How to Recognize True Strength vs. Talent at Work

by Scott Crabtree

Do you know your true strengths? Unlock your full potential by discovering the difference between strength vs. talent in the workplace. (Hint: if you know what you’re skilled at, you’re only halfway there…)

***Watch the video or continue reading below.***


The Secret to Knowing Your Strengths

Strengths are talent plus energy. And the distinction is critical, because if you have one and not the other, you’re not really dealing with strengths.

Let me help illustrate this with a story from my dad. My beloved dad is a math teacher (or was a math teacher). He taught at the boarding school where I grew up in Massachusetts for 30 years.

Every fall, my dad would get sad. We weren’t sure why. We thought at first, well, maybe my dad has Seasonal Affective Disorder. The light is leaving Massachusetts in the fall, it’s getting darker—maybe that’s why he gets sad every fall.

We got him a full spectrum lamp. It helped some, but he still had issues. He thought about some personal issues: his dad passed away in the fall—maybe that’s what was doing it. We never really got to the bottom of it.

Strengths Give You Energy

After 30 years of teaching, my dad went into semi-retirement and took various assessments with a career coach, one of which was the Myers-Briggs assessment. As any of you know who’ve taken Myers-Briggs, one of the four axes is for extraversion and introversion. And this is about what gives you energy. Do you get more energy going to a cocktail party and talking to lots of people, or working quietly by yourself or with one other person?

My dad came back very strongly introverted. But teaching is a very extraverted activity. Fortunately, I’m wired differently than my dad. I really enjoy getting up and doing the workshops, keynotes, and presentations that I get to do through Happy Brain Science. But for my dad, getting up and teaching every day was draining him of energy. He had talent for teaching math, but not the strength he should have had—could have had—to really thrive in that teaching career.

Solidify Your Strengths

Strength is not just talent—it’s talent plus energy. And if you are using talent but don’t get energized by it, the way my dad was, then you’re on a path to burnout.

May you figure out the difference between real strength and just talent before you spend years burning out doing the wrong things at work.

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