First Posted January 5, 2013.
There are two continuum that we all live on.
Between our talent and our skills.
Between what we love and what we hate.
The Talent - Skills Continuum
It would be nice if we could live out at the edge where we are at our most talented, and are doing what we love. But life and work doesn't work that way.
Talent is great, but without skills, we don't achieve what we desire.
Skills are fine, but if we aren't really talented in this way (Remember Johnny Bunko?) then we end up frustrated, disappointed, hating what we do, and quite stressed over it.
Most of us live in the middle between our talent and our skills.
Think of talent as your strengths. (If you don't know what they are then check out StrengthsFinders. It is a helpful guide to finding your talent.)
If you spend more of your life & work at the Skills end of the continuum, and not somewhere in the middle, then you will always feel that you are overcoming huge obstacles to getting things done. You need to move to closer to where your talent is.
Talent is where we connect with our desires. We know that we are gifted and see it reflected in the satisfaction we get from utilizing our talent.
If you are at the other end, where you Talent rules, then you need to develop Skills that help sustain your Talent's vitality. Talent is a resource that is optimized by Skills development.
The Love - Hate Continuum
This is where the stress gets manufactured.
If you do what you love, then you are free. If you are in a situation that you hate, the emotional toll grows with each day.
Think of your emotional life as a well, a cistern, waiting to be filled. You can fill it with pure, clean water, or you can poison the water with the toxin of stress.
Find what you love, and live and work with it. Let it fill the well of your life with joy, peace, freedom, fulfillment, fun and a real sense of impact. This is where fun in life & work is found.
Finding The Sweet Spot
Doing what you love and are talented to do would seem to be the sweet spot on these two continuum. Ideally that is true. But in reality, that spot is closer to the middle on the Talent - Skills continuum and closer to what you Love on the other.
Here though is what is important to understand.
The price of living on these two continuum is emotional. Call it stress if you will, but it is emotional.
We hide this emotional toll because many more of the skills that leaders need are analytical, decision making ones.
We spend a lot of time in our heads. We think through problems, make decisions, implement them, and move to the next one.
It is that transition from one analytical process to the next that builds up the pressure.
It is important to understand the connection between our minds, our bodies and our emotions. There are many scientists who understand the science of this better than I do. So, do your own research. But here is what I've learned.
I've come to see that most of what we think is rationalized emotion. Our motivations begin down deep inside of us, and come out emotionally in some settings, like in sports, and yet in organizational / work settings we find them expressed as rational thought.
We all know people who are like emotional time-bombs. They seem rational on the surface, but they have a hair-trigger anger that creates fear and stress in people. That is a picture of this connection between our emotions, mind and body.
The well of emotions needs constant replenishing with positive emotions. If those emotions are not there in your life or work, then you need to begin today to address them.
Time to Make Changes
If you know you are stuck in a situation that is more stressful than fun, where you talent is under-utilized, where you hate not only what you do, but the whole context of the work, then you need to make some changes. The sooner you change the better. Waiting only fills the well with more toxic emotions.
Where do you start? Start with the Circle of Impact Guides. If you are new to them, here is a helpful guide to understanding the sequence of ideas in the guides.