The mechanical printing press was invented in 1450. Within fifty years, books had become widely available throughout society. Yet, the oral tradition of books continued on for another five hundred years. They were mostly read aloud until the last half of the 19th century. Only then did private, silent reading become the norm.
What has that got to do with managing a successful career? Simply this: you have to read your talent out loud as well as to yourself. It’s entirely appropriate to use your talent for you own wellbeing and happiness, but to express it fully, you must also do so for the benefit of others, as well.
I’ve often written about the single most important principle in career self-management: the goal of working isn’t wealth or a corner office; it’s to express and experience your talent – your endowed capacity for excellence. Much of what I’ve discussed has focused on the experience half of that principle. Sadly, far too few people are able to do that – they haven’t discovered their talent so they’re unable to take it to work with them.
The other half of the principle, however, is no less important. The expression of your talent – the sharing of it with others – is central to a fulfilling and rewarding career.
Certainly, you benefit any time your talent is expressed because you are able to feel the endorphin like high that comes from doing your best work. But expression also has an outward facing impact. When you use your talent on-the-job, you also benefit others – your coworkers and colleagues no less than your employer. By doing your best work, you help others to do theirs.
Moreover, that benefit need not be limited to your employment. When you use your talent off-the-job by putting it to work for a social or civic organization, you also help others – your neighbors and those who are less fortunate. In The Career Fitness Workbook, I call this kind of career activity Stretching Your Soul – by donating your best work, you help others regain the capacity to do theirs.
So, make your talent an open book and be sure to read that book out loud as well as to yourself.
Thanks for reading,