I was listening to a conversation a friend of mine was having about a Kenyan photographer, highly sought, and just how passionate he was about his work, “He will even climb an acacia tree full of thorns to take that perfect shot,” Monica exclaimed.
Talent. Passion. Purpose. These are just some of the nouns that have haunted me from the day I received my Bsc. in International Business; overheated under my black graduation gown, feet in aching agony because my black peep toe heels were brand new and still too tight… But I had to look good walking down the podium to receive my degree.
A few weeks ago I was invited to a talk. The email invitation was bold and captivating, ‘Talent. What is Yours? Turning your Talent into Money.’They allowed to me carry a plus one and so I asked one of my best friends to tag along.
The talk kind of blew me away. Of course there was the inspirational guest speaker whose story was intriguing but what really fascinated me was the definition of a Talent. I’ll give you my synopsis on it.
When someone asks us to describe talent or perhaps give an example of it, we tend to describe things that are out of the realm of what I would call the rigid, the desk job type, the 8-5 ish… we think of things that are expressive in an artistic or abstract way. Cooking! Painting! Landscaping! Singing! Acting! You say, “Yes I am good at accounting but my talent is Baking…” or “I am a really great engineer but my talent really, is Pottery.”
” First things first, talent is not only something that is artsy or vocational…” Well I knew that… But did I really?
Our speaker then asked us to think about something, anything, that when doing it we were ‘in the flow…’ That’s all he said. In the flow. The room stared back at him blankly, some eyelids frantically blinking.
“…guys, when you are doing this thing, you find yourself completely engaged… free from over-thinking, it comes easy to you, usually easier than it does to others and more often than not, you lose track of time. What is it when you do, you are in the flow? Take a moment and write a bunch of things that come to mind.”
I grabbed my paper and pen:
- Cleaning (not always)
- Creating stories in my head.
He then pointed out, “I will tell you this. There is a class I attended where one of the participants wrote down, ‘Climbing Trees’. So I want you to really let yourself to wander into your past experiences and allow it to be anything. It can be the obvious or not so obvious.”
I then went back to my list and edited it a little bit:
- Imitating people
- Story telling
- Cleaning (not always, but most of the time-especially with bleach).
- Creating plots for short stories-like those in ‘Encounters from Africa’.
- Painting, mostly in black and white.
- Singing …well…of course, singing.
After this, he asked some of us to tell the rest of the class what we wrote down. Someone said, “Taking care of animals.” A lady yelled from the back, “Reading and analyzing maps,” Another said, “Budgeting my money on a spread sheet.” And another, “Talking… or like inspiring people by talking to them…”
“Great,” our moderator said. “Next step is one of the most important. Now you must keep in mind that people will not buy your ability to talk, or read a map or your liking of budgeting. What people buy is a product. You must then package your skills into something that is sellable. For the young lady who loves to read maps, what are some of the things that you think she can do with that… how can we package that?”
Hands shot up in the air. Hers did not.
“Creating apps for city maps”
“Being that er.. co-driver to the rally driver?”
The rest of the class went on like this. There are many other important things that were said. But for me these were the most important. Finding your flow and packaging that flow. Apparently, everyone has that one, two or whatever number of things that to them come easily. And those things, those things that come easily to them don’t always come already perfected. It is your job to perfect them. But it is easier to move these things from a B to an A star performance than move something that you are forcing yourself to learn, from a D to a C. Ever sat in a meeting about the most boring project and you have this one annoying person who is super pumped and is just in her moment with the planning and perfect lead times and amazing delivery? And you’re just there like, “Oh god, I can’t wait for this to end…”? She’s in her flow and you’re not.
In conclusion, if you want to turn your talent into money and do what you love every day, then find your flow,perfect it, package it and sell it. If you don’t want to sell it, doesn’t matter. Let it be your escape. In this flow even if something is exhausting and demanding, you will see a challenge as a mole hill and not a mountain. You will even climb that thorned acacia tree for the perfect shot.