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I want to make a lasting contribution and tap into my strengths at work

Buffaloing

BUFFALOING@2x

The Context

America's national spirit animal became a veritable one stop shop for the early settlers. At two thousand pounds apiece, these beautiful creates were utilized for just about everything. Meat, tail, buckskin, hooves, horns, hair, dung, innards, tallow, rawhide, every part of them contributed some kind of value for the tribe. This is the epitome of being prolific. And it's not limited to big game.

The Tool

two color

Buffaloing

BUFFALOING -- An integrative approach to identifying, understanding, exploiting and managing your own talent

This tool is not a perfectly linear process, so tease out some of the key elements. First, if there's a secret talent for which you have no name, a gift that you haven't employed to any useful purpose, do you have a moral obligation to use it? Is it an insult to your inheritance to let that talent lay idle? Maybe. There certainly is no ethics committee to check up on you. There is no law that says that you have to regift whatever we have inside of you. And there is no doubt that life is a blind and purposeless effect of billions of mundane and absurd events. But all nihilism aside, why else would you have the damn thing? May as well put it to work. Will you give yourself permission to express each of your gifts to make a difference in all parts of your life? Next up in the buffaloing approach comes understanding. Because each of us has the chance to craft a prolific life best suited to our own abilities and temperament. Each of us can find a place where we can satisfy our need to make a meaningful contribution. Each of us can bring the full weight of our creativity to bear on our work. And each of us can reach the broader audience that our talents merit. But only if we’re willing to change the way we talk to ourselves about ourselves. Only if we’re willing to fight against the infantile within us and become the adults we have only pretended to be for so long. What new story about your gifts are you willing to tell yourself?

After you've identified and understood your many usable parts, now comes the fun part. Exploitation. After all, your story truly starts to matter when you actually make a difference in the world with the talents you've been given. The key word being talents, not talent. Plural, not singular. Because single assets in isolation don’t have much value. What matters is the whole portfolio working together. What matters is the emergence of your talents coming alive as their elements are integrated into one another. Just like the buffalo. Which of your talents go well together? How can you package them in an interesting way that also creates value for others?

The Rest

This may take some trial and error before you hone in on it, but the more work you do, paid and unpaid, the more the patterns will make themselves known. Additionally, part of exploitation is finding the right environment to take your talents on the ride they deserve. Meaning, the platform, venue, vehicle, organization or community through which you can make use of all of your gifts and create real value in the real world. Again, it may require some trial and error to lock into place. But imagine coming to work every day to a place your talents aren't only appreciated, but activated. A place where you can express your natural way of being useful. A place where you can do what you love with people who want you to do it. A place where you can be a source of new ideas that are pragmatic and applicable. This kind of place is hard to find, and even harder to create. But know that it is possible.

The Benefits

Reach the broader audience that your creativity merits
Do work suited to your own abilities and temperament
Express all of your gifts to create real value for yours and other people’s lives
Feel deeply fulfilled in your work regardless of external variables and conditions

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