Today in class our coach had us define the following 4 words for ourselves: Talent, Skill, Potential, and Ambition. I have a lot to talk about in this blog entry, but I would like to start by sharing my definitions with you.
Actually, before you read on, take a minute to define these words for yourself. It is a valuable exercise and I really think that there is a lot to be gained by thinking about it for a moment.
Talent: an equal combination of natural gifts, persistence, risk, and confidence. I believe that although the person who has been defined as “talented” has most surely been blessed with some undefinable quality that aids in the acquisition of skill, more is required. To achieve true “talent” one must diligently pursue mastery, take risks, allow for the possibility of failure, and be confident in one’s abilities.
Potential: unrealized talent. I believe that every person on this earth has potential. Every person has that one thing that they are naturally good at, and which they are also passionate about. It is then up to that person to realize that potential.
Skill: both potential and skill are required as one pursues talent. Skill is acquired through practice, persistence, repetition, knowledge, understanding, and hard work. The skillful artist has an in-depth knowledge of their craft.
Ambition: what a person dreams of accomplishing. One’s ambition relates to what one loves to do. To be ambitious means to have seemingly “unrealistic” goals, or rather to have goals which are perceived as being difficult to obtain. Your ambition is your dream, and the accomplishment that would mean the most to you as a person.
Isn’t it funny how ambition has sort of turned into a little bit of a bad word. Have you ever told someone your deepest desires and had them respond: “well that’s ambitious” – as if wanting those things was a bad thing. Ambitions are good, so where along our life’s journey did they become something to be ashamed of, and something that we’ve been almost conditioned to keep hidden? Can anyone else relate to this? Because this genuinely makes me royally pissed off. As I’m typing my breathing is becoming constricted and my eyebrows are furrowing because of how passionate I am about this wrong that has been done to so many of us. AMBITIONS ARE AMAZING! No one should feel ashamed to share their ambitions with the world. Likewise, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed or undeserving as your ambitions become realized. This is how I’ve been feeling lately, but I will return to that in a moment.
So, after we had defined these words for ourselves, our coach asked us to draw a diagram connecting these ideas together. She also threw into the mix the words “openness” and “career.” Here’s what I came up with (I’m very excited about this)”
So my diagram starts with the word potential, because that’s what I believe every person is born with. Hearing the words “you have potential” is what sparks the ambition in many. That is why I put little dream bubbles connecting the word “potential” to the word “ambition.” Because as you’re starting out, you have all these dreams and ambitions floating around in your head, but no idea how to achieve them. At this stage your ambition is a dream, not a realistic destination.
Okay, so you have all this potential, what do you do next? Well, I made the choice to go to school so that I could develop this potential through the acquisition of skills. The tricky bit comes with the transition from skill to talent. Here is where I added the word “openness,” because in order to become talented one must move beyond skills into an arena devoid of safety, anything can happen here. I believe that as long as you are controlling the outcome with your mind, talent cannot exist. Talent can only exist when you succumb to your instincts and allow your body and creativity to take over. You cannot enter this realm without skill, but skill alone does not present you with the key. Maybe I’m getting silly here, but this is what I believe.
Once you have achieved mastery the road towards your ambition suddenly seems like something that is possible. I then put the word “career” between the words “talent” and “ambition.” I connected those two words using a link of infinity signs, because I think that it is important that you never achieve your ambition. Actually, let me re-word that: after reaching one ambition, another grander ambition should be born. Your career takes place in this continuous chain of growth.