Talent to Strength

How To Make Your Natural Talent Into Your USP

“People have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies”, according to StrengthsFinder 2.0.

In 1998, Gallup scientists set out to answer the question, “what’s right with people”?.

Before I tell you why, ask yourself these two questions:

1) How much time and energy have I invested trying to close the gaps on my weaknesses? 

2) How much trying to build up my strengths?

I don’t know about you, but my answers favor the weaknesses. And it’s not just me. Most self-help books and learning programs are geared to do this as well.

Think about this for a second – the majority of people spend more time, energy and money trying to attain things they don’t have instead of developing things they already do have!

This is exactly why Gallup did the research which led to the empowering StrengthFinder tool.

Here’s something the self-help industry probably doesn’t want you to know:

By focusing on what makes you stand out instead of what you lack, you can transform your natural talents into unique strengths (USP’s) – in today’s competitive market you can NEVER have enough of those.

If and when the time comes, your USP’s will also give you a BIG leg up toward making your resume stand out.

Transform Talent To Strength

Oprah, Tony Robbins and their ilk would like you to believe that you can be anything if you just try hard enough.

Mmmm, sorry but not even Michael Jordan was good enough for Major League Baseball. He was, however, extraordinary on a basketball court.

Any kid who picked up a basketball in the 90’s wanted to “be like Mike” (if you missed the ad blitz).

The truth is that no matter how hard most of us practice we will never play at the highest level of any sport.

For a funny and empowering look at this hard-to-swallow fact, check out Mark Manson’s take on why “Being Special Isn’t So Special”.

Years before StrengthsFinder popularized the idea that “you can’t be anything you want to be, but you can be a lot more of what you already are”, Albert Beisser M.D. recognized that “change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not” (Paradoxical Theory of Change 1970).

In addition to talent, successful transformation requires knowledge, skills and regular practice. However, talent is key base metal needed for the precious one.

After all, most skills and knowledge can be acquired whereas talent is extraordinary and unique. I might be able to fix the kitchen sink after hours of YouTube tutorials but my time and energy would be better spent on hiring someone for the job.

Courtesy of StrengthsFinder, here’s how it works:

Talent (a natural way of thinking, feeling or behaving) × Investment (time spent practicing developing your skills, and building your knowledge base) Strength (the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance)

Call To Action

I’d offer you a step-by-step playbook but I believe that for it to be successful, it needs to come from you – you are one of a kind and your solution needs to fit you.

I do strongly recommend taking the StrengthsFinder online questionnaire (low price).

Start with your natural talents and add skills and knowledge as you go. And don’t forget the practice part (if public speaking is a talent, it won’t develop into a strength if you spend all your time at your desk).

Here are 3 powerful questions to trigger your creative thinking:

  1. What makes me stand out?
  2. What skills or abilities come easy, and do I enjoy doing?
  3. What can I do well that others can’t?

With honest reflection and a little more digging, making your talents into strengths (USP’s) will require practice, hard work and a touch of alchemy – “a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination”.

Thanks for reading!




P.S. To learn more about how to leverage your individual or team talents, book a FREE call with me.


    • Thanks, Sven. BTW, have you ever used StrengthsFinder? Your experience?

  • I think that this a brilliant and highly effective approach. Building on what is already available is faster, more fun, makes you stronger than trying to eliminate a “weakness”. Apart from the fact that those make us complete.
    Who would want to be perfect?!

    • Thanks for your comment, Susanne. The great thing is that we are already perfect in our own way – sometimes the flip side of a what we refer to as a “weakness” is actually the “strength”.

  • I feel resonance to eliminate the wording weakness as opposite of strengths.

    From my experience it is about finding what makes my heart fluttering, what brings joy into my life. These are naturally those gifts that can be turned into strengths. and if mis-used they might turn into weakness.

    at the core is to find the heart`s wisdom, the soul`s voice.
    as the soul wants full expression of what she is from nature, joy & love.

    what makes my soul leap, reflects my divine gifts.
    expressed in the divine way, they automatically show up as so-called strength

    • Hi Maria, thanks for your beautiful comment. I like the ideas that if misused they might turn into weakness. I believe to truly understand my strengths I need to honestly look at the flip side (or dark side of what I consider the good side). Then, by integrating the two sides it becomes “whole” and a “strength”. It is my shadow side that completes who I am.

      • yes, I feel we mean quite the same..
        the shiny notes, the muddy notes….

        yet: no mud no lotus!

        glad that I meet people who understand almost w/o words..
        or see what`s behind it..

        thanks Tim, for your being!!