Below is the conclusion of the series on choices
5. Preparation positions your talent
Henry Martin once said “Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity.” You must therefore position yourself for that breakthrough in your business and that chance to showcase your skills at work.
God prepared Moses for the assignment of leading the Israelites out of the land of Egypt. He grew up in Pharaohs palace and was given all the education and resources to enable him succeed in his adult life for forty years. God then sent him into the wilderness for another forty years to learn patience and perseverance. God made sure that Moses was mentally, physically and spiritually fit before setting him loose to confront Pharaoh. Exodus Chapters 2-4.
6. Practice sharpens your talent
Practice they say makes perfect. You must never get complacent. You must update yourself with current trends and practices in your career or profession. Where applicable, read books on your area of professional calling and other general interests. Attend conferences and seminars even if you have to sponsor yourself.
Someone once said if you read a book every month on your area of specialization, you would have read 12 books in a year and 60 books in 5 years. This will be enough for you to become an expert in your area of specialization. A reader is a leader. When you learn very well, you earn very well. Do you know what it means to be regarded as an expert in a particular area of specialization? When you stop learning, you start dying. Stagnant water stinks!
Consider Daniel, in Daniel Chapters 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10. While in a foreign land, he never left the practices that made him a sharp young leader. One of his gifts was the ability to interpret dreams and visions. One King after the other needed his talent, and Daniel was always ready. Proverbs 22:29 says “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” Same goes with Joseph in Egypt. Gen. 39-41.
7. Character protects your talent
Talent without character will take you nowhere. Attributes such as honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, respect, fairness etc are critical ingredients in cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with your customers, colleagues and superiors. They will take you far in life. What qualifications and recommendations gives you, lack of good character can take from you!
Samuel was a man of strong character. He was honest and forthright in all of his relationships, from the lowliest to the Kings of Israel. Consequently his influence was great, and his career spanned two generations. 1 Samuel 3:19-20
8. Teamwork multiplies your talent
The importance of teamwork cannot be overemphasized. Leviticus 26: 8 says “And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight. More gets done where two or more people are involved. In your professional calling or If you plan to start your own business, you must develop the culture of teamwork because, the quality of work is much better when several people are involved than when it’s just an individual.
You will leverage upon the experiences, skills and ideas of others when you work as a team. If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go FAR, go with others. You need Team work to go FAR in your chosen profession and in life. T.E.A.M means: Together Everyone Achieves Much.
In his Book ‘never eat alone’, Keith Ferrazzi said and I quote “To achieve your goals in life, I realized, it matters less how smart you are, how much innate talent you’re born with, or even, most eye opening to me, where you come from and how much you started out with. Sure, all these are important, but they mean little if you don’t understand one thing: You can’t get there alone. In fact, you can’t get very far at all.” Consider Nehemiah, in Nehemiah Chapters 2 & 3, he saw the need to rebuild the wall around the City of Jerusalem. However, he wasn’t a builder by trade but a cup bearer. He sold the vision to the citizens who lived within the city, who had the most to gain by a strong wall protecting Jerusalem. He harnessed their time, gifts, and energy and built the wall in 52 days!!
9. Relationships influence your talent
Social and business networks are critical in attaining both business and career success. You must always strive to cultivate positive relationships with your colleagues and associates. ‘But ask accomplished CEOs or entrepreneurs or professionals how they achieved success, and I guarantee you’ll hear very little business jargon. What you will mostly hear about are the people who helped pave their way, if they are being honest and are not too caught up in their own success ‘- Keith Ferrazzi.
For example, you can gain access to relevant information. ‘Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone’- Margaret Wheatley.
Also, by developing mentorship relationships with senior colleagues, you can get advice that can lead to your rapid rise in your profession. In your professional career as in business, nothing came close to the impact of mentors. At every stage in my own career, I sought out the most successful people around me and ask for their help and guidance.
10. Teachability expands your talent
You must be open to correction and to new insights. You learn and become better by demonstrating this trait. Never feel that you are too talented to be receptive to the inputs of others. Don’t feel too BIG to fail. You must be FAT (Faithful, Available and Teachable) to be successful in your chosen field of endeavour.
Peter was a talented preacher. He preached the first sermon at the launch of the church in Acts Chapter 2. He spoke all over Jerusalem and was widely respected. However, God challenged him with a new insight in Acts 10- that the gospel was also meant for the Gentiles too and not just the Jews. Despite having a difficult time in embracing the new idea, his teachable spirit opened doors for him to take the gospel and his talent to those outside the Jewish faith and a new ministry was born.
The Holy Spirit
The place of the Holy Spirit in our lives cannot be contested. We can’t do anything of our own volition otherwise we will be chasing shadows. There are so many talented young men and women who went into the wrong profession. They look back and are filled with regrets. It is therefore important that you seek the face of God before making any decision.
As you look forward to and prepare for a successful professional or entrepreneurial attainment, identify your talents (even if you haven’t identified them), hone and nurture them and make the right choices as guided by 10 of John C. Maxwell’s key choices that I have shared with you.