Using ones talents as a means of earning ones livelihood.

— Enterprise, 03

a project undertaken or to be undertaken, esp. one that is important or difficult or that requires boldness or energy: To keep the peace is a difficult enterprise.
a plan for such a project.
participation or engagement in such projects: Our country was formed by the enterprise of resolute men and women.
boldness or readiness in undertaking; adventurous spirit; ingenuity.
a company organized for commercial purposes; business firm.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.Thomas A. Edison
By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.Robert Frost

What Ever Happened to Good Old Fashioned Work Ethic?

You know you are getting old when you find yourself complaining about the way young people work. Every generation does this, so it is doubtful that there ever was a golden age of work when people of all ages shared the same attitudes.

The Protestant work ethic said that people should work hard and do the best job possible, regardless of the reward. Martin Luther told us, “All men, whatever their calling, ought to seek perfection in their work.” Luther believed that doing quality work helped make you a better person. The traditional work ethic has always been a tall order, especially for those who are more interested in earning enough money to eat than in attaining perfection.

To young adults who have grown up in a society that celebrates consumerism and status, the old work ethic seems hopelessly old-fashioned. Even in college, students seem to value the external rewards of work over learning for its own sake.

A 2006 survey of college freshman at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that about 74 percent of men and 70 percent of women say that the primary reason they attend college is to make more money. Students reflect this attitude in the way they approach their schoolwork. Most college professors have probably observed at least one of these traits in today’s students:

ENTITLED TO A DO-OVER: It has become common for students to ask to retake tests or to rewrite papers in order to get a better grade. Usually the students who make this request are not failing the course but want to push their grade to an A- from a B+. While the apparent desire for self-improvement is admirable, usually the higher grade is what really matters. Sometimes a student’s second try is not much better than the first, but he or she still expects a better grade for the effort. This attitude leads to the second problem.

CLOCK PUNCHING: Students tend to take an industrial view of work. They commonly contest a grade by saying they deserve a higher one because they put so much time into studying or writing a paper. Such students see grades as pay for the time spent on the job, not the quality of the product.

THE LAKE EFFECT: Like the children in Garrison Keillor’s fictitious town of Lake Wobegon, many college students believe that they are above average. This is not entirely their fault, as grade inflation runs rampant in many universities. When professors inflate grades, they give students a misleading picture of how their work stacks up against others, and they deprive students of the feedback they need to improve.

There are many good things about today’s students — their idealism, creativity, energy, technological competence, hard work and dizzying sociability — but working with them and their lack of good old fashioned work ethic can be trying.

For those times,….a bit of advice. When you are frustrated with a student, and their lack of work ethic, just imagine the pictures of your classmates in your own high school yearbook and ask yourself this question: Do these people look like they could someday run the world?

For many people a job is more than an income – it’s an important part of who we are. So a career transition of any sort is one of the most unsettling experiences you can face in your life.Paul Clitheroe

Enterprise: Are you ready to embark on a bold new venture that requires great effort? Do you seek a life of virtue with great zeal and work to be virtuous one thought, one deed, one heart at a time?

There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes.William J. Bennett
An unfulfilled vocation drains the color from a man’s entire existence.Honoré de Balzac
More men are killed by overwork than the importance of this world justifies.Rudyard Kipling
Anyone who works is a fool. I don’t work – I merely inflict myself upon the public.Robert Morley
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before… He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.Kurt Vonnegut
So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.Peter Drucker

Work (Enterprise):

From a historical perspective, the cultural norm placing a positive moral value on doing a good job because work has intrinsic value for its own sake was a relatively recent development. Work, for much of the ancient history of the human race, has been hard and degrading. Working hard–in the absence of compulsion–was not the norm for Hebrew, classical, or medieval cultures. It was not until the Protestant Reformation that physical labor became culturally acceptable for all persons, even the wealthy.

Influences Shaping the Contemporary Work Ethic

The work ethic is a cultural norm that places a positive moral value on doing a good job and is based on a belief that work has intrinsic value for its own sake. Like other cultural norms, a person’s adherence to or belief in the work ethic is principally influenced by socialization experiences during childhood and adolescence. Through interaction with family, peers, and significant adults, a person “learns to place a value on work behavior as others approach him in situations demanding increasing responsibility for productivity”. Based on praise or blame and affection or anger, a child appraises his or her performance in household chores, or later in part-time jobs, but this appraisal is based on the perspective of others. As a child matures, these attitudes toward work become internalized, and work performance is less dependent on the reactions of others.

Children are also influenced by the attitudes of others toward work. If a parent demonstrates a dislike for a job or a fear of unemployment, children will tend to assimilate these attitudes. Parents who demonstrate a strong work ethic tend to impart a strong work ethic to their children.

Another significant factor shaping the work attitudes of people is the socialization which occurs in the workplace. As a person enters the workplace, the perceptions and reactions of others tend to confirm or contradict the work attitudes shaped in childhood. The occupational culture, especially the influence of an “inner fraternity” of colleagues, has a significant impact on the attitudes toward work and the work ethic which form part of each person’s belief system.

Among the mechanisms provided by society to transfer the culture to young people is the public school. One of the functions of schools is to foster student understanding of cultural norms, and in some cases to recognize the merits of accepting them. Vocational education, for example, has as a stated goal that it will promote the work ethic. Inculcation of good work attitudes is one of the highest priorities for high school education. In the absence of early socialization which supports good work attitudes, schools should not be expected to completely transform a young person’s work ethic orientation, but enlightening students about what the work ethic is, and why it is important to success in the contemporary workplace, should be a component of secondary education.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.Confucius
He who builds a better mousetrap these days runs into material shortages, patent-infringement suits, work stoppages, collusive bidding, discount discrimination–and taxes.H. E. Martz
In all large corporations, there is a pervasive fear that someone, somewhere is having fun with a computer on company time. Networks help alleviate that fear.John C. Dvorak

How Ethical Is The Work ‘Ethic’?

Did you ever wonder why your parents act so disoriented when it comes to ‘leisure’ activities? Why they start one little hobby, and either fail to follow through with it or become pathologically obsessed with it… even though it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with their lives? Maybe they seek to lose themselves in gardening or following the exploits of some basketball team. Maybe your father buys all sorts of fancy tools (the kind of tools many men his age have), but only uses them for a few days before setting them aside–and then buys a lot of skiing equipment the next month. Or perhaps they just spend their time trying figure out how to pay off the debt they owe for that wide screen television they spend the rest of their time watching.

And–have they ever been honest with you about their jobs? Do they enjoy them? Is their work the most fulfilling thing they could be doing, are they able to achieve every goal they always wanted to? Do they feel heroic or proud every day as they return home–or are they exhausted? Do they turn that wide screen television on as soon as they come in the door? Do they have the energy to do anything else?

Did you ever wonder if there might be a better way for them, for you?

What is “work” like?

Because of ‘division of labor’, most jobs today consist of doing very specific tasks, over and over, with very little variety. If you are a dishwasher, you wash dishes: you don’t get to interact with people or solve complicated problems very often, and you never get to leave the dish room to run around in the sunlight. If you are a real estate agent, you never use your hands to make anything, and you spend most of your time thinking about market value and selling points. Even jobs that include a certain amount of variety can only remain interesting and challenging up to a point: for we work forty hours a week on average, and at least five out of the seven days. That’s a lot of our lives to spend working. Work is the first thing we do on most of the days of our lives, and we don’t get to do anything else until we’ve been at work for quite a while. When we spend most of our time and energy working on one task, or even ten different tasks, eventually we will feel bored and desperate for variety… even if we are conditioned not to realize this.

On top of this, because of the spread of large businesses and the consequent decrease in self-employment and small businesses, most of us do not have much voice in what our responsibilities at work will be. It is hard to start your own business or even find a friend or neighbor to work for. We often must get a job to survive in which we follow the instructions of a manager who probably doesn’t have much more control over his job than we have over ours. Since we don’t get to decide what we are doing, chances are that we will feel alienated from our work, disinterested in the quality of our labor; we may even feel that the projects we are working upon are unimportant.

Indeed it is easy to feel that most of the jobs available today are unimportant–for in a certain sense, many of them are. In a purely capitalist economy, the jobs that are available will be determined by which products are in the most demand; and often the products that are in demand (military technology, fast food, Pepsi, fashionable clothes) are not products that really make people happy. It’s easy to feel like all your labor is wasted when the products you work so hard to sell just to survive seem to do nothing for the people you sell them to. How many people really are cheered up by the soggy french fries at McDonalds? Would they perhaps be happier eating a meal prepared by a friend of theirs or a chef they knew who owned his own cafe?

In short, “work” as we know it tends to make us unhappy because we do so much of it, because it is so repetitive, because we don’t get to choose what we do, and because what we are doing is often not in the best interest of our fellow human beings.

What is “Leisure Time” like?

We come home from these jobs exhausted from having invested all our time and energy in a project we may not have even been free to choose, and what we need most is to recover. We are emotionally and physically worn out, and nothing seems more natural than to sit down quietly for a while and watch television or read the daily paper, while we try to gather our strength for the next day’s labor. Perhaps we try to leave behind our exhaustion and frustration by concentrating on some hobby or another; but as we are not very used to directing ourselves in the workplace during the day, we often don’t know what we really want to do when we are free at home. Certainly some company or another will have some suggestions for us, whether we receive them from advertising or watching our neighbors; but chances are that this company has their profits in mind at least as much as our satisfaction, and we may discover that playing miniature golf is strangely unfulfilling.

Similarly, of course, we don’t have much time or energy left over from work to consider our situation or participate in any rewarding activity which requires much time and energy. We don’t like to think too much about whether we enjoy our jobs or our lives–besides, that might be depressing, and what can we do if we don’t enjoy them, anyway? We don’t have the energy left to enjoy art or music or books that are really challenging; we need our music to be soothing, our art nonthreatening, our books merely entertaining.

In fact, we come to associate having to expend effort and do things with our work, and associate relaxing and not doing anything with leisure time. So, because many of us don’t like our jobs, we tend to associate having to do things with being unhappy, while happiness, as far as we ever know it, means… not doing anything. We never act for ourselves, because we spend our whole days acting for other people, and we think that acting and working hard always leads to unhappiness; our idea of happiness is not having to act, being on permanent vacation.

And this is ultimately why so many of us are so unhappy: because happiness is not doing nothing, happiness is acting creatively, doing things, working hard on things you care about. Happiness is becoming an excellent long-distance runner, falling in love, cooking an original recipe for people you care about, building a bookshelf, writing a song. There is no happiness to be found in merely lying on a couch–happiness is something that we must pursue. We are not unhappy because we have to do things, we are unhappy because all the things we do are things we don’t care about. And because our jobs exhaust us and mislead us about what we want, they are the source of much of our unhappiness.

What is the solution?

You don’t have to work at those jobs, you know. It is possible to get by without all the Pepsi, all the expensive clothes, the wide screen television and the expensive interior decorating that all those paychecks go to pay for. You can try to start your own business doing something you care about (although this still involves the danger of having too little variety in your work), or you can try to find a job in today’s marketplace (good luck!) that you actually enjoy… and that leaves you enough time and energy to do other things in your life that you also enjoy. The most important thing is to arrange your life so that you are doing things because you want to do them, not because they are profitable–otherwise, no matter how much money you make, you will be selling your happiness for money. Remember that the less money you spend, the less you will have to worry about getting money in the first place… and the less you will have to work at those dehumanizing jobs. Learn to use all your ‘free’ time, not to vegetate or spend money on entertainment, but to create things and accomplish things–things that no one would pay you to make or do, but that make your life (and perhaps the lives of others) better anyway.

Some will argue that the system we live within would break down if we all were to walk away from our jobs–so much the better. Haven’t we built enough automobiles, enough shopping malls, enough televisions and golf clubs, enough nuclear weapons already? Wouldn’t we all be better off if there was a shortage of fast food and a surplus of unique home-cooked meals? If playing music is more rewarding than working in an assembly line, why do we have so few good bands and so many transistor radios? Of course a ‘work-free’ world is a dream we will probably never see come true; but as always, the challenge is to make this dream a part of your world, as much as you can–to liberate yourself from the chains of mindless consumerism and mind-melting employment and live a more meaningful life.

Every day I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I’m not there, I go to work.Robert Orben
We pretend to work because they pretend to pay us.Author Unknown
When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.Betty Bender
A lot of fellows nowadays have a B.A., M.D., or Ph.D. Unfortunately, they don’t have a J.O.B.''Fats'' Domino

Today’s Work Ethic Just No Longer Works

By Dale Dauten

The work ethic is dead. Younger generations in the workforce have killed it off. If you’re under 30, “work” has a different meaning than it did — for the younger employee, work is something to do with your hands while chatting on your cellphone . . . unless it’s something to do with your mouth while text messaging

“Are you working?” “I’m here, aren’t I?” Here I am, give me a high five and a Starbucks. And it’s nobody’s fault but ours, the boomers. We’re the ones who were squealing with delight if the kid drew an egg. We were the ones who said, “Johnny tried, and that’s what counts.” And that’s why these misguided Johnnies show up and give working a try, then wonder where they find the counter where success is handed out. They see “work ethic” as “show up and shut up,” and no wonder they want no part of it.

What’s called for is a way of working beyond mere work, something higher, something finer. What’s needed is a Contribution Ethic and — hello! — it always has been needed. People with a contribution ethic have always been rare, and they have always been who drive the economy and the world conversation.

Contribution Ethic

  1. Just help. Make yourself useful. You aren’t just there, waiting. There’s no waiting. Just help.
  2. A great player is worth less than a great teammate. (aka “The Steve Nash Effect” or “The Yankees’ Blunder”) A great player might or might not improve the group, but a great teammate always does. (Imagine a sales team of 10, each selling 10 units a month. A star might come in as the 11th employee and sell 50 percent more than everyone else, raising the group to 115. A great teammate, however, might come in and sell 12 units, but also help everyone else sell 12, raising the department’s output to 132. Thus, the great teammate seems to produce less but is actually more than twice as valuable.)
  3. Your half is 60 percent.
  4. Innovation is a subversive activity. You can’t expect management and/or co-workers to drool with excitement over your “I have an idea!” After all, most ideas are suggestions and most suggestions are complaints. On the other hand, if an idea is truly original, then expect resistance; indeed, welcome it as a measure of originality. Organizations are built for continuity not creativity. That’s why you need to demonstrate how the idea will work, and you might need the guerrilla’s wiles. Ideas are nothing next to proposals; proposals are nothing next to experiments.
  5. Giving time without attention is a gift-wrapped empty box.
  6. Assume the best. If you accept that every 10th person is a jerk and that you’re a jerk one-10th of the time, then you can meet the world with the smile of the victor, for the odds are with you.
  7. Being right is overrated. If your goal is usefulness, then what matters is progress.
  8. Being wrong is underrated. Admitting you were wrong is wisdom gained.
  9. Always bring something to read.
  10. Think like a hero; work like an artist. If the end is helpfulness, that’s the hero mind. If the means is exploration and learning, that’s the artist’s mind. When kindly attention meets curiosity, you move gracefully through the world.

Constructing Habits

A work ethic is based on habits. Persistence, focus, “do it now,” and “do it right” are the key habits in building a dependable work ethic. Here are some steps for building those habits: Forming the Persistence Habit

The first part of a reliable work ethic is persistence. If you quickly burn out after only a short period of work or you can’t stay focused on a task for long, you lack persistence. Building persistence is like building endurance for a race, slowly training yourself to work harder for longer periods of time.

Persistence should always be balanced with periods of rest. Working twelve hours straight won’t usually be the most effective strategy even if your work ethic is strong. But training yourself to work longer can help you if you need to and it makes working shorter periods of time easier. Here are some tips:

  • Measure Yourself – Figure out how long you can work effectively. Measure how long it takes before you slow down or give up. Measurement can be a source for improvement.
  • Run a Burnout Day – Try working longer for one day, following it with a lighter day afterwards. By stretching your focus for longer periods once in a while you can boost your persistence for normal days.
  • Do an Extra 20% – When you feel like quitting, go an extra 20%. If you’ve been working intensely for three hours but are feeling the desire to stop, try another forty minutes before taking a break.

Forming the Focus Habit

Even more critical than persistence is focus. A car going 70 mph for one hour will go further than a car going 10 mph for six. Focusing all your energies for even a short period of time can be tiring, but combined with persistence it is a powerful ability to have.

Here are some tips for forming the focus habit:

  • Timebox – Give yourself 60-90 minutes to work on a particular task. During that time you can’t rest or engage in any distractions.
  • Accelerate – It can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes to build up a concentrated focus. Give yourself time to accelerate into a focused state.
  • Cut Distractions – Practice the habit of turning off all outside noise. Phones, e-mail, RSS, Twitter and visitors should be shut out while trying to focus.

Forming the “Do It Now” Habit

Don’t let yourself procrastinate. Having a strong work ethic means having the phrase “do it now” as a constant hum in the background. Time for leisure is fine, but if you are trying to work make sure the only thing you are doing is work. Don’t let yourself procrastinate when you still have an unfinished to-do list. Do it Now for 30 Days – Kill the procrastination bug for good. For the next thirty days define periods of your day you want to devote to work or personal projects. During those periods of time, remind yourself of the “do it now” phrase and get working whenever you feel the urge to procrastinate.

Forming the “Do it Right” Habit

The final aspect of getting things done is doing them properly. Sloppy work, hastily finishing things or spending too little time working out details leads to poor quality. If you aren’t going to do something properly, it’s probably not a good idea to do it at all.

Perfectionism isn’t necessary for many tasks, but most things require a minimum standard of quality. Writing code without useful variable names or documentation. Graphics with merged layers. Articles filled with spelling and grammatical errors. The “do it right” habit means actively slowing yourself down slightly to fix problems before they occur.

Here are some tips:

  • Separate Creation and Criticism – Ideas require mess. Solving a programming problem or writing an article often requires that you first let go of your need for perfection. But once you’ve finished the idea, you should separate a specific time for clean-up afterwards.
  • Measure Twice, Cut Once – For tasks that don’t have an Undo feature, take extra care in doing them properly the first time.
  • Set Two Deadlines – Avoid analysis paralysis by setting two deadlines. One to complete the task, and another to review and polish the work. With two deadlines you won’t stumble into the trap of perfectionism, but you won’t hastily finish something that isn’t ready.
  • Sit on It – If you’ve hit a milestone in a task or project, take a few minutes to work on something else. When you come back you can use a fresh perspective to tweak problems.

Using the Habits

What’s the point of building a work ethic in the first place? I can’t comment on your job, but if you don’t feel a natural desire to get more done and work harder, you are probably in the wrong line of work. Doing the absolute minimum and laziness might seem like an ideal solution if your working at a job you hate. But if you are involved in a job or personal project you love, having a work ethic means you get to create, accomplish and provide even more.

At the onset of the twenty first century work and production have become ends in themselves. The resulting material affluence is accompanied by increasing levels of stress, insecurity, depression, crime, and drug taking. Escalating production and consumption are also destroying the environment on which life itself depends. Yet employment has become such a priority that much environmental degradation is justified merely on the grounds that it provides jobs. And people are so concerned to keep their jobs that they are willing to do what their employers require of them even if they believe it is wrong or environmentally destructive.

The social benefit of having the majority of able-bodied people in a society working hard all week goes unquestioned, particularly by those who work hardest. Few people today can imagine a society that does not revolve around work. How did paid work come to be so central to our lives? Why is it that so many people wouldn’t know what to do with themselves or who they were if they did not have their jobs?

Humanity needs to unlearn and change these powerfully held but now pathological values if we are to reverse the declining quality of life in industrial society.

No one knows who will live in this cage in the future, or whether at the end of this tremendous development entirely new prophets will arise, or there will be a great rebirth of old ideas and ideals, or, if neither, mechanized petrification, embellished with a sort of convulsive self-importance. For the “last man” of this cultural development, it might well be truly said: “Specialist without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of humanity never before achieved”

A life spent in constant labor is a life wasted, save a man be such a fool as to regard a fulsome obituary notice as ample reward.George Jean Nathan
The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.Arnold Toynbee
Whenever it is possible, a boy should choose some occupation which he should do even if he did not need the money.William Lyon Phelps
Law of the Alibi: If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire.Author Unknown
I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.Jerome K. Jerome
People who work sitting down get paid more than people who work standing up.Ogden Nash
Communism doesn’t work because people like to own stuff.Frank Zappa
A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.Fred Allen
I won’t take my religion from any man who never works except with his mouth.Carl Sandburg
Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.Tom Stoppard

30 Ways to Figure out your True Enterprise

Everyone has a talent and everyone can apply that talent to an enterprise that can be monetized to provide sustenance for you and your family. The key is to find your talent and then turn it into a scalable business. Most folks get stuck on the “finding the talent” part. Here is a list of 50 ideas on how to find your hidden talent and turn it into an enterprise.

  1. Feel the Pain? Figure out what you are suffering through by not finding and using your own talents to earn a living. For example, are you really afraid to try something new because it might not work, so not letting your talents surface gives you an excuse for not succeeding – or do you just feel safer being able to blame your problems (boredom, lack of money) on someone or something else? Once you know what you are gaining by NOT seeking out your own talents, it is easier to let go of those old outdated beliefs about yourself and move on to new ideas.
  2. Mirror, Mirror On The Wall… Think about the things that you do naturally that others say “I wish I could do that _____ (fill in the blank) as good as you do” and you say “whatever, no big deal, that’s nothing, etc., etc.” Take that “__________” which IS your hidden talent and look at yourself in the mirror and introduce yourself to yourself by saying “Hi, I’m __________ and I can organize and simplify your life”. Then, literally – you will be able to see how it feels. I guarantee it will feel right.
  3. Others See it Before You: One key to discovering a hidden talent is to remain open and receptive to new ideas – no matter how crazy they may seem. Listen to other peoples ideas about what you are good at. Often they are right.
  4. Go With Your Gut: Go with your gut. Whatever gives you the most personal satisfaction is more than likely your hidden talent.
  5. Do What You Love: The best way to discover a hidden talent is to think about what you love to do. What have you always wanted to try but haven’t yet? What do you see others doing that you wish you were doing? The best tip for discovering your hidden talent is simply to think about what you love to do!
  6. Listen Carefully: People will tell you everything about themselves if you listen carefully and do not interrupt them. For hiring, friendships or doing business with them always do some background checking (credit report for example will often tell you where they live and have lived for evaluating their resume or conversation).
  7. Follow Eleanor Roosevelt’s Suggestion: “Do something that scares you every day.” Following this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt will help you find your hidden talent(s).
  8. Try Everything! : Whatever your hidden talent is will shine through and you’ll be mediocre at everything else. The trick is to quickly realize what you’re not good at.
  9. Comfort Zones Stunt Your Growth: The best way to explore hidden talents is to try completely new “scary” things for yourself. Skydive, sing at a Karaoke, visit a church you know nothing about, volunteer for a crisis center, join a club, study something completely foreign to you. Break out of your comfort zone and you might be surprised what gets waked up in you.
  10. Be Creative: Each day set aside 2-3 minutes of quiet time to contemplate a project or idea you are working on – give yourself space and time to do this, if you get distracted write a note. The idea here is to let your mind wander, we don’t see idle thinking as work yet most of us know our best ideas pop into our heads when we’re not thinking about anything in particular. So sit, be quiet and just wander, you will find wild, wacky and creative ideas that you can later develop or reject but which might just give you a whole new way to look at your world.
  11. Listen Up!: Listen to people that know you. You may not be that aware of the things you do best but people who know you do. Listen to people when they say, “have you ever thought of doing____?” or “You are really good at___.” Next time someone says something to you–don’t blow it off, follow up instead. Being open to other people’s experience of you can expand your ideas of yourself!
  12. You Knew As A Child: Remember what you imagined or pretended when you were playing by yourself as a child, under the age of seven. This will key you into your soul’s purpose. Were you a teacher, did you build things, make clothes for your dolls, heal your pets? It is important to remember what you imagined when you were alone, and therefore un-influenced by other people, and under the age of seven when the “inner self” is more pronounced than the conscious mind and conscious ego.
  13. Is it Really Hidden? : Sometimes, I think our hidden talents aren’t really hidden – more like repressed or discounted and ignored. Be especially aware of what other people “see” in you that you may or may not validate or give much attention to yourself.
  14. What’s Easy For You: We all think that the things we are good at are easy, so we tend to discount their value. Conversely, we value things that we find difficult – which other people find easy. If something comes easily to you, chances are you’re good at it, too – and often the people for whom it’s not easy will pay you to do it.
  15. Find Your Sweet Spot: In order to find your sweet spot, or your unique gift, think of those things that come easy to you. To you it’s no big deal, but to others, it’s incredible. What are those things that others come to you for that for you, it’s as easy as breathing and you’d do it for fun whether you were paid or not? When your operating out of your sweet spot, your true talent will shine!
  16. Ignite the Spark Within: Our true entrepreneurial talents may be divined by the emotion sparked by engagement. Listen to your heartbeat, when it speeds our intent becomes fueled by passion which enables action. Action is the key to realizing our identified entrepreneurial talents. If the spark isn’t there, you won’t have the stamina to withstand the inevitable setback.
  17. Don’t Get Mad, Get Paid: ‘If you see something wrong, why don’t you right it’ the song goes. If something bugs you about the way things are, making a difference can make you money. Chances are if you’re annoyed by something, other people are too. All the better if you can do something profitable that helps everyone! It may be because fixing your source of frustration is your hidden talent, or a strength that differentiates you from ‘the rest of us.’
  18. Find The Bigger Thing: Play “Find the Bigger Thing.” Consider all your ideas and write them all down, draw a circle around all the things you like, and think about it for days. Now consider what is the bigger thing that contains all those things that I loved? Do that bigger thing.
  19. Tune In To Yourself: The best way to uncover your hidden talent is to tune in to yourself. Our talents are all there but can sometimes get masked by taking other jobs just to make money. Instead, think about what you love doing.
  20. Could Fish Describe Water?: Knowing your best talents is like fish knowing water. Your best talents and gifts are so natural, they are hard to recognize. Gather together or connect through writing to a circle of people who know you well from work, activities, friendships – both current and part – and ask them the following question. “What do I do uniquely well that offers significant benefit to others?”
  21. Dig Up Proudest Past Moments: Think about and write down the best accomplishments, achievements and activity successes you are most proud of, even back to childhood. Patterns will emerge as you scan all of them and your hidden talents will come up. They may be talents that you are not currently using in your present job which may indicate a career change would make you happier.
  22. What Makes Your Heart Dance And Your Eyes Light up?: What are the things you’re doing when you lose track of time or that you can talk about for hours? You may not consider them to be gifts or talents, but if you enjoy them that much, chances are there is something there that could lead you to your gifts.
  23. Unique Abilities– Just Ask: Do an exercise called Unique Abilities, where you send out a question to friends, family and colleagues asking them what makes you special. Most people will answer, then compile the responses. Look for a common thread and therein you will find your unique talents.
  24. Reflect Back on Compliments: It is helpful to take a moment to reflect on the compliments that we have received from our customers. Sometimes it takes outside objectivity to see what we have simply taken for granted.
  25. Internal, Spiritual, Prayer, Self, Purpose: Turn inward and pray for spiritual guidance with self-imposed questions of how to serve, share and be of help. Be aware and discover feelings and ideas that lead to passion and purpose. Be willing to listen on a different level……can you hear that whisper?
  26. Find Your Gift in Ten Minutes by Asking Only One Question: If you really want to find your gift and get to know someone in your life better try this. Sit across from each other. Have your buddy ask you “Who are you?” and then start listing nouns: A listener, a comic, energy, etc. Do this for 10 minutes – then flip to the other person. When you’re both done – tell each other what you heard.
  27. How To Find Your Hidden Talents: To find your hidden talents do this exercise: Take a piece of paper and make two columns. Under the left column, write down every job and hobby you had and have now. Under the right column, write down every skill you used and use to do the job or hobby. Go through the list and remove duplicates. The skills that are left are your hidden talents. They are hidden because you don’t realize you use them when doing the work or hobby.
  28. Listen to Compliments. Really listen: Other people often recognize what we’re good at while we are taking it for granted and fail to notice it (if we’re not denying it altogether). I have had to hear “wow, that’s great, you’re so creative!” many times before I told myself to stop the brain noise going “oh no, that’s bull, I’m not creative at all” and embrace it. Less brain noise, more actual listening to people’s praise!
  29. Ask Your FAMILY: In order to find your hidden talent you should ask others what you are great at? The talent is hidden because you have not found it on your own. An excellent way to find out is to ask your FAMILY, F is for Friends, A is for Associates, M is for Ministry(church members), I is for Inspiration(mentor),L is for Learning classmates),and Y is for You as sometimes after hearing what they have to say you have to see what you say about yourself.
  30. Cultivate Those Wacky Childhood Seedlings: When I think about my interests and passions as a kid, I can see the seeds of all the stuff I’m actually very talented at and passionate about today. And I’m convinced there are even more seeds and seedlings from my childhood-—and from your childhood, too—-that haven’t even bloomed yet! What’s true for me can be true for you: With a little digging, you may find rooted in your childhood all sorts of hidden talents, dormant but very much alive, waiting patiently for a little cultivating so they can grow and bloom into something really spectacular now that you’re all grown-up.
What is it that you like doing? If you don’t like it, get out of it, because you’ll be lousy at it.Lee Iacocca
What the world really needs is more love and less paper work.Pearl Bailey
Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas.Paula Poundstone
Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?Edgar Bergen
The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.Robert Frost

Put Your Talent To Work For Yourself

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably thought about how nice it would be to work at home, to work for yourself without having to answer to anyone else. Imagine getting up in the morning and being able to plan your own day – to do the things that you want to do. Being able to take a day off when YOU want to, not when the boss decides he doesn’t need you. Imagine trading in the stress of working for someone else for the satisfaction of owning your own business.

Right now, there are business opportunities out there that can give you the tools you need to take control of your destiny and build a better lifestyle for yourself and your family. A work at home business can put you in the driver’s seat. When you work for yourself from home, you’re not limited by someone else’s vision or time schedule. You can put your efforts into building the life that you want – without worrying about pleasing anyone but yourself and your customers.

If you’re ready to make the move from collecting a paycheck to signing your own, your biggest question shouldn’t be ‘Will I make money?’ It should be ‘How will I make money?’ The real secret to making money with your own work at home business isn’t a great product. It isn’t an incredible system that works for anyone. It isn’t in that proven formula that’s guaranteed to make you thousands of dollars a week. The real secret to owning and running a successful cash flow business is inside yourself.

The secret to taking control of your life and your work and improving your lifestyle is in making a commitment to making a work at home business work for you. If you’re ready to make a real difference in your family’s life and lifestyle, you can expect results like this:

No More Commuting : You get that hour or two or three to spend however you want. Instead of wasting ten hours a week on the train commuting to work, you will get a full extra workday a week to put into building your business – or sleeping in. The choice is yours – because you won’t answer to anyone else.

Get Paid What You’re Worth : Face it – when you work for someone else, their goal is to get as much work from you as possible for as little compensation as they can get away with. They started the business to make money, right? When you work at home for yourself, the money that you make for your business goes into YOUR pocket.

Fewer Expenses : The minute you stop leaving the house to work to put money in someone else’s pocket, you’ll be able to put a whole lot more into your own. The money saved in commuting costs, clothing costs, eating out costs – all the little expenses that you never even think about – really add up. On top of that, there are tax benefits to working at home that aren’t available to you if you work for someone else.

Flexibility: The real beauty of creating a profitable, work at home business is that it gives you the flexibility to work when you want, how you want. You’re only accountable to yourself – and the harder you work, the more profit you can expect to see. By the same token, you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to take a few hours out of your day to coach your son’s Little League team, or go watch your daughter in her first school play.

Are you ready to start signing your own paycheck? You’ll find dozens of investment and business opportunities with a simple web site search. Your work at home success may come through building a successful web site business, investing in real estate, or buying into a franchise business opportunity. You’ll find information and assistance that will help you build a successful cash flow business that will bring in a regular, steady stream of income and let you control your income, your time and your lifestyle. All you have to do is choose a business that appeals to you, and commit yourself to making a better life for yourself and your family. Take a deep breath, open your eyes and take the plunge.

One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.Elbert Hubbard
It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.Jerome K. Jerome
The human race is faced with a cruel choice: work or daytime television.Unknown

Put your Talent to Work in Your Own Business

Face it – when you work for someone else, their goal is to get as much work from you as possible for as little compensation as they can get away with. They started the business to make money, right? When you work at home for yourself, the money that you make for your business goes into YOUR pocket.

Fewer Expenses : The minute you stop leaving the house to work to put money in someone else’s pocket, you’ll be able to put a whole lot more into your own. The money saved in commuting costs, clothing costs, eating out costs – all the little expenses that you never even think about – really add up. On top of that, there are tax benefits to working at home that aren’t available to you if you work for someone else.

Flexibility: The real beauty of creating a profitable business of your own is that it gives you the flexibility to work when you want, how you want. You’re only accountable to yourself – and the harder you work, the more profit you can expect to see. By the same token, you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to take a few hours out of your day to coach your son’s Little League team, or go watch your daughter in her first school play.

Are you ready to start signing your own paycheck? You’ll find dozens of investment and business opportunities with a simple web site search. Your own business success may come through building a successful web site business, investing in real estate, or buying into a franchise business opportunity. You’ll find information and assistance that will help you build a successful cash flow business that will bring in a regular, steady stream of income and let you control your income, your time and your lifestyle.

All you have to do is choose a business that appeals to you, and commit yourself to making a better life for yourself and your family. Take a deep breath, open your eyes and take the plunge.

When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: ‘Whose?’Don Marquis
Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.Douglas Adams
One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.Bertrand Russell
Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard-working, honest Americans. It’s the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then–we elected them.
Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment.Robert Benchley
The world is full of willing people, some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.Robert Frost

Passionate Enterprise

The creative force behind all great art, all great drama, all great music, all great architecture, all great writing is passion. Nothing great is ever accomplished in life without passion. Nothing great is ever sustained in life without passion. Passion is what energizes life. Passion makes the impossible possible. Passion gives you a reason to get up in the morning and go, “I’m going to do something with my life today.” Without passion life becomes boring. It becomes monotonous. It becomes routine. It becomes dull. You were created with the emotions to have passion in your life and to live a passionate life. Passion is what mobilizes armies into action. Passion is what causes explorers to boldly go where no man’s gone before. Passion is what causes scientists to spend late night hours trying to find the cure to a dreaded disease. Passion is what takes a good athlete and turns him or her into a great athlete. You have got to have passion in your life. Do you?

A major cause for losing passion in our lives is when we are engaged in enterprises that do not use the talents we each have been blessed with. Each of us has been given specific talents and abilities that are meant to be used in the service of others. You have a special role in this world and you are supposed to be using your talents to make a contribution with your life. If you don’t use your talents you are going to lose your passion. You were not given your special abilities just to sit on them and do nothing about it. In fact, it’s more like “use it or lose it”. Have you ever had that feeling coming home after a long day’s work? Rather than feeling satisfied, you feel like you just had the life force sucked from your body?

If you are stuck in a job that does not use your talents to any degree you are inevitably going to lose your zeal and zest and passion in life. It’s going to burn you out. Studies have shown that 70% of all Americans are in a job that does not use their talents. That’s tragic. We were designed to use our talents to earn our livelihood and the vast majority of us don’t. No wonder so many people are depressed about their jobs.

If you are in a job right now that uses only 30% of your talent, that’s probably going to give you a 70% boredom factor. Does that make any sense? You are bored by your job because it’s not using the talents that are inherent in your being. A lot of people are stuck in a job they hate, where they are not using their talents. They lose their zest for life.

The reality is you are probably never going to find a job that uses 100% of your talent. It is very rare.

The solution is for you to have a life that is more than your job.

If you are one of the few people whose job is using 100% of your talents, that’s great! But if your job is only using 30% of your talents, then in order to stay passionate about life, you need to be using the remaining 70% of your talents off the job. You can apply these talents with your family, serving others, volunteering, a business of your own on the side, coaching, a hobby, or a ministry. You need to use the talents you are not using in your job. No job could possibly use all the talents you have been blessed with. You need a job, but you also need an outlet that expresses what you are good at.

To fully practice the virtue of “Enterprise” is to use ones talents to earn your livelihood and then to serve others with what remains in your “talent tank”.

Use it or lose it.

Put your talent into your work, but your genius into your life.Oscar Wilde quotes


Do you want to shine at work? Start leveraging your talent’s, and you’ll have more energy, zip and enthusiasm. Your talents are natural abilities. If you’re not using your talents at work, you and your company are missing out.

Follow these easy tips to stay true to what you do best.


You’re already talented and brilliant at something. But you may not know what this is. Ask these questions to discover your talents:

  • What type of projects have ‘my name’ written all over them?
  • When do others come to me for help
  • What do I volunteer for – even when no one is paying me?

2. ASK others

Invite your boss, employees, friends and co-workers to give you input. Others notice whether we’re stressed or having fun. Your talents are as obvious as the nose on your face – but you can’t see it without a mirror. For feedback, ask your colleges these easy questions:

  • What work seems easy and effortless to me?
  • What do you notice I’m especially good at doing?
  • What type of projects do I get immersed in?

3. START now!

Don’t wait for the ideal job, ideal boss or ideal promotion to contribute your talents. Find ways to do it NOW. What do you dream about accomplishing? Think of one action you can take today. It might be as simply as sharing an ideas or doing some research. Motivate action by asking yourself:

  • What can I do today to offer my talents?
  • How can I use my talents in the job I currently have?
  • If I were bold, what would I tackle immediately?

4. BRAG.

You must tell others what you’re good at doing. Neither your boss, employees coworkers will know – unless you tell them. Say out loud what you want to contribute. Otherwise you’ll end up with the ‘must do’ projects. Bragging helps others put your talents to use. Let others know your talents by saying:

  • I enjoy working at these types of projects.
  • I’m a great planner, motivator, organizer.
  • I can help you keep the details straight, or get everyone on board.

5. Get PAID.

To get paid well, link your talents to business results. Don’t just find a job. If you have a talent for “research,” find someone who will pay you to do RESEARCH.. Find and create opportunities to use your talents! Answer these questions to align your talents with results.

  • What type of projects, challenges at work require my talents?
  • How can my talents contribute to s results?
  • What group will benefit the most from my talents?

Communicate to everyone around you with this simple statement.
“I make my greatest contribution when my talents (name them here) are used to help my company achieve these goals…”

6. ADMIT faults.

One of the blessings of knowing our talents is realizing we’re not good at everything. I’m spontaneous and think well on my feet. This makes me good at facilitating groups and coaching leaders. But the flip side of is that I don’t sequence well. When a project needs a logical, linear plan, I have to stop and think. Putting things in sequence is the opposite of being spontaneous. It’s relaxing to know you don’t have to be ‘expert’ at everything. Ask these questions to recognize weaknesses.

  • What is the flip side of my best talent?
  • When do my talents bug those close to me?
  • What tasks are difficult and challenging for me to do?

7. Let GO.

Once you’ve got a handle on your weaknesses, you must manage these areas. Here are five key strategies:

Delegate; Find someone who loves what you’re not good at doing.
Systematize: Plan way you can systematize this chore. If planning is hard for you, sit down and plan your schedule once a week.
Use technology: Let technology do the work for you.
Drop it: Find ways to eliminate this chore from your life without letting performance suffer.
Partner: Find someone who has this talent. Borrow their brain to help you accomplish the task. Simply hanging out with people who have a talent you’re missing makes it easier to do it.


Free yourself from the notion that you have to do it all. Recognize when guilt is motivating you to do work that’s not yours. Review current projects and examine your motives. Challenge yourself to move past obligation and duty. Ask these questions to free yourself of work that’s better done by others:

  • Why am I doing a project that is sheer drudgery?
  • What is my motivation? Who am I trying to please?
  • Where is my time better spent?

9. Max FUN

If you’re doing what you love, you’re also having fun. Notice whether you’re engaged or just going through the motions. It’s easier to contribute when we’re energized and engaged. To stay on track ask yourself:

  • In the last week what projects were fun for me?
  • What work do I really enjoy?
  • How much of my time am I doing this?

10. Engage FRIENDS

Choose friends who help you become your best. Share your dreams. Challenge each other step up to the plate. Meet regularly. Set aggressive goals and be accountable for progress. Your talents will flourish in an environment of mutual support. To get started, ask yourself:

  • Who do I trust to give me useful feedback?
  • Who challenges me and helps me offer my best?
  • Who do I trust to be in my inner circle of advisors?