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TALENT IS NEVER ENOUGH WORKBOOKDiscover The Choices That Will Take You Beyond Your Talent
By John C. Maxwell
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2007 John C. Maxwell
All right reserved.
Chapter OneBelief Lifts Your Talent
The first and greatest obstacle to success for most people is their belief in themselves. Once people figure out where their sweet spot is (the area where they are most gifted), what often hinders them isn't lack of talent. It's lack of trust in themselves, which is a self-imposed limitation. Lack of belief can act as a ceiling on talent. However, when people believe in themselves, they unleash power in themselves and resources around them that almost immediately take them to a higher level. Your potential is a picture of what you can become. Belief helps you see the picture and reach for it.
What are your beliefs about yourself? __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________
How do these beliefs affect your behavior? __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________
Describe the type of person you believe you can become. __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________
Beliefs Worth Buying Into
I don't know what your talent is, but I do know this: it will not be lifted to its highest level unless you also have belief. Talent alone is never enough. If you want to become your best, you need to believe your best. You need to ...
1. Believe in Your Potential
Your potential is a picture of what you can become. Inventor Thomas Edison remarked, "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves."
Complete this sentence: I have the potential to become __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________
Too often we see what is, not what could be. If you could see yourself in terms of your true potential, you wouldn't recognize yourself.
When my daughter, Elizabeth, was in high school, she had a "glamour shot" taken of herself to give me as a gift. That was the rage at the time. A person would go into the photo studio and be made up to look like a movie star. When I first saw the picture, I thought, That's not the way she looks every day, but that's Elizabeth. That's truly her. Likewise, that's what it's like when you see and believe in your potential. If you were to see yourself as you could be, you would look better than you ever imagined.
Poet John Masefield wrote,
And there were three men Went down the road As down the road went he The man they saw, the man he was And the man he wanted to be.
The only way to get the "third man" into the picture is to believe in your potential. Doing that lifts you up, allowing you to respond to God's gift to you. I believe the old saying: "Our potential is God's gift to us. Our gift to Him is fulfilling it."
Describe yourself as you are right now and as others see you. How do these descriptions differ from the statement you wrote about the type of person you believe you can become? __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________
Indian statesman Mohandas Gandhi said, "The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems." Closer to home, it would also suffice to solve most of our individual problems. We must first believe in our potential if we are to do what we're capable of.
Executive coach Joel Garfinkle recounts a story by writer Mark Twain in which a man died and met Saint Peter at the pearly gates. Immediately realizing that Saint Peter was a wise and knowledgeable individual, the man inquired, "Saint Peter, I have been interested in military history for many years. Tell me who was the greatest general of all time?"
Saint Peter quickly responded, "Oh, that's a simple question. It's that man right over there."
"You must be mistaken," responded the man, now very perplexed. "I knew that man on earth and he was just a common laborer."
"That's right, my friend," assured Saint Peter. "He would have been the greatest general of all time, if he had been a general."
Cartoonist Charles Schulz offered this comparison: "Life is a ten-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use." What are we saving those gears for? It's not good to travel through life without breaking a sweat. So what's the problem? Most of the time it's self-imposed limitations. They limit us as much as real ones. Life is difficult enough as it is. We make it more difficult when we impose additional limitations on ourselves. Industrialist Charles Schwab observed, "When a man has put a limit on what he will do, he has put a limit on what he can do."
Describe some of your self-imposed limitations, and note when you first started believing you were limited in these areas. __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________
In If It Ain't Broke ... Break It! Robert J. Kriegel and Louis Patler write, We don't have a clue as to what people's limits are. All the tests, stopwatches, and finish lines in the world can't measure human potential. When someone is pursuing their dream, they'll go far beyond what seems to be their limitations. The potential that exists within us is limitless and largely untapped ... When you think of limits, you create them.
We often put too much emphasis on mere physical challenges and obstacles, and give too little credence to psychological and emotional ones. Sharon Wood, the first North American woman to climb Mount Everest, learned some things about that after making her successful climb. She said, "I discovered it wasn't a matter of physical strength, but a matter of psychological strength. The conquest lay within my own mind to penetrate those barriers of self-imposed limitations and get through to that good stuff—the stuff called potential, 90 percent of which we rarely use."
What limiting beliefs about yourself do you need to modify? What truth about your potential can replace these limiting ideas? __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________
In 2001, I was invited to Mobile, Alabama, to speak to six hundred NFL coaches and scouts at the Senior Bowl. That's the game played by two teams of college seniors who have been invited to participate because they are believed to have NFL potential. In the morning I taught from The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork, which had just been published. And in the afternoon, I attended a workout session in which the players were tested for running speed, reaction time, jumping ability, and so forth.
One of the coaches in attendance, Dick Vermeil, chatted with me as I watched. At some point he said, "You know, we can measure many of their skills, but it's impossible to measure the heart. Only the player can determine that."
Your potential is really up to you. It doesn't matter what others might think. It doesn't matter where you came from. It doesn't even matter what you might have believed about yourself at a previous time in your life. It's about what lies within you and whether you can bring it out. To reach your potential, you must first believe in your potential, and determine to live way beyond average.
2. Believe in Yourself
It's one thing to believe that you possess remarkable potential. It's another thing to have enough faith in yourself that you think you can fulfill it. When it comes to believing in themselves, some people are agnostic! That's not only a shame; it also keeps them from becoming what they could be. Psychologist and philosopher William James emphasized that "there is but one cause of human failure. And that is man's lack of faith in his true self."
People who believe in themselves get better jobs and perform better in them than those who don't. Martin Seligman, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, did some research at a major life insurance company and found that the salespeople who expected to succeed sold 37 percent more insurance than those who didn't. The impact of belief in self begins early. Some researchers assert that when it comes to academic achievement in school, there is a greater correlation between self-confidence and achievement than there is between IQ and achievement. Attorney and marketing expert Kerry Randall observed, "Successful people believe in themselves, especially when others do not."
3. Believe in Your Mission
What else is necessary to lift your talent? Believing in what you are doing. In fact, even if the odds are against your accomplishing what you desire, confidence will help you. William James asserted, "The one thing that will guarantee the successful conclusion of a doubtful undertaking is faith in the beginning that you can do it." How does this kind of belief help?
Belief in your mission will empower you. Having confidence in what you are doing gives you the power to achieve it. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright noted, "The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen." Confident people can usually evaluate a task before undertaking it and know whether they can do it. In that belief is great power.
Belief in your mission will encourage you. A woman with a will to win will have her naysayers. A man on a mission will have his critics. What often allows such people to keep going in a negative environment? Belief in the mission.
Playwright Neil Simon advises, "Don't listen to those who say, 'It's not done that way.' Maybe it's not, but maybe you'll do it anyway. Don't listen to those who say, 'You're taking too big a chance.' Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor, and it would surely be rubbed out today." Simon should know. He has been awarded seventeen Tony Awards, five Drama Desk Awards, and two Pulitzer Prizes. Obviously he believes in what he does.
Belief in your mission will enlarge you. The more you believe in your potential, yourself, and your mission, the more you will be able to accomplish. If you keep believing, you will someday find yourself doing what you once considered impossible.
What is your mission? __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________
Why is it important for you to accomplish this mission? __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________
Do you believe in your mission? Are you confident that you can accomplish great tasks? Do you expect to achieve your goals? These are necessary ingredients to lift your talent from potential to fruition.
I need to say one more thing about mission. It needs to include people. Only a life lived for others is worthwhile. As you fulfill your mission, will others around you say ...
"My life is better as a result," or
"My life is worse as a result"?
If you think it won't be the former, then the mission may not be worth doing.
Talent + Belief = A Talent-Plus Person Putting The Talent-Plus Formula Into Action
So how do you become a talent-plus person? You tap into a natural chain of actions that begins with belief and ends with positive action:
Belief Determines Expectations
If you want your talent to be lifted to its highest level, then you don't begin by focusing on your talent. You begin by harnessing the power of your mind. Your beliefs control everything you do. Accomplishment is more than a matter of working harder or smarter. It's also a matter of believing positively. Someone called it the "sure enough" syndrome. If you expect to fail, sure enough, you will. If you expect to succeed, sure enough, you will. You will become on the outside what you believe on the inside.
Personal breakthroughs begin with a change in your beliefs. Why? Because your beliefs determine your expectations, and your expectations determine your actions. A belief is a habit of mind in which confidence becomes a conviction that we embrace. In the long run, a belief is more than an idea that a person possesses. It is an idea that possesses a person. Benjamin Franklin said, "Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed." If you want to achieve something in life, you have to be willing to be disappointed. You need to expect to succeed. Does that mean you always will? No. You will fail. You will make mistakes. But if you expect to win, you maximize your talent, and you keep trying, then you will eventually succeed.
Review the beliefs about yourself that you wrote at the beginning of this chapter. Rewrite these beliefs so they support your potential statement. (Example: I have the potential to become a great teacher because (self belief) I am an excellent communicator.) __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________
Are there beliefs about yourself that do not line up with your potential statement? What about self-imposed limitations? If so, how will you change or modify these beliefs? __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________
Attorney Kerry Randall said, "Contrary to popular opinion, life does not get better by chance, life gets better by change. And this change always takes place inside; it is the change of thought that creates the better life." Improvement comes from change, but change requires confidence. For that reason, you need to make confidence in yourself a priority. You need to put believing in your potential, yourself, your mission, and your fellow human beings at the top of your list. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt asserted, "The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." Don't let your doubts cause your expector to expire.
Expectations Determine Actions
Fred Smith Sr., one of my mentors and the author of Leading with Integrity, says that a linguist with Wycliffe Bible translators told him that in twenty of the world's most primitive languages, the word for belief is the same as the word for do. It is only as people become more "sophisticated" that they begin to separate the meaning of one word from the other. That insight is very telling because most people separate belief from action. So how can we bring these two things back together? Through our expectations.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who want to get things done and those who don't want to make mistakes. If you're of the first type, then you already expect to believe in yourself and take risks. But what if you're of the second type? There's good news: you can grow.
Excerpted from TALENT IS NEVER ENOUGH WORKBOOK by John C. Maxwell Copyright © 2007 by John C. Maxwell. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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