Imagine Steve Kerr calls a timeout. The Golden State Warriors are playing well, but something is missing. Steph Curry won’t shoot the three-ball. He is open, but he is not taking the shot. Kerr asks him the most basic question possible: “Steph, why aren’t you shooting three-pointers?!”
Steph answers, “I dunno.”
- Imagine being a great cook and never cooking your best dish, spaghetti parm.
- Imagine being a great writer and never writing a note.
- Imagine being a great talker and never talking to clients.
It would be as much of a crime as Steph Curry not shooting three-pointers.
And yet people do this sort of thing all the time. Maybe you do it—you have a talent you don’t use. Why not? Like Steph Curry, in this hypothetical scenario, your answer might just be, “I dunno.”
You don’t think you have the talent
Have you ever complimented an individual for being good at something, and they don’t believe you? They’re not fishing for more compliments; they just honestly don’t see their own value. Or maybe someone, somewhere blocked them from seeing their talent (a teacher, a friend). Don’t be like that—be honest with yourself. Accept your talents. You don’t even have to tell anyone else. Just get after it.
It’s a legitimate fear—what if, when you share the work that means so much to you, other people don’t like it? But if that fear makes you not cook that great meal you could have made, or makes you never even write that book you have in you, that’s just a loss for everybody. It’s a real shame.
You don’t think anyone will care
The fear that no one will care at all is perhaps even worse than the fear of criticism. And it’s true, most people won’t care. There are people who don’t care about Steph Curry—lots of people just don’t care about basketball. And he’s famous! You’re not. But I bet you’re famous to someone. Your kids, your friends, your spouse… Me? I’m famous to my aunt!
You haven’t found your talent yet
Steph Curry certainly had the luxury of having a dad who was in the NBA. He was surrounded by the game, so it was natural for him to give it a try. He tried it, and it was a good fit—actually, a great fit. He discovered his talent (it wasn’t easy by the way), and then he developed his talent through long hours of practice. Maybe you haven’t discovered yours because you haven’t yet tried the activity that will really reveal what you’re good at. Maybe it’s something you haven’t thought of doing. So keep trying stuff. Try anything you think you’ll like. Have fun with it. And when something clicks for you, pay attention. Find a way to do what you’re good at. Put up some shots (i.e., practice).
Use your talent
I’m not saying you’re the Steph Curry of your chosen field. Maybe you are, but maybe you aren’t. Not everybody has the capacity to be the very best, and that’s fine, not everybody has to be. But somewhere, you have the potential to be good at something. Maybe you are already good at something. And that’s how you can contribute, that’s how you can really enjoy doing your best. Look, I’m not saying it’s definitely going to work out. It doesn’t always. But dang, take advantage of your strengths and your talents. You have them for a reason!
Here are some examples of how you could use your talent
- You are in college. You are good at making connections. You are not afraid to start a conversation. That’s a talent. Use it. Go talk with your professor – all of your professors. Go talk to the graduate assistant. Go talk to the upperclassmen. Go talk to the dean.
- You are good at exercising and writing, and even though your career is in law, you have a deep-seated passion for fitness. You have mastered the art of consistently showing up at the gym, staying committed to working out, and maintaining a consistent workout routine for years. But you don’t tell others how they too can develop a love of fitness. You’re reserved and that’s okay. Start a blog. Provide easy tactics people can follow to start showing up to the gym, how they can keep that commitment, and how they can build a routine. Watch these people you help become clients of yours.
- You are good at photography. You have an eye for landscapes. You love photography despite not being fulfilled in your current job. You don’t share your landscape photos with anyone but your family. Submit your photos to contests, go to your local galleries, create an Instagram account, and start posting your photos (you don’t even have to use your real name). You’ve just opened up a new world of opportunities to change your life.
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