How Success Starts From Knowing Your Strengths

I noticed that a lot of people around me tend to get mixed up with what is the difference between talent and strength. They sometimes use these words inter-changeably. However, I would like to clarify the main differences and how it will help someone to clarify what they can really do in life. Once you can be very self-aware, you will tend to do things that will make you more happy and successful.

If you are ready to find out what is the difference, do read on.

First of all, let’s define the terms.

Talent is the ability to quickly pick up a certain skill compared to the majority of the people. You have an ‘unfair’ advantage and can learn it faster. This means that you are naturally predisposed to learning a particular skill at a faster rate.

Strengths are basically what you can do really well. If you have strong vocals and can sing in front of people well, you can consider that singing is one of your strengths.

However, remember that having talent does not equate you to being strong at it. Let me explain further.

If you wish to be a professional athlete in running short distances, you will first need to have talent. Having talent means that you should be able to run fast naturally and qualify to be in the selection process. However, you will need to work on extremely hard on your talent and be willing to take the long grueling hours of training to make running your strength.

You will notice that professional athletes tend to work very hard and strive for excellence in their training. They keep wanting to beat their previous timing and will put in the time and effort to be the best of their field. They gradually be strong in their skill and people finally consider that particular skill to be their strength. I wish to highlight that nothing ever becomes your strength; if you do not put in the necessary hours of hard work.

The interesting thing about being strong in a particular skill is that it has some transferrable skills that will help you pick up other skills related to it. For example, if you know how to play the guitar well, you will tend to pick up other instruments quickly.

The good news is also if you are not naturally talented in doing something, you can compensate it with a lot of hard work to eventually make it your strength. However, this takes a lot of determination and constant practice.

Let me share with you my life example on this:

I knew from a very young age that I had a ‘little talent’ in speaking from the stage. Actually the truth was that I was extremely chatty. In primary school, I was considered to be an outstanding student and this meant that I was usually punished to stand outside the classroom because of my excessive chatting.

When I was around 17 years old, I was served as a volunteer in a youth organisation that constantly ran indoor and outdoor programs. Somehow I was always given the role of planning the program and also emceeing it. It took about nearly 10 over gigs before I started becoming a better emcee. It was only after 60 over programs then I started to be very good. I learnt that emceeing is not about speaking from the stage, but about entertaining people and creating high energy. I moved on from emceeing in front of small crowds to doing dinner and dances, events and beauty pageants to 700 over people.

Kenneth emceeing Paul Mitchell's beauty contest

Over the years, I did nothing much but to constantly grabbed whatever opportunity to speak in front of the public. It was then I realised that I was actually pretty good in speaking and entertaining.

People said that I was rather talented, but I beg to differ. I really worked hard on it. While people were staying at home or going out with their friends, I was working hard in ensuring that I will be really good in my skills. Inspirational speaking became my strength. When I finally understood what my strengths were, it really helped me to decide what I was going to do in my life. I knew that it had to be a role where I was in constant contact with people and somehow had to be in-line with educating people.

My Decision to be a Trainer

It was because of knowing what I was really strong in and then asking myself what I was really passionate about. It took me a long time to figure it out but finally I knew that I wanted to become a trainer. If you looked around, most trainers in the professional services were usually older, usually in their 40s. However, I decided that I had this unique talent and was willing to work hard on it. I gave it everything I had and I started at the age of 27. I was one of the youngest trainers around in this particular market.

I truly hold on to the view that we just need to be good in doing one thing well, in fact it must be pursued with so much excellence that people will actually pay you money for it. It was then I became extremely good in running team building programs. By constantly working on my strength, I was actually getting better and better at what I was doing. This further increased my fierce motivation to be even better at training. If you can recall from an earlier blog post, I wrote about my decision that changed my life.

After years of hard work, I became a platform speaker on the areas of motivation and building high performance teams. Even right now, I am paid a lot of money to give keynotes and educate professionals and executives on my speciality. I have travelled to six countries so far to provide trainings and talks. If you asked me if this was what I ever dreamed about, I honestly want to say that I have never dreamed that I could get so far.

Kenneth speaking to 60 HR professionals in a Learning & Development Conference

Its about you now

If you constantly work on yourself and ask what kind of role you could do to play on your strengths, I believe that you definitely become better and successful in what you do. Even in your job, you have to ask if what you are doing is helping you to stay in your strength zone and growing it?

Work on your strengths, not on your weaknesses.