Every time I’m in the throes of writing a book, which I am at the moment, something strange happens. Random but clear thoughts pop in my head that have little to do with my current work. I generally scratch them in a notebook, certain that they have little value.
Over the past few months I’ve inserted them here and there on this blog. You can generally identify them by their philosophical nature, sometimes tied to the notion of artistry at work. I’ve decided to make my notes public.
Why not? Love em or hate em, I’m OK with either. I’ll categorize them as “Artistry at Work,” and shoot for a once a week on the weekend post, to give you something to ponder in what I hope is off-time.
Here’s the latest. Imagine you’re peeking into my notebook…spit and polish added in transposing.
“While one should always study the method of a great artist, one should never imitate his manner. The manner of an artist is essentially individual; the method of an artist is absolutely universal. The first is personality, which no one should copy; the second is perfection, which all should aim at.” Oscar Wilde
“Any technique which will increase self-knowledge in depth should in principle increase one’s creativity.” Abraham Maslow
The search for business artistry begins with locating our unique and enduring talents. Learning to recognize and understand those gifts is the first priority, for the true colors of the business artist are found on the palette of natural talents.
But what is talent? Simply put, it is pure potential, the mystical constellation of qualities each of us is born with. Raw at birth and developed throughout our lives, our talents are our greatest source of power and performance at work.
Modern science proves Leonardo da Vinci’s assertion that “without the heart, hands and head working together, there is no art.” In fact, each is controlled by one of the three major sectors of the brain. The limbic system controls emotions (heart), brain stem control motor functionality (hands), and the neocortex controls logic (head). Together, these three centers produce our unique talent set. But discovering our individual signature talents remains difficult.
Talent is easily observed in athletics and the performing arts, but talent has a hand in all kinds of work. Organizing is a talent, facilitating is a talent, strategizing is a talent, persuading is a talent. The problem is that these kinds of workplace talents are often invisible, at least to ourselves.
So how and where do we look for our talents?
Start with what comes most naturally. Examine our passions, proficiencies and proclivities. Seems like so much common sense, but the reality is we rarely practice it. Most of us don’t really know what our talents are, because they’re the air we breathe and we simply take them for granted.
Too, we often ignore our talents because we’ve been trained to go after what we don’t have, rather than strengthen what we already possess. Many people hesitate to even look for their talents, afraid that they might not find anything too spectacular. Focusing only on what we’re presently good at in the search for talent may lead us down a blind alley, because we may have developed competency and skill in non-talent areas – but we’ll never be great or achieve artistry that way.
Ask others you work with for three words that best describe what they think your trull talent is. My bet is it’ll come as a complete surprise to you.
Just a thought.