How to Discover Your Talents

Your perception of yourself is very complex. Similar to how you cannot see your own nose, you may often be blinded to the things that you are best at. It can be really hard to identify your brightest talents and they are often in the places you least expect. You may even be very good at things that you perceive yourself as being bad at. There are many good reasons to want to explore your talents but it’s going to take a little work.

Steps

Part 1 of 2: Reflecting on Yourself

How to Discover Your Talents

Open your mind to all paths. Because you are likely blind to what some of your talents really are, a good place to start when evaluating your talents is to just open your mind to the possibilities. Keep in mind that talents extend beyond just playing the guitar or dancing like a pro. Talents come in all shapes and sizes and extend into many areas of life.

  • For example, being able to read emotions very accurately is a very useful talent.

How to Discover Your Talents

Look back on your past. As you reflect on yourself in search of your talents, start by looking at your past. Look at the things that you’ve done. Look at the things you’ve enjoyed. Look at the times when you really excelled. Ask yourself questions like “What am I most proud of that I’ve done?” or “When was I so proud that I didn’t care what anyone thought?”

  • One good thing to think about was what your childhood was like. What did you do a lot as a kid? What did you enjoy? What were you known for? Sometimes this can reveal some of your deepest talents and certainly will reveal interests that can be probed further. Think about your hobbies as your personality is made by them they are the things you do regularly and your hidden talent is that which you can do better than everyone so focus on your hobbies and how you do them every single step.
  • Another thing you can think about are the times in your life that you’ve been challenged. Think about the tough situations that you’ve had to deal with. Times of trial can often reveal your hidden skills. For example, when your dad had a heart attack, maybe you kept your head and called 911. Staying alert and calm in an emergency is a really useful talent.

How to Discover Your Talents

Think about what you enjoy. The things that make you happy can also reveal your talents. Think about the things that you love to do. Do people ever give you compliments on it? Do they ever ask for your help with it? You might not think of it as a talent but it probably is.

  • Do you ever completely lose track of time? You start doing something and you just don’t even notice time passing? This might hint at your talent. For example, maybe you get lost when you’re modding your favorite video game. This might be one of your talents.
  • Listen to how you talk. Do you ever find yourself rambling to your family or your best friend about this subject that means so much to you? This might be another hint at a talent you have.
  • Write down everything that you enjoy. This will help you to see what things you truly enjoy doing and give you an opportunity to think about why you enjoy these things. For example, you might enjoy playing fantasy football or walking in nature. Doing these things may allow you to use the special knowledge that you have about these subjects.

How to Discover Your Talents

Evaluate what you’re good at. Now, there’s a big difference between what you enjoy and what you’re good at. You might think of your talents only being things that you love doing, but it’s important to remember that your talents are often things you don’t enjoy or things you don’t even think about. This is why it’s important to take a long hard look at what you’re actually good at.

  • Think about things that come naturally to you. Things you don’t struggle with. Do you ever find yourself telling someone, “Nevermind, it’s easier if I do it” or “Here, let me help you with that”? Do you find yourself correcting people? These behaviors usually indicate something that you’re good at and know a lot about.

How to Discover Your Talents

Think about times you were successful. Look back on your life and think about times where you really succeeded, times where you felt about to burst with the pride of your success. This can indicate a talent you possess.

  • For example, maybe you helped your boss rearrange and reorganize his office and helped things at your work run so much more smoothly. Organization is a very useful talent.

How to Discover Your Talents

Write the story of your life. This exercise can help you reveal not only the talents that you have but also talents that you should consider developing. Write about what you were like as a kid, what you liked to do before and after school, what your favorite subjects were. Write about growing up. Write about where you’re at in your life now. Now, write about your future. Write about where you want to go. Write about what you want people to say at your funeral.

  • You may also want to write about what you would like to do with your time if money was not an issue. What activities would you most like to do if you did not have to worry about money? Considering this can help you to identify your interests and talents.
  • This exercise reveals your priorities and what you really think is important about yourself.
  • It can also reveal what you want for your life, helping you focus on talents you should cultivate if you want to achieve your dreams.

How to Discover Your Talents

Ask around. Having an outside perspective, other people may find it easier to see what you’re good at. Ask around and people will usually be happy to tell you what they see as your strengths. Be sure to talk to people that know you well but also people that barely know you. Both will see you in different ways and the differences that they see can tell you even more about yourself.

Part 2 of 2: Experiencing Life

How to Discover Your Talents

Open up time for new things. Your life needs to have room for discovering your talents! If you spend all day on the couch after school or work or you spend all of your waking weekend hours at parties, then you’re going to have very little time for self discovery. Your talents will often lie in activities that you’ve not tried yet and if you don’t make time for those things, then you’ll never expand beyond what you are now.

  • Think about how you spend your time right now. Consider your priorities and then find things that you can cut to make more time for new experiences.

How to Discover Your Talents

Make time for yourself. While other people can help you find your talents, it’s also important to take some time that’s just for you. Self discovery does require a lot of self reflection and if you’re spending all of your time watching movies with your friends, you probably won’t get the time you need to really understand yourself. Take some quiet days that are just for you and spend them doing new activities.

How to Discover Your Talents

Build on your existing skills. You probably already have some basic skills. Any skill that you possess can be turned into a real talent, but you need to take the time to develop it and really work on experiencing all of the different activities that go in to that talent. You might have experienced only a small aspect of a possible talent and you will need to experience much more if you really want to cultivate it.

  • For example, let’s say that you’re pretty good at interior design. You certainly made your room looks pretty nice. Well, try developing that skill into a full talent. Study up on interior design, mess around with computer programs for interior design, and cultivate an awesome Pinterest. By investing in this skill and exploring it further, you can develop your minor skill into a talent.

How to Discover Your Talents

Try things you would never have tried before. Sometimes you may tell yourself that you can’t do things, but you will never know what you are capable of unless you go outside of your comfort zone. Maybe you think you’re not good enough or not smart enough. Most often you see yourself as “not that kind of person.” However, you don’t know you’re that kind of person until you start becoming that person. You have to give life a chance to surprise you. You’re much more incredible and interesting than you give yourself credit for. Take a risk and try something totally different than anything you’ve ever tried before.

  • For example, try rock climbing or scuba diving. Write a book. Start a business. These kinds of things take work but for many, they are at the very essence of who they are.
  • It’s a good idea to try to factor in things you already know you can do. For example, say you know that you like hanging out with little kids. From this you can say that you probably have a fun, easy-going nature. This means you might excel at work with animals, which is similar and requires some of the same underlying traits.

How to Discover Your Talents

Take classes in subjects that interest you. If there’s a subject that interests you and you think you might want to develop it into a talent, consider taking a class. Getting more information and finding out what the experience would really be like can tell you if it’s really something you could have a talent for. It also will help you get the basic skills needed to start developing your talent if you decide it’s something that you want to do.

  • You can take online classes for free from websites like Coursera and University of the People, if you don’t have access to education resources. If you do have money and time to devote to a class though, try your local community and technical colleges, as well as your local community center.
EXPERT TIP

Tracey Rogers, MA

Certified Life Coach

Tracey L. Rogers is a Certified Life Coach and Professional Astrologer based in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. Tracey has over 10 years of life coaching and astrology experience. Her work has been featured on nationally syndicated radio, as well as online platforms such as Oprah.com. She is certified by the Life Purpose Institute, and she has an MA in International Education from The George Washington University.

Tracey Rogers, MA
Certified Life Coach

Our Expert Agrees: If you want to know what you’re good at, indulge in that curiosity and take some classes. Maybe you’re interested in cooking and want to see if you’re a good chef, or perhaps you’re curious whether you’re a good writer, if you find a class for what you’re interested in, take it.

How to Discover Your Talents

Travel to expand your experiences. Traveling is one of the most impactful experiences you can have. It will challenge you and teach you more about yourself than you thought possible. However, you can’t just take the easy route and go on a cruise or guided trip. Go on your own. Go somewhere different from anywhere you’ve ever been. Immerse yourself in the experience. Try new things. You’ll find yourself struggling in some areas but you’ll also find that there are other activities that you can do with ease or that make you really happy.

  • Traveling can seem expensive but it really depends on where you go, when, and what you do. It doesn’t have to be an expensive experience. You can also travel a little more close to home and get the same sort of benefits. For example, if you’re from the US, try going out into the Canadian countryside or a backpacking trip in Mexico.

How to Discover Your Talents

Take on challenges. When you have to struggle, when you’re removed from your usual comfortable environment, is when you learn the most about yourself. When you shut yourself off to challenges by just sticking to a quiet life and never leaving the house, or even backing out when times get tough or running from your problems, you deny yourself the chance to shine. Let challenges happen, try to tackle your problems, and get out and live life a bit more so that you have the chance to conquer challenges that you encounter.

  • For example, your grandma might get sick and need help. Try helping her out. You might find that you’re really good at connecting with and helping the elderly.

How to Discover Your Talents

Volunteer to help shift your perspective. In experiencing just your own life and your own world, it’s easy to have your mind closed to the possibilities: the possibilities of what you are and the possibilities of what you could be. When you help others in significant and impactful ways, you’ll find that you see yourself in a new light. Your priorities will change. You might even get the chance to shine in a talent you didn’t even know you had, or build a new talent through the work you do.

  • For example, local parks departments often need help removing invasive plants or in building new structures like playgrounds. You can volunteer and you might find that you’re good at identifying plants, woodworking, reading building plans, or organizing or motivating people.

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Warnings

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