I remember during a team-building exercise few years ago that I first discovered a talent I had no clue I possessed.

The exercise itself was pretty run-of-the-mill — name one special skill or talent for each individual in the room. I certainly wasn’t hoping to hear anything life-changing, but I was shocked when multiple people told me that I was very good at asking questions.
That was not certainly something that I had ever thought it can be a personal talent. It was, and is, just something that has always come naturally to me. Something that I’ve never truly needed to consider. And that’s the thing. Your true talent is not something that you need to focus on to do it well. It is not something that you will consider remarkable.

You should work on sharpening once you discover it. It is definitely something that should be incorporated into your career. I’ve invested years working on turning my knack for asking good questions into a career and have helped thousands of other individuals do the same with their own talents.

Asking great questions and making an interpretation of the responses to help other people access extraordinary insights has become what I call my “language”, the way that I speak with the world. One key thing that I’ve discovered really successful entrepreneurs have in common is that they’ve built their businesses around their own languages. They’ve recognized their own innate special talents and have worked to build careers based on their ability to do what they do best. It is not a surprise they wound up so successful.

“The First Habit”

First Habit

Once you recognize your own talent, you’ll know your own language, and you’ll be one step closer to building a successful career. This is so essential, foundation knowledge that I call it “The First Habit”.

I refer to this as a habit instead of an insight, because knowing your talent isn’t enough. Making your talent work for you is an ongoing process, requiring you to develop it, hone it and build it into a viable career. The undeniable applications for your talent probably won’t jump out at you immediately, but don’t get discouraged. It may take a few nights or weeks of brainstorming to come up with a viable business idea that really takes advantage of your skill.

These are four steps that will make “The First Habit” work for you:

1. You need a plan

Doing what you love doesn’t naturally lead to wealth, no matter what anyone tells you. Truly, you need a clear, solid, long-term vision of what you want from life. After you need to make conscious decisions about how to get there. You only have so much time and attention, so you have to be careful about where you spend it. You likewise need to carefully weigh risks versus rewards, and make the critical decisions that will move you further along your path.

2. Zero in, double down

Once you’ve figured out the things that you’re really good at, concentrate on doing those things for the highest compensation that you can, and cut out all of the distractions that pull you away. Make a short list of your qualities, identify career paths that involve those skills and then make a list of the things that you don’t do well. That last list? Those are the things that you need to do less of to achieve your goals.

3. Create your exceptional engine

I use the acronym LEAP that stand for: Learn, Earn, Assistance, Persistence. As a way to describe the four things you have to do to make the switch from salaried labor for someone else to working for yourself. Learn more about money-making opportunities that allow you to use your language. Earn some cash using your language, as this will help you hone your skills. Get assistance from people in your informal network. And practice persistence. Achievement requires making mistakes and learning from those experiences, so you need to take those risks. That leads me to my last point.

4. Failure makes perfect

No matter what your talent or plan, it’s essential to stay focused on getting an equity stake in whatever you do. Remember that any time you are picking projects or negotiating terms. A ladder of money exists whenever goods and services are exchanged, and your goal should be to position yourself at the top of that ladder. Map out your future income path, and figure out how to work your way up.