I stood up on the tee-box beside my Dad, and watched as he got ready to tee off. A keen sportsman, he had started playing golf aged 40, but was learning fast. I smiled as he launched a drive down the middle of the fairway, far beyond mine, and thought “some people have a natural ability at sports”.

Looking for my Natural Ability

Ever since I was a boy I have wondered if there was some activity that I could really excel at, some undiscovered talent that I had. If I could just find out what it was, I could do what I loved and be extremely good at it, the best even. We all know people who are naturals at what they do, its poetry in motion, and beautiful to watch. Myself, I tried hard and loved sports while I was doing them, but I could never reach an excellent level, I just wasn’t naturally gifted.

Discovering the concept of Unique Ability

Nowadays I create knowledge products and services for consultants and as part of that there are many tasks I need to do. So why am I better at some of them than others? Why do I love some of them, but avoid the rest?

I found out about the concept of Unique Ability in the Strategic Coach program. It is “a unique combination of talent and passion, and wisdom about how best to use it”. The theory is each person has a talent they love to use that translates into activities they do exceptionally well. When asked where your abilities lie traditionally we think about sports, arts, or creative outlets, but since I found out about the concept of Unique Ability I have approached this question differently.

I now know what I “should” be doing, and things are clicking into place. I’m learning how to apply my unique ability to get better results, and I hired an assistant to work on tasks outside my Unique Ability, the ones I was avoiding.

When I concentrate on my unique ability tasks, I’m working on things I love to do, and this makes my day more rewarding. I’m finding out how I can have the greatest impact on the world. Nobody else can be as good at my particular unique ability, because it’s unique to me.

How I figured it out

So how did I figure this all out? I mailed family, friends and colleagues from my personal and professional life, asking them what do they see as unique in me, how do I approach things, what do they count on me for, and what do they notice about me that’s different. I also used a number of supporting online tools such as the Kolbe profile and Strengths Finder.

After combining all these inputs I came up with the end result:

My Unique Ability is to react calmly, listen, research and analyze, before providing independent solutions that deliver what I promise with a minimum of fuss.

What Next

So during the time working on this, I started thinking; what if my Unique Ability is that undiscovered talent I was looking for? Maybe my search was over.

It’s one thing to identify this but I still have lots of questions:

How can I apply this ability exactly?
What if I get better and better at applying my unique ability?
How much value can I create by providing direction, confidence and capability?
If I work with people equally good in different areas, we can collaborate to achieve great things; where might that lead?
As I worked on this my memory was drawn back to standing on the golf course with my father, smiling and shaking my head as he tapped in for another birdie. “Some people just have a natural ability”, I still think, and now I have found mine too.

So, what you do you think your Unique Ability might be? Let me know what you think below.


Strategic Coach

Kolbe A Index Assessment

Unique Ability book – from Strategic coach, bookshops or online

Strengths Finder book – from bookshops or online

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