Teamwork for the Talentless

Feb 18, 2023

“Your work is to discover who you are and then with all your heart give your light to the world.” – Jennifer Williamson

Check out this month’s issue of Real Connections Newsletter for candid thoughts about Talent and Teams from our founder, Joy Lujan. Also, don’t miss the announcement for our upcoming IAP2 training: Leading Effective Teams in Public Participation. Reserve your spot today!

Teamwork for the Talentless

On the Connected Realities Team, we talk a lot about individual gifts and talents. We know that the talents of individuals can be highlighted, nurtured, and celebrated in ways that benefit the individual AND the teams they are part of.

Lately, the thing I’ve noticed most about my talents is where I lack them. As a busy professional who also struggles with ADD and other challenges, my brain sometimes works for me in amazing ways and sometimes presents challenges I have to overcome in order to be able to do my work. It can be difficult and discouraging.

During these times, it’s easy for me to look at the gifts and talents of my amazing teammates and wonder, Why can’t I do that? Why is the proposal I’m writing falling flat? Why didn’t I see that solution to a problem we were working through? Why didn’t I think of that workshop activity? Why can’t I organize my time and tasks like that?

In times like these, I have to work to remind myself that I am not without talent. I, too, have gifts and talents to bring to the team. Maybe the survey I designed was too complicated and I needed my teammates to help organize and streamline it, but I did recognize the need for the survey, and I outlined practical, relevant questions. Maybe that proposal I’m writing is falling flat right now, but my ability to connect with clients and understand their needs is why we have this opportunity to begin with. Maybe I can’t figure out how to start the next step in a process, but I did envision and design the process.

I recently looked at a word cloud my team and I created during our last internal strategic gathering and found it heartening. We asked, “What are you good at?” People said a lot of things you would expect to hear from the Connected Realities team, like listening, connecting ideas, making people feel at ease, and helping people talk to one another. And we also said things like laughing, hugs, choosing avocados, and seeing beauty.

We all bring gifts and talents to our work, even when I can’t see them clearly. They’re often the things we find ordinary and no big deal. Some of the things we do without having to put any effort into are things that other people find amazing.

What are the things that you do well and nearly effortlessly? Make a list. You can start with avocados and hugs, but we bet you’ll also identify the embers that make your light shine in the world. Own them! Bring them to your work. Know that they matter.