina to withstand the inevitable setbacks.

Smiley face: What do you do that makes you burst into a genuinely happy smile? Do that!

Don’t get mad, get paid: If you see something wrong, why don’t you right it’ the song goes. If something bugs you about the way things are, making a difference can make you money. Chances are if you’re annoyed by something, other people are too. All the better if you can do something profitable that helps everyone!


Fix your frustration: Ask yourself: What frustrates me? Can I fix it? If I can, why has no one fixed it, yet? It may be because fixing your source of frustration is your hidden talent, or a strength that differentiates you from ‘the rest of us.’

Find the bigger thing: Play “Find the Bigger Thing.” Consider all your ideas and write them all down, draw a circle around all the things you like, and think about it for days. Now consider what is the bigger thing that contains all those things that I loved? Do that bigger thing.


Tune in to yourself: The best way to uncover your hidden talent is to tune in to yourself. Our talents are all there but can sometimes get masked by taking other jobs just to make money. Instead, think about what you love doing. For example, I was always a very strong writer but never thought to make a career out of it. I went the practical route studying environmental science in college. Upon graduation, I worked in the environmental industry. I knew something was up when I learned I’d rather write the reports than do field work. After I realized that my talent and strength was writing, I started pursuing my writing career.

Get out of your zone: Take a class or select a hobby that’s completely out of your comfort (and possibly interest) zone. If you’re not sure what to select, ask your friends, family, and business colleagues for their suggestions. Dive in — no fear! Adopt the mindset of an explorer, filled with excitement and possibility, and you just may unearth some inner treasures.


Mike Michalowicz