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Self Development

Harness your Talent

Talent can be your gateway to success, or your worst enemy. Here’s how you can use your talent – but why you shouldn’t rely on it.

Axel Rittershaus




The iconic actor Will Smith once said in an interview that he had never viewed himself as talented.

His comments got me thinking though. If Will doesn’t see himself as talented, what does that mean for us mere mortals and our own talents, dreams and ambitions? The first question we need to ask is:

Is talent important?

The talent factor

Do you remember the kids at school who were incredibly talented? They got the best marks. They were great at sports. They were popular. And all of their successes were put down to innate talent.

In many cases, those shining stars at school end up living in the land of mediocrity. Most of them do not reach the stars, like everybody expects. The question is why?

Talent is no guarantee for success

Will Smith puts his success down to hard work. In his own words, where he excels is in a ridiculous, sickening work ethic. “When the others are sleeping, I’m working. When the others are eating, I’m working,” he says.

There’s an important lesson here for business owners too. Although no-one would deny that he is indeed a talented actor, Will doesn’t see talent as the reason for his success, but hard, relentless and dedicated work. In other words, nothing comes free – you have to work at it. Talent without total focus, dedication and hard work isn’t worth much after all.

Talent can be our worst enemy

Before you dismiss this notion as crazy, think about yourself as a talented person. At first, since you’re so talented, everything comes easily to you. You excel over your peers by simply using your talent. You like it. Soon you start expecting to excel without investing too much time and effort. But the reality is that true success cannot be bought with talent alone.

On the other side of the coin to the talented superstars are the people who might not be looking for attention, may or may not be incredibly talented, but who truly believe in themselves. And there is our second lesson: talent and self-belief are not mutually inclusive. People who believe in hard work and focus, and who know that they have what it takes, often surpass the talented individuals who are coasting through life. They aren’t as immediately noticeable as the talented individuals, mainly because they aren’t showing off – they’re working hard. And the real kicker: that hard worker will carry on working hard, improving themselves and focusing on personal growth. And success will follow.

To remain on top, whether you are gifted with great talent or not, takes time, focus and a strong work ethic. Just ask Will, who insists that “Your talent is going to be a failure if you are not skilled and not dedicating yourself to becoming better every single day.”

Become as successful as you want to be

So, how can you harness your inner-self and reach for the stars? First, if it’s not clear already, never rest on your laurels. Maybe you are extremely talented, maybe not. It doesn’t matter. With focus you can achieve anything. As any sportsman will tell you, the competitor with the most willpower and persistence wins the race, regardless of physical strength, fitness or natural talent. These attributes all help, but they are only ingredients in the final mix.

Never let the opinions of others bring you down. To quote Will again, this time talking to his son in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness: “Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something. People will tell you, you can’t do something, because they can’t do it. If you got a dream, protect it.” Whatever your goal is, it’s your dream, and it’s in your reach. Only you can realise it.

The ‘10 000 hours’ rule for experts

Studies have proven that it takes up to 10 000 hours of hard, dedicated work to become an expert in any topic. This rule applies to all of us. No matter how talented! The studies verified that talented individuals have greater early successes. That’s all fine and well, but in order to achieve real growth and lasting success something more is needed – or pretty soon they are going to be outpaced by individuals who are not as talented, but far more focused, and with a better work ethic.

Axel Rittershaus is an internationally renowned C-Level / Executive Coach & Author who started as an entrepreneur in the IT industry in 1993. He knows that success is the result of hard work and determination even more than innate talent. A master of maintaining focus and follow-through, Axel supports C-Level leaders globally in achieving goals. Axel is dedicated and passionate to see clients succeed beyond their expectations. Axel is also the president of the International Coach Federation South Africa and a multiple Two Oceans and Comrades finisher. You can follow him on twitter.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Yeti Snow

    Jan 11, 2012 at 09:07

    Perception, or how you are perceived, is I think most critical in your rise through corporate ranks. I have seen hard workers overlooked, and those who are well-perceived – not necessarily the smartest, although they have been smart enough to network and manage their careers very effectively – cruise through promotion after promotion.

    Work smart, not work hard!

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Self Development

Why Your Professional Persona Matters

You don’t have to become a different person to succeed in business.

Timothy Sykes




For superheroes, getting into professional mode is as easy as slapping on some spandex, a mask and a cape. For the everyday entrepreneur, however, the proper work mindset is less about attire and more about adopting a professional persona.

Your professional persona is your personal branding in the workplace. It refers to the way that you conduct yourself publicly in a business setting, and the image you project to coworkers and colleagues. Far from contrived or inauthentic, it’s simply the polished-up way that you present yourself professionally.

How do I develop a professional persona?

It’s actually extremely easy to develop a professional persona. All you have to decide is who you want to be in the workplace, and then take efforts with your attitude, dress, and conduct to become that version of yourself. Action follows intention, and over time, you’ll find that adopting your professional persona feels as natural as putting on your coat before leaving the house.

Now that you understand what a professional persona is, let’s talk about why you should work on cultivating one and what you stand to gain.

Create a self fulfilling prophecy

Success is typically hard-earned and slow in the making. However, if you take the time to develop a professional persona, it can help bring success sooner. If you conduct yourself casually and informally in the workplace, you’re less likely to be taken seriously and might spend far longer in the career trenches.

But if you make a concerted effort to conduct yourself with the professionalism of a manager or CEO, you’ll make yourself a more desirable candidate for advancement. Since you’ve already demonstrated the appropriate attitude for higher level positions, you’re more likely to be thought of when opportunities arise.

Related: 25 Bad Words That Make Other People Feel Inferior

Focus on what’s important

When you establish a professional persona, you put yourself in the right state of mind for work. This can help you attain your career goals.

Say, for instance, that one of your big career goals is to become a leading authority in your field so that you can become the next TED Talk celebrity. With this specific goal in mind, you can tailor your professional persona so that it can help advance you toward this goal. For instance, you might begin speaking at local networking events or starting a topical podcast. Doing things like this will help you establish a professional persona of being an expert in your niche.

Make yourself indispensable

One of the best ways to create job security is to make yourself indispensable in your position. A professional persona can help by letting you establish recognisable and dependable hallmarks in your working style.

For instance, perhaps part of your persona is that you are the person who always meets his or her deadlines on time. In time, this will become part of your professional identity and will be part of how people see you in your office or field. When others know and trust that they can depend on you, you’ll make yourself indispensable. Over time, this can have a powerful and positive effect on your career.

Be taken more seriously

A casual attitude is fine when you’re hanging out with friends. But in a professional setting, it may be holding you back. When you present yourself with a more polished professional persona in work settings, you’ll be taken more seriously. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at work, of course. But it does mean that you should conduct yourself with an air of professionalism and should never engage in bad habits like gossip or use language that might come back to haunt you later.

Remember: You get what you give. When you act respectfully in the workplace, you’re more likely to be treated with the same respect.

You’ll get more followers

More and more, entrepreneurs are using social media to attain a higher professional status or to attract more business.

When you take the time to develop a professional persona, you adopt a personal style, a way of articulating, and potentially even an aesthetic. These things add up to more clear and compelling personal/professional branding. This can help you maintain a consistency on social media platforms that makes your posts recognisable. Over time, this can lead to additional followers, which can mean more opportunities for selling, career advancement, and more.

Develop a thicker skin

You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t take things personally in the professional sphere. But anyone who has ever experienced rejection or criticism in their career knows that this is much easier said than done.

Your professional persona can help give you some personal armour. When you have a professional persona, it can be easier to separate your personal life from your work to a greater degree. No, this doesn’t mean that you won’t feel any pain when things go wrong, but it will allow you to compartmentalise in a positive way, so that an issue at work doesn’t impact your personal life quite as much.

This article was originally posted here on

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Company Posts

6 Steps To Cultivate A Success Mindset

What does a winning mindset mean to you? It’s what has separated the likes of Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Usain Bolt and Floyd Mayweather from fellow professional athletes. Adopting a similar approach could help you achieve massive success in 2019 and beyond.






A winning mindset is the trait that allows you to persist even when defeat looks like the most probable outcome. People with a winning mindset are much clearer about the process to attain their goals. They are not afraid of failure as long as they believe that they’re doing the right thing. That’s the difference between winners and losers.

1. Persist and understand that you must put in the work before you see results

The most successful people embody the principle of a winning mindset, because very few people in the world, be it in sports or business, can succeed without having to overcome obstacles. It’s seldom that talent is all one needs to succeed in any endeavour, otherwise most people would be successful.

A good way to understand this principle is to observe professional athletes before and during tournaments. Anybody competing in professional sports, such as the Olympics, has the talent but not all professional athletes are winners. A number of their memorable victories were achieved when they came from behind, when it looked like they were losing.

2. Press the reset button for the new year

The new year is notorious for long lists of resolutions that are not honoured and ultimately remain wishes. That said, the dawn of a new year tends to bring with it positive energy and a commitment to do things differently.

Entrepreneurs need to approach the New Year with a simple goal to do better than the prior year in whatever endeavour they are undertaking. It is important to build on current success or failure, and then commit to go one up. That way, the goal won’t seem unattainable.

Related: Many SMEs Start With Great Plans But Fail To Take The Big Leap

3. Take small incremental steps

The first step is to be clear about the goal and to write it down where you can see it every day. The second thing is to map the process of how you will get there, broken into small steps. From there onwards, focus on the process and not the goal as this allows one to achieve small but important victories. This needs to be backed up by an appropriate support system, associating with like-minded people.

4. Don’t stop upskilling yourself

Success in business is about creating shared value and solving real-world challenges that customers grapple with. Skills are therefore necessary to achieve success, so upskilling oneself is never a bad investment. It’s good to know something about everything, but ultimately one needs to know everything about something.

Some skills will be brought in through hiring staff, others through outsourcing and in some cases through strategic alliances.

5. Remember that no goal is static

One of the most important things to always remember is the goal, and that the goal is dynamic; it will have to be adjusted along the way. Business leaders can therefore celebrate the small victories fully aware that there is more work to be done. Achieving temporary success is easy, especially with all the tenders around, but building a sustainable business and staying on top requires persistence and hard work.

Related: Organisational Design Disruptions Do Not Occur In A Vacuum: Future Business Models

6. Your top tool is in your head

It’s all in the mind, backed by passion and a strong desire to succeed. If anything, business leaders need to train themselves to be uncomfortable with the status quo, not to get too comfortable with the present.

Why Not Consider The Acca Qualification For 2019?

ACCA professionals are more than accountants. They think holistically, consider challenges in the context of business and have strong strategic and leadership skills. Visit for more information.

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Self Development

Taking Care Of Mental Health Is Powerful, Not Weak

Charlamagne Tha God talks success, anxiety and mental health.

Lewis Howes




It’s time to open up. No matter what you’re dealing with, you’re not alone.

There is nothing shameful about having anxiety. Think about this acronym for FEAR – you either Fear Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. The more you confront the things in your past you don’t want to do with, the more you’ll be able to move forward. So, are you going to run from your fear, or face it?

On today’s episode of The School of Greatness, I talk about anxiety and PTSD with a man who has become an unofficial mental health advocate: Charlamagne Tha God.

New York Times bestselling author Charlamagne Tha God is best known for being co-host of the nationally syndicated hip-hop iHeartRadio program “The Breakfast Club.” He is also a social media influencer; an executive producer with his own production company, CThaGod World; and co-host of the popular podcast Brilliant Idiots.

Charlamagne says that refining his life’s mission and examining his past helped him take control of his anxiety.

Don’t allow anxiety or depression to cause you to keep suffering. Learn about Charlamagne Tha God’s mental health struggles and what he did to restart his life on Episode 721.

Related: The Business Of Anxiety In Business: Giving Heroes Permission To Feel Vulnerable

This article was originally posted here on

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