Talent for Rent

It wasn’t long ago that I spent more time talking than I did listening. And boy…was I good at talking!

In fact, I was so good at talking, that I didn’t even waste a single second on listening. While others were speaking, I was mentally concocting my next statement, and warming up my calves in preparation for the leap to my personal soap box. My thoughts were clear, my words we carefully chosen, and I spoke with an eloquence Abraham Lincoln himself would have admired.

COMMUNICATION is in my Top 5. It sits right below my IDEATION, comfortably close to my WOO, and next door to my FUTURISTIC. Now based on the four talent themes I’ve just listed, it won’t take you long to develop an image of how my brain functions.

As a visual reference, I’ve hyperlinked a video on YouTube that will help drive my point home.

Anyway, after a lengthy maturing process with my own talents, I realized that I needed to take my foot off of the accelerator, and slooowwww doooowwwwwn. Doing so allowed me to not only digest the insights and wisdom expressed by others, but gave me the time to recognize the amazing talents within my entire team. For far too long I ignored the natural abilities they brought to the table.

DISCIPLINE, CONSISTENCY, EMPATHY, and DELIBERATIVE (by the way: all talents that rested in the mix of my lesser talent themes), were aggressive and evident in my partners.

My “Zen-like” talent observation mindset did not develop overnight. For several months following my realization, I had to work hard to zip up my lip, put the ole’ brain in sleep mode, and concentrate on what words were being spoken in my direction. After a few not so comfortable interactions, I had it all figured out. My course of action was cranked in a new heading. I began putting more energy into “renting” the talents of others’, and less time focusing on my own. Now don’t get me wrong, I was always sharpening my skills as well, but doing so became less of a priority. I noticed a larger return on my investment when I acknowledged and leveraged the excellent abilities of those around me.

Especially when that acknowledgement was verbal, and within earshot of an audience.

Strengths-based development can be both selfish and selfless. I think that’s why I love it so much. Either way, it works…and works well!

Just make sure you’re taking the time to view your surroundings. You may be surprised by what you find.


“If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much more than you can by talk.”

~Robert Baden-Powell

photo credit: For rent sign via photopin (license)



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About The WOO Warrior

Andy is a GALLUP-Certified Strengths Coach, and the owner of UnleashStrengths. He lives with his wife, Marlana, and two children, Adelyn & Drew, in the small Midwest town of Clinton, Iowa. he can be reached at [email protected] View all posts by The WOO Warrior


1 Comment(s)

  1. March 26, 2015 at 3:23 PM

    Excellent article, Andy! Thanks for sharing your experience!

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