Talent: A stepping stone to career success

Thando Nkomo| Nust-zw

University or college is probably one of the best places to interact with the great minds of our time.

In fact, nothing refreshes and tickles the mind than rubbing shoulders with professors and lecturers who’ve done it all and written it all.

As you rush from one class to another, you find yourself caught up and lost in academic chivalry.

Inspired to be the next Albert Einstein or Marie Curie, you see yourself contributing to national and even global transformation through new ideas and new inventions.

But hold your horses.

Let’s get back to basics.

Surely university can’t be all about reading, scoring good grades and living up to the expectation of over achieving professors.

And the sooner you grasp this, the earlier you’ll find yourself on the path to career success.

To put it succinctly, it is those students who learn to develop their talent and use education as a spring board, who emerge truly successful in their career pursuits.

At the core of career success is talent identification and utilization. When you identify and start tapping into your talent, career success will be at your fingertips.

Whether you are interested in main stream business, academia, the arts and entertainment, sport and even non-profit making industries, developing your talent will enable you to be a cut above the rest.

Focusing on talent will enable you to leave a lasting impression – after all, we are all uniquely talented.

“those who neglect to make right choices to release and maximize their talent continually underperform”. – John Maxwell

It is talent that has enabled Oprah Winfrey to be one of the most influential personalities in the world. Starting out as a television news anchor to become one of the most memorable television personalities in the world, she wouldn’t have achieved such success without identifying her talents, working on them and perfecting her ability to use those talents.

It is talent that has enabled Tyler Perry to emerge as one of the best film producers of our time. Talent is also the foundation of the great motor-vehicle designs displayed by cars such as Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, Chevrolet and many more.

Even in architecture, we see the work of talent – structural designs that are simply not by chance, but a reflection of brilliant talented minds. In fact, every act of brilliance, and every material design that captures the minds of humanity across the board is a reflection of talent that has been painstaking developed over time.

However, as author and international speaker, John Maxwell observes in his book A Talent Is Never Enough, there are millions of people who have ability [or talent] but who never get to use it and never reach their potential.

He observes that “those who neglect to make right choices to release and maximize their talent continually under-perform”.

Perhaps this is why businesses and economies in Zimbabwe and Africa are struggling. We have students and graduates who are continually under-performing because they may not be using their talents or simply misplaced.

Unfortunately university may not teach you how to identify and use your talents. But that will never be a good enough excuse for failure. You must identify your talent and tap into it.

This simply begins by you understanding your strengths and your interests. Think about those things that you enjoy doing, or those tasks that you do very well and much better than others.

Once you have identified those, focus on them. Use education to position yourself to be in the industries where you can do what you are good at and before long, you will be smiling all the way to the bank.

Thando Nkomo is a Public Relations Lecturer, Researcher and strategist. He is also the Director of Career Factory, a Career Management Consultancy. Contact him on email:; Follow him on twitter @careerfactoryzw & facebook @careerfactoryzw or Whatsapp (0774013988)