Learn How to Discover Your Talents and Strengthen Them

You’ve probably looked around and realized that almost everyone you know has a talent. If you’re wondering if you have a talent or strength, then good news awaits!


If you have a pulse, then you’ve certainly got a talent. What you may not realize is that talent is often a direct function of how much time is spent engaged in a particular activity. There are those who can pick up a sport the first time and play the violin like a professional concertmaster at the age of five, but not many.


For the most part, nearly every talented peak performance athlete or anyone who has achieved an unparalleled level of mastery at his or her craft has likely spent more time than anyone else doing that very same thing.


Even the stars didn’t become great overnight. Michael Jordan didn’t pick up a basketball the first time and play the way that he eventually did in the NBA. Tiger Woods didn’t wake up one morning winning PGA Golf tournaments.


These masters and all others in any field that you can imagine spent inordinate amounts of time honing their craft to get to the highest level possible.


Now what does this have to do with your talent or strength? Simple. What most people consider talent is usually more a function of something you’ve spent the most time doing.


Let’s think for a minute about that. What do you spend the most time doing? You might laugh, but what if someone’s favorite pastime is watching TV? “What could their talent or strength be?”


Consider these ideas:


  • Perhaps that person knows everything about what’s on TV or is a movie buff. With this intuitive knowledge about what’s on television, this person could easily start a highly informative blog about what’s on TV or start a movie/TV show critique website.


  • Maybe this person knows so much about movies and how they are made that he could begin creating an original movie!


  • You see, the list goes on and on, and chances are, you have strengths that you don’t even know about or consider to be strengths.


  • If you listen to others, you may find a helpful clue as to what your strengths are. Have people ever complimented you about something you did?


  • Have others looked at you in amazement over anything that you did, no matter how small or insignificant it seemed to you at the time? If you’re thinking back to the time you burped the ABC’s then it’s time to hire an agent since yes, there are professional “burpers” too!


  • On a more serious note, even if you haven’t elicited shock and awe from people this doesn’t mean that you don’t possess a significant strength or talent worthy of being recognized for. After all, wouldn’t it be silly if everyone else in the NBA quit because they weren’t as good as Michael Jordan?


Don’t worry if it takes some time for you to discover your talents.


Another effective method for figuring out what your good at is sitting down and writing out all of the different things that you do throughout the day. Try and zero in on what you spend the most amount of time doing and you’ll be on the fast track towards finding your hidden talent.


Discovering your hidden talents can open up new dimensions in your life and bring you a fulfillment and zest for life that you never realized was possible!

Overcoming Failures to Reach Success

The word failure is often used to describe a situation in which your desired goals were not realized at a specific point in time. There are many reasons that could have played a part in your goal not being realized and absolutely none of them have to do with your value as a person.


Let’s break down some of the ideas behind unhealthy views of failure and see how taking a more positive approach can help you realize success:


  • If you are trying out for the high school basketball team and you don’t make the cut, this doesn’t make you a failure. It simply means that under these specific circumstances, the coach didn’t believe that you possessed the necessary skills to play on this particular team at this point in time.


  • What much of the pain stems from when not reaching a desired goal is your attachment to outcomes. If you define your own value and worth as a person by whether or not you make a sports team, you’re setting yourself up for that ugly seven-letter word.


  • It is for this same reason that those who value trying their best regardless of the outcome have more confident and unwavering views of themselves.


  • You too can have this view when you realize that you’re not responsible for certain outcomes after you do everything in your power to achieve them.


  • If you’re not currently doing everything in your power to achieve an outcome, then start doing it today! If you already are, then sit back and relax, taking solace in the understanding that you’re doing everything you can and cannot ask more of yourself.


It may be worthwhile to step back and assess whether or not this is a matter of a deficit in a particular skill set or something in which allowing yourself more time to reach the original goal is all that is needed.


These are the questions that successful people ask themselves when encountering roadblocks to the outcomes that they want to achieve.


As soon as you begin attaching your self worth to these outcomes, you’ll likely be overcome with emotion and less capable of using sound logic to increase your chances of success later down the road.


In order to overcome failure, you must experience a dramatic shift in your outlook on the meaning of failure and success.


No matter how much you want to be a Hollywood movie star, if the steps that you are capable of taking to bring yourself closer to that goal are limited at this point in time, you’ll be subjecting yourself to a constant state of stress by continually expecting yourself to achieve greater results.


Patience will be your friend in changing your thinking about these fundamental concepts and it is also a virtue that nearly all successful individuals possess in ample amounts.


Remember: Never give up. Keep trying. Do the best you can and focus on the process instead of the outcome. The final result will be success!

Top 10 Strategies to Negotiate With Confidence

No matter who you are, you’ll eventually experience struggles with reaching an agreement with someone. Disagreements in your personal life or inability to reach consensus at work will occur occasionally.


How do you perform when it comes to negotiating a solution to a vexing issue?


These tips can help strengthen your negotiating skills:


  1. Find common ground. Identify the points both of you agree on. Write them down so they are clearly defined. In this process, share what you want to happen. Recording those commonalities will help bring you closer to successful negotiation.
  • If you wish, engage in brainstorming together to find additional solutions where there’s common ground.
  1. Project confidence that the issue can and will be resolved. If you appear relaxed, smile upon greeting individuals arriving to discuss the trying issues, and portray an attitude of, “We can work on and solve this issue together,” the others will also have confidence the trouble spots can be taken care of.
  2. Use discussion-friendly language. Customary politeness and showing attention will go a long way to encourage successful resolution.
  3. Moderate voice tones. If you’re voice gets whiny when you’re insisting on your way, it will rapidly turn off others. Plus, it will be harder for others to view you as someone who keeps his cool during negotiations. So, too, if your voice shows evidence of frustration, irritation, or anger.
  • Keep your voice tones low-key, neutral, and absent of emotional feelings.

  1. Show off your listening skills. When you listen to the other person’s position, you’ll understand why they want something the opposite way from your own ideas. Make eye contact with the speaker and simply listen (as opposed to trying to think of what you’ll say next).
  2. Be willing to change your mind. During times when you listen to discussions about the challenge in question, you might realize that the other person’s argument makes more sense or has more impact than your take on the situation. It’s okay to change your mind when someone has a creative, fruitful idea that’s different from your own.
  3. Demonstrate the flexibility to give up a couple of points. If you give an inch, maybe the other person will, too. When the other person sees you reaching out to give him what he wants, there’s more of a chance he’ll feel charitable toward you as well.
  4. Be kind to the person in disagreement with you. Nothing will bring you more riches in life than displaying a giving and ready-to-help nature. Keep in mind that your cohort’s ideas on how things should be resolved are just as important to him as your ideas are to you. Compliment his efforts to work toward an acceptable conclusion for everyone.
  5. Remind yourself you’re both on the same “side,” which is to resolve the disagreement. Both of you want to reach a successful conclusion that will make the situation better.
  6. Limit discussion times. Because some subjects can be emotionally loaded or be the source of considerable discomfort, establish limits on the amount of time you’ll talk about the disagreement. One hour is probably a decent length of time to accomplish some goals.


  • However, if you need more time, schedule it at a time and place that all members agree to. At the end of the current meeting is the best time to schedule your next meeting.


Strengthening your negotiation skills can help you in your quest to live a life built on solutions and compromise. Before you engage in active disagreement with someone, why not try these suggestions? Now, you can confidently approach future negotiations with confidence!

The Two Most Effective Ways to Increase Your Productivity

For some people – perhaps even for you – increasing productivity is akin to finding the Holy Grail. Why has upping productivity taken on such mythical proportions?


Simply put, increasing productivity means increasing earning potential. If you own a business where you provide any type of service, taking steps to increase your ability to deliver the service in less time will allow you to take on more clients and earn more money.


Likewise, if you sell a product, finding a way to make or deliver that product faster will enable you to serve more customers, once again, making more money.


When you find ways to do the same thing in less time, you’re being more efficient. Efficiency and productivity go hand in hand.


Undoubtedly, the more efficient you can make the process of completing any task, the more productive you’ll be.


Use these strategies to increase your efficiency so you can be more productive:


  1. Create a prioritized schedule for your work. Whether using a post-it note or a Microsoft Word file, almost everyone has some type of system for creating and editing the classic “to-do” list. These lists are sometimes a hodgepodge of ideas and tasks that need to be completed in the future and not-so-distant future.


  • There is nothing wrong with maintaining a to-do list, as it can make the difference between getting stuff done and going crazy trying to keep everything organized in your head. Still, the typical to-do list leaves much to be desired.


  • Unlike a conventional to-do list, have a prioritized schedule takes things a step further, allowing you to increase efficiency and productivity.


  • This is because prioritizing all of the tasks that you have in front of you while keeping track of a longer term picture of your schedule for weeks to come, will allow you to really figure out what is the most important thing that needs to be done right now.


  • If you are creating a prioritized schedule and realize that you have a best friend’s wedding in two months, you’ll be able to bump getting a dress or tux way down the list, while still making sure to place it somewhere on your schedule.


  • A prioritized schedule essentially puts things into perspective, allowing you to figure out what truly needs to get done this very moment and focus on that.


  1. Seek out and accept specialized help. Whether you run your own business or are a stay at home mom or dad, it will save you lots of time and energy at the start if you’re open to collaborating with others.


  • Bill Gates may be quite capable of developing all of the new programs needed to advance IBM as a company, while working with prospective clients in addition to handling customer service and PR. However, Mr. Gates and most other successful individuals would never be caught doing this.


  • No matter how much you can do by yourself, your resources are finitely limited by one single factor that trumps all others… time.


  • So, rather than spend 8 hours a day answering phone calls, working on new products, shopping for groceries and cutting your own hair, it may be a more productive use of your time to zero in on the one or two things that give you the most results for the amount of energy that you put into them.


  • For example, if developing a new product will eventually double the size of your business by being able to cater to an additional market or consumer demographic, then this is time well spent.


Paying someone else to answer phones, freeing up your time to be devoted towards projects that will give you more returns for your time invested is the sure sign of a future Fortune 500 executive at work. Combining this strategy with using a prioritized schedule will enable you to focus on what’s most important for you and get it done. Your productivity will soar!

7 Common Obstacles to Your Goals and How to Navigate Them

Having goals will help you achieve the life of your dreams. Some of life’s most satisfying experiences are those that involve staying focused on a goal until you achieve it. Yet you’ll likely experience times when, no matter how hard you try, you’re stymied by obstacles blocking the way.


Obstacles come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some typical blocks to goal achievement:


  1. Lack of creativity. You might have your own struggles determining how to best work toward attaining what you want. Perhaps you’ve run out of ideas to make it happen.
  2. Negative thinking. We’ve all been plagued by negative thinking. You feel you’re just not going to be able to achieve your dreams. Negative thinking is a potent block, because once it begins, it tends to escalate and can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  3. Lagging confidence. Following closely on the heels of negative thinking, sagging confidence is the bane of goal achievement. You begin to seriously question your skills and abilities to complete the work required to reach your goal.

  4. Focus follies. Who among us can claim we’ve never lost our way on the path toward our dream life? We want to reach that milestone but we keep getting thwarted by distractions. How can you work on an important project when your wife keeps asking you why you aren’t painting the house or spending time with the kids?

  5. Refusing to put in effort. It goes without saying that every goal requires you to work and persevere to reach success.
  6. Time traps. Making your way toward goals is challenging enough without having the irritation of not enough time to do it.
  7. Vague aspirations. If you’re unsure about what you really want, it’s a challenge to continue steadily toward your goals. Vague aspirations equal unmet goals.


Navigating Obstacles


Now that you have a good idea of blocks you might encounter on your way to goal achievement, review the suggestions below (corresponding to above-numbered items) to determine how to best avoid them.


  1. Take responsibility to keep creativity going. Draw pictures of what you hope to achieve. Make a storyboard of your plan of action. Design a vision board of what your goal pathway looks like and include how your life will differ after achieving your goal.
  2. Arrest negative thoughts. As soon as they creep in, think, “Stop it now” and mean it. Then, replace that negativity with an “I will persevere and achieve” message. Tell yourself, “I can and will do it.”
  3. Review past achievements. Give yourself props for goals you’ve achieved before. What were those goals? Use these reminder techniques to find and connect with your confidence.
  4. Commit to goals. Remind yourself daily about why you want to reach a particular goal. Perhaps you’ll earn more money, get a better job, live in a place you prefer, or protect your family’s future. Stay the course by re-committing to goals each morning.
  5. Along with committing wholeheartedly to goals, you’ve got to put in the work. Tell yourself your effort will, in the end, be worth it.
  6. Use your schedule. No matter what your goal, consistently schedule the time to work toward it. If you don’t keep a calendar now, start. Look at your entire week or month and what’s scheduled with a quick glance. Write in when you’ll work toward goals.
  • Maybe it will be Tuesday evenings from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. or Saturday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Follow your schedule consistently.
  1. Clarify goals. Write them and place copies everywhere inside your house, briefcase, and calendar. When you’re sure about what you want, then you can diligently work toward those goals.


There will be obstacles to block the pathways toward your goals. But if you can identify the sources of the blocks, you can develop solutions or use these time-tested strategies to navigate those obstacles and claim your success.