Even Talents Need to Grow: Growth Practices for the 34 Strengths

34 strengths strengths Jun 23, 2020

Even talents need to grow. This thesis flies in the face of folks who want it easy. Unfortunately, there are many people who take a talent assessment, glance at the results, think "I knew I was good at this," then toss the results in the trash because now their talents are confirmed.

They think they've "done the talent assessment" and have a handle on their talents.

Just the Beginning

But an assessment is only the beginning. A talent assessment merely reveals areas of talent; it shines the light on what you ought to do more of.

We need this because sometimes using our talents is as natural as breathing, and we think everyone does these same things that come effortlessly to us like:

  • meeting new people people
  • mobilizing others toward action
  • teaching students as individuals

An assessment shines the light on what's already there.

But that doesn't mean the work is done. A talent isn't a strength yet. A talent is raw potential. A strength on the other hand, is an activity that produces a positive outcome.

Can you see that potential is different than a positive outcome?

Talents Have Limitations

The best way to get to a postive outcome is through your potential; the best way to produce a strength is through a talent. But talents have limitations, and they won't reach their status as strengths unless you work at it.

For example, I have a talent to see connections between different systems. So tying together Strengths and the Enneagramfive-fold value of Human Resources, and 12 types of prayer has been fun for me.

However, this same talent can sometimes make me see connections that aren't there. I can be impractically mysterious, reading into signs and symbols, imbuing transcendent meaning into mere coincidences.

A first step is identifying talent, but that's just a first step. Growing talents into strengths and pointing them in the right direction come next, but unfortunately, most people abandon the journey after step one.

When they do that, they take a step backward in their talent development. Their talents don't get a fighting chance to become strengths. They will remain mediocre.

Growth Practices

One way to develop your talents into strengths is through growth practices. These are disciplines, meaning they don't happen naturally unless by disciplines, that will help to grow your talents into what they can be.

Our Growth Practices worksheet suggests growth practices for each of the 34 talent themes and provides space at the end to come up with your own.

Here's to your growth and development!

(If you like the Enneagram, here are also growth practices for the nine drives.)


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