Expert Q+A

It seems that all of my buddies have some kind of talent, whether they're great at sports or play guitar or take amazing photos. Does everybody have some kind of innate skill, and if so, how do I find out what mine is?


I’ve never met a person who doesn’t have innate talent. Everyone has at least one. You may not like the one you got, but you’ve got one. For example, there are people who are incredible at being organized; they could never not put something back where it belongs. But they don’t perceive this as an ability, because they assume everyone can do what they do.

I suggest two approaches to finding your gift. The first is to think about what you love. What keeps you forever curious? What has you staying up late at night? Your healthy obsession will point to an area where a talent lies.

The other approach is to focus on what you complain about. If you have a regular gripe that begins: “I don’t understand people who just can’t seem to … ,” chances are that for you, this particular task comes naturally -- so naturally that you don’t even think about it. You can turn those complaints into contributions by taking what you know and doing something constructive with it.

Once you find out what your passion is, you’ll need to cultivate and commit to it. Work out an action plan. Establish consequences if you don’t follow through. Surround yourself with people with similar goals. Take a class. Network. Practice five hours a day if need be. And most important, stick with it. 

About the Expert

Lauren Zander

Lauren Zander is the creator of The Handel Method of life coaching, which is taught at leading U.S. universities including the Stanford business school, M.I.T., and New York University. As chairman of The Handel Group, she and her team offer life coaching to both individuals and corporations. 

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