talentI don’t do social media. Have you ever heard that comment from anyone? Translated it might mean I don’t get it, I’m not interested, I don’t like it or I’m scared of it. It’s a choice. If that’s you, this post will help you embrace change with less fear and more optimism. We all have talents. How can you turn yours into strengths?

Generalizations exist because they are a shorthand way of communicating what is perceived to be a common truth. However, they can lead to stereotypes and a common one is that older people are less savvy with technology and social media in particular. Let’s look at the link with being more employable.

Employable me

Take the following scenarios and put age out of your mind:

What if…you are seeking work and a requirement of the jobs you apply for is digital literacy?

What if…you are employed and the business you are in requires a step change in performance that involves working in new ways?

What if…you want to change jobs or careers and find that what has served you well up to now is no longer sufficient to enable you to make the next leap?

Unlock your door

Back to choices. Imagine yourself standing in the middle of a circular room with seven doors. On the other side of each door is a path you can follow. You don’t know where they might lead. Now imagine that one of those doors is red and behind that door is the path that you feel most at home in, allows you to be at your best and fires your passion. How can you unlock the red door?

Don’t forget you might decide to go through a pink door (choose your own color!) to get to your red door. Walking through a green door could be a stretch too far or just not right for you. It’s about exploring options, new experiences and finding the best match for you.

6 steps to turn your talents into strengths

Taking our social media example, here’s how you can take a positive attitude to embracing change (and walk through the red door) by recognizing your talents and turning them into strengths:

Although I don’t use social media, I have been to a lot of business events, enjoy them and brought back some good practices and contacts for others to pursue.

  1. What is working? Discover what is working well, build from what is in place and has been proven to be successful:

I’ve identified that it is my expertise in our field of work, the breadth of my experience and my affable nature that help me to work well at these events.

  1. Why is it working? Identify factors that help you to work well and identify what could be replicated: 

I’ve imagined a situation where I can replicate some of these things online. Although it will stretch me, I can see myself illustrating my expertise, publishing testimonials, highlighting relevant experience in various profiles and still being able to meet people in person through the connections I grow. 

  1. What might be? Create a vision of what you are doing that causes it to be successful. What would it look like? 

I’ve chatted with a few friends and colleagues to tease out some of my assumptions and to get their perspective and ideas.

  1. What are my assumptions? Create a dialogue that allows honest and open inquiry into all perspectives of the vision: 

It is now clear to me who can help me and how I can make this happen.

  1. What should be? Select your own strengths that can be leveraged to create the vision. What do I get behind?

I have developed a plan of action of what I’m going to do and when. I will know when I’ve achieved it and what my success looks like. 

  1. What will be? Develop an action plan that uses the leverage points found in your strengths to create the vision and deliver.

Success, even imagined, can bring the feel good factor. It can sometimes feel more liberating and motivating if we start by accentuating the positive. Remember, your attitude is still a choice and that it has both positive and negative consequences. Find and unlock your red door. Walk through it to feel liberated and not intimidated.

You now have a 6 step process for adopting a positive attitude to embracing change by recognizing your talents and turning them into strengths.

What stories can you tell an employer to show you at your best?

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