At Work, (Re)discover Your Talents With the Help of These 5 Pointers

Notepad with a pen lying on it and glass of water on a table
Notepad with a pen lying on it and glass of water on a table


We've all tried activities that motivate us, recharge us with positive energy, and others that are tiresome and require a lot of effort.

In these last few years, numerous studies, in particular those led by Gallup, for example this one and this one, have confirmed this intuitive feeling.

Using your talents daily means benefitting from three times higher probability of having an excellent quality of life, and a six times higher probability of being more hands on at work. This also manifests itself in better results in terms of productivity and profitability.

Everyone wins, both the employer and his company!

It certainly makes you envious, but how can it be done in practice?

Start by finding your talents in order to identify them clearly. Start with a stage of personal reflection, using these five pointers below, which I gave to participants from all professional backgrounds at the University of Happiness at Work (UBAT), organized by Fabrique Spinoza, at INSEEC Business School campuses.

1: Desire, Yearning

Toward which activities are you naturally drawn? For example: you like to read... What? When? Why?

Or rather, you love the beginning phase of a project, think about what you like about it and about what exactly you're doing in these moment.

For Etienne, a manager and project director in a technical environment, what attracts him without him even thinking about it, is everything that calls for analysis and synthesis. Drafting a document using many diverse and often scattered elements. Outside of work, he has learned how to fly planes. What he likes in particular about this activity, is being able to combine meticulousness, concentration and technical expertise.

2: Fast Learning. What Activities, What Techniques Do You Pick Up Easily?

In order to answer this question, think of what you've learned recently, but also about what you picked up quickly and easily as a child or teenager.

Clara, right-hand person of a director, remembers her aptitude for learning languages throughout her school years. Today, that also translates into a capacity for familiarizing herself quickly with the world of high-level representatives that she is brought along to meet, and for being apposite in her interactions with them.

3: A Flow, A Total Immersion

During which activities do you feel that things are following its natural course, sometimes to the point that you forget the amount of time that's passing?

Meet Etienne: upon reflection, he realizes that he gets this feeling when he leads team and client meetings. Exchanges and interaction, the possibility of relaying messages while listening to others, completely transports him.

For Clara, this feeling of immersion is brought about more in the context of intimate one on one conversations. She loses herself in listening to her interlocutor.

4: Moments Of Excellence

During which activities have you experienced moments where you tell yourself "Wow, I think that I was really good, but how did I do?!" Look back on times too where got very positive feedback from those present.

Clara likes to take the floor. When she thinks about it, she realizes that she has often received rave reviews from her audience. Several people have come up to her to say that her words had a lasting impact on them, to the point where they quoted her a few weeks or months later.

For Etienne, it's in high-stake situations, for example during a conflict with a client, that he excels. He manages to secure a fluid rapport, but also to trigger favorable reactions from clients. His teams are often shocked.

5: Satisfaction

What activities energize you, either while you are doing them, or after having completed them, to the point where you say to yourself, "When can I do this again?"

This fifth pointer is an essential aspect in the search for your talents: if there's no enjoyment, there's no talent! We have little interest in bettering ourselves at things that don't entertain us.

Etienne feels it distinctly. Even though it isn't his education or his original job, he takes great pleasure in developing an activity, in opening doors, in interacting with collaborators... and in no time signing a contract.

Now, it's up to you: equip yourself with a notebook and pen, and respond to each of these questions. You'll see, it isn't necessarily easy at first... because we tend to forget our natural tendencies in favor of our habits. Keep going, it's worth the while, give yourself some time and let the ideas flow. In a general way, think of activities to which you are naturally drawn and analyze what they have in common.

Using your new discoveries, your future based on your talents is in your hands: say them with certainty, dare to talk about them, in your professional life as well as in your personal life. Shout them loud and clear and put them into action!

Each week, while you're getting organized, think about everything you want or need to accomplish. Take a moment to see how your talents are going to help you. And make the most of these moments where you manage to make good use of your strong points!

Thanks to Clara and Etienne who agreed to a testify for this article (their names have been changed).

This post first appeared on HuffPost France. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.

This post is part of an editorial series produced by The Huffington Post as part of our month-long "Work Well" initiative, which focuses on thriving in the workplace. The goal of the series -- which will feature blogs, reported features, videos, and more -- is to present creative solutions you can use to take care of yourself as you take care of business. The effort is also part of The Huffington Post's "What's Working" solutions-oriented journalism initiative. To see all the content in the "Work Well" series, visit here.