Most of us think of talent as a special ability to excel at something we learned in school. We might think of talent as being great at mastering math or science or writing… or we might consider useful skills such as selling, organizing or project managing as a talent.

Of course, we think of singing, painting and artistic abilities as talents too.

There are lots of others – creativity, inventing, leading others – but I recently learned about a talent that we can develop more  that will amplify any talent we already have. Anyone can develop this talent and anyone who does will begin a journey that moves them from average to invaluable.

I learned about this talent from listening to Hall of Fame basketball star Jerry West. As general manager of the LA Lakers he advised a hardworking, but moderately skilled player, Mark Madsen, that energy and enthusiasm were talents. West told Madsen that the most valued contribution he could make to the star-laden Lakers was to play his minutes with unleashed energy and focused passion.

If he could do that without making wild errors, his contribution would be invaluable. Madsen was inspired. He developed more on-demand energy by focusing on his fitness, diet, and especially sleep. He focused his mind to notice and appreciate the small positive things his teammates did when they excelled. He was quick to affirm and encourage them with specific feedback.

Although Madsen had very unexciting basketball skills his dedication to developing his energy and enthusiasm talents made him invaluable to the world champions.

When you think about it, if a professional basketball player with average athletic ability can become invaluable to his teammates by becoming great at energy and enthusiasm, then we can certainly impact the performance of our teams and families by doing the same.

If you want more energy, focus on your fitness, diet, and sleep. If you want more enthusiasm, recognize and encourage others when they contribute, achieve a goal or show a strength. Energy + enthusiasm are universal talents that we can all develop more of. So, what if you did?

Challenge:  What would happen if you increased your energy and enthusiasm by 50%…  to you, your teammates, your family or friends?

Just Start. And let me know how your challenge is going below.