You Have Talent - So What?

You have talent, so what? This is probably a common reaction amongst seasoned managers when they see a cocky newbie walk in their office door.

The adage that talent is not enough and that talent is overrated is true in my experience.

If you think talent is an "end all be all" trait in your journey to career success, then think again. If talent is an important ingredient to be successful then why is this world filled with talented people who are not successful and successful people who are not talented? In fact, the others who never took time to understand the reason behind these people’s success later labeled many people who are successful as talented.

If you are a newbie thinking you have it all - talent and education that your managers do not have, and you can surpass them in a year of two - think again. Let these few things be a reminder for you.

1. Nothing Can Replace Hard Work
To be successful, talent is not enough. You have to be willing to work hard. Famous soccer players like David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo are known to be talented with their free kicks. But they have been quoted as having worked very hard at practicing them everyday when the others have left the field. Talent needs to be worked at. It’s not just a gift, but also a gift that needs to be sharpened by hard work. If you have talent and refuse to work hard – so what? It will not make a difference in your life.

2. An Attitude of Humility, Patience and Perseverance
Yes, you know this was going to come. If you have talent and you want that talent to go further, then learn and internalize a positive attitude that includes, humility, patience and perseverance. Let no one say to you – “You have talent, so what? Talent is overrated.” If you have talent and want to go far, then learn to be humble. When you are humble, teachers appear before you to teach you more and make you better.

No matter how talented you are, to see that your talent can bring your hard work to fruition, you need patience. Allow time to sharpen your experience and make you better at what you do. Humility and patience is not enough, you will also need perseverance to see your dreams and goals come to life.

3. Accept Responsibility and No Excuses
Sometimes you maybe tempted to get away with things just because you know you have talent. Again, remember talent is never enough. You must take responsibility for your own actions and live by the motto of ‘no excuses’. Everything fails and succeeds with your own effort. If you do not have the discipline to see your work through and it fails then it is your fault and no one else. Do not be tempted to blame a colleague or a manager. It is always easier to point to someone else's fault than yours.

Accepting personal responsibility also means to be aware of your own weaknesses and a willingness to improve on them. Do not have an attitude of “I am OK.” This means, knowing that you have weakness that can be eradicated and when pointed out make an effort to improve. As an example,if you are habitually late do not tell yourself that it is OK, after all, so and so is also late. Do not create excuses for yourself.

You have talent, so what? That talent if not sharpened, and coupled with a good attitude and hard work will do more harm than good for you on your journey to career success.

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