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Update on My 16 Year Old Son’s Talent Journey

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Watch my son’s latest video produced to bring specific value through the use of his aerial videography talent. Also, below is an update on my oldest son’s 10,000 hour journey to amazing talent:

This past week, my son Jonathan Jr. was able to take his talent development into a slightly new direction. This is consistent with our family strategy of remaining flexible to opportunities while building on the skills already acquired. This talent journey started a few years ago when our son was enlisted to help us in our family business by taking product photos for our website. He also interested himself in some of the business mechanics of the home business. We encouraged it wherever he was capable of contributing or understanding.

From simple photo taking projects, he grew into learning how to do small videos of my wife doing her product explanations and editing them for brevity. This again was part of a strategy of understanding that our own family environment had advantages he could learn to use for his own benefit. Keep in mind that my son’s original personal interests only played one part in this successful talent building strategy. The other parts are found in the family’s environment and are identified and released by his parents.

The next phase of his talent discovery and development process came when he met a family friend of mine who let him fly his new quadcopter drone with a small camera mounted under its belly. That’s when he realized that he could marry his burgeoning videography with the new affordable flying drones. The feedback he was getting was that there was room for him to bring value to a market that was not yet crowded. When he compared that opportunity to that of becoming a wedding photographer (a typical destination for those with digital cameras and aspirations of going professional), he realized that the wedding market was already very well served. There were would be little room for him in that venue long-term and he would have to beg and scrape for a living. But with the appearance of drones, he realized that this was an opportunity that he should not pass up. It was the classic case of “luck” coming to those who are prepared.

As he started approaching real estate agents to do some basic aerial shots of houses they had for sell or rent, he realized that he enjoyed to talking to grown adult men in the context of business. This in turn caused me to suggest he tap into the expertise of another family friend who was quite the successful salesperson in the insurance industry. That he did. With a few hours of advice and consulting (such as “don’t charge by the hour, but by the project”), Jonathan picked up some better techniques for pitching his service to interested parties. Soon he was engaged in weekly paying “gigs” that involved filming not only housing property, but also undeveloped commercial property. Each time he finished his project and handed off the finished video to the customer, he would also add it to his website. This built up his website as a living portfolio of his work. That public documentation in turn opened up more deals for him. From real estate aerial filming, it now seems to be jumping into some new opportunities involving documenting engineering projects from the air. This, at least, so far seems to leading him into a possible niche. We don’t know for sure, but opportunities and the dollar value that his customers are willing to pay him will be signposts to which way he should grow his talent.

What did we do right and should you do? As his parents, we did not panic ourselves into forcing a career name onto a growing and emerging talent. This allowed us to actively encourage him to pursue opportunities that we previously had never heard about. Because of this parental flexibility, our son is able to explore a growing field involving the application of new technology. And yet, I still don’t think that my son is yet ready to define himself with a career name, because his opportunities are still growing. For now, I’m okay if he says “aerial videographer”, but I doubt that is his end destination. This should be the same with your young person: have a focus, but expect that this focus is simply a building block to hoist him up to get to new and more exciting opportunities, as of yet unknown.

What are some of the discussions I’m having with him now? We have recently been talking about how he probably needs to get himself declared into a C-corporation, so he can position himself with tax advantages and flexibility in future partnering deals. He’s not making enough money yet that it matters, but we want to position him in the best spot possible for future growth. I picked up the phone and talked to an entrepreneur friend who is recommending we look at incorporating in the state of Wyoming because (among other reasons) it is only $50 filing per year vs. the $800 filing fee per year in California. Maybe Wyoming incorporation is an affordable option for him.

We are also talking about how much pleasure and success he is getting at pitching his service to others. This means he might want to think about how he can concentrate on getting new business. To do so he would have to job out the editing of the raw footage he is now doing by himself through the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription service.  This in turn would mean he would have to start documenting the “recipe” he would want a contractor to follow so that it meets his customers’ needs. These are all conversations now, but our conversations will often lead to meaningful action in the months to come. I take all these conversations as serious, or more seriously, than his ability to memorize the history dates of a Western Civilization course. (By the way, we love and highly recommend the Western Civilization course by Tom Woods of the RonPaulCurriculum.com). We know that no one will hire Jonathan to give his opinions on history any time soon, but we are fairly certain that he will be amply rewarded as a young man if he delivers faithfully on his service to others through his talent.

Would you like to read the guide on how to create opportunities like that for your own student? Check out my e-course “How to Discover and Develop Your Child’s First 100 Hours of Talent.”

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Activities Out of Your Comfort Zone

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Today, I read this devastating insight made by another man inside a closed discussion forum that I belong to.

This is what he basically said:

“because many mothers control the homeschool content, even in the latter years of the boys under their roof, they tend to choose activities that train their sons to become good household managers, involving lots of nurturing and lots of household chores. The moms see it as their goal to finally train up a young man to be the kind of household helpers that they wish their husbands were. Those moms seem to not at all be worried and oblivious to the fact that their sons are not being groomed to actually lead and provide financially for a family”

Do no let gender confusion creep into your decision making process for your son. Yes, it is nice that he is making his bed, but is that going to be an appropriate substitute for his future wife when he doesn’t have the unmitigated drive to get on the phone and sell his services for cash? The age of twelve is a good age to start getting him on the path to putting himself out there to get outside jobs done. Those jobs might be brain-based jobs and not necessarily manual labor jobs. Start in small ways and build up. Get your husband involved for brainstorming real young man activities so that you can groom him to be able to look other adult men in the eyes. Those activities will be out of your comfort zone. That is good. Your son is not growing up to be a mother.

Guarantee Your Son’s Motivation

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How would you like to guarantee your son’ motivation to learn by using your family’s strengths? Yes, you can do that.

I do not want you to hope your son develops real motivation. I want you to guarantee it.

First, you need to figure out what your family’s strength is. What is your family’s identity and your family’s drive? If you don’t know what I mean, think of what others would probably describe your family as being in this world and think of how others would describe what your family is best known for. That is your family strength. You might have that ONE THING that sets you apart or it might be several things merging together. It might be beautifully simple or it might be beautifully complex. Either way, you can harness your family’s energy to give your son that lift to the next level.

No two families will have quite the same identity, so you must engage your mind around understanding what it is that makes your family stand-out. Are you that family that lives and eats in the mechanical world on weekends and in the evenings, fixing cars and sharing tailgate food with other families at car rallies? Or are you that family that swims in the world of hospitality for your church and in having visiting guests from foreign countries share your daily meals? Those are both identities and strengths that can be harnessed to boost your son’s motivation to work and learn hard.

By the way, that kind of motivation fire will not be found in the back of your son’s textbook or in the eyes of his super-smart tutor. But it can be found within your family, if you know how to identify that energy and then know how to harness it to your son’s benefit. To be clear: your family’s current identity is not your son’s future identity – but, and this is an amazing insight, it is your family’s current energy flowing out of that identity that can be used to super-charge your son’s own motivation to excel.

I can tell you how to do it through my coaching e-course “How to Discover and Develop Your Child’s First 100 Hours of Talent.”  Don’t hope for motivation – guarantee it.

How to Handle Social Media

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Moms driving into a large city is the same kind of danger and opportunity that faces young people when they bring themselves into the wide world of social media.

Mothers can drive themselves into the city to go meet up with friends at restaurants, shop for bargains for the family, and take their children to activities without being mugged, run-over, or assaulted. How is that possible? That is because they are going into the city with a purpose, meeting up with safe friends, and avoiding unsavory dangerous parts of town. Rarely does a mother feel the temptation to get out and go for a walk in a gang-infested part of a town and try to strike up a conversation with someone who has underwear hanging out over their pants. (if you are a mother and you do you feel that temptation, chances are you are not reading this blog anyway).

It is the same with young people on social media. If they engage in communities on the Internet around a particular purpose, there is little danger. The more they engage with the right people and communities early on, with some helpful pointers from parents on how to avoid the danger spots of the Internet, the more they will instinctively recognize good, healthy, and productive environments. They will correctly “socialize” themselves into the right environment. This is the same kind of guidance as you give when you are teaching them to drive on their own.

This is how you should approach the Internet when giving guidance to young people. Older teenagers need to start shopping, taking care of errands, and communicating with people in their talent world on the Internet, just as they would in real life. Just as in real life, you can set Internet curfews, off limits parts of the Internet world, and give instructions about not having certain friends not being allowed to just hang out with you. If you start the guidance when they are still young, they will be ready to handle the Internet all on their own when they are eighteen.

Gradually, Not Immediately

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Building talent in children requires a belief in the parents that it is the sweat, and the focus, and the attention to the skills involved in a talent that will gradually, not immediately, ignite the fire within each person.

Imagine if you approached teaching the skill of reading or the ability to do math in the same manner as the typical person manages the talent discovery process in their young student. “Here son, here’s a college textbook on calculus. Browse through it over the weekend. If it clicks with you and you can solve a few of the problems on your own, then it’s a good sign that we have found your true talent. We can sign you up for the introductory algebra class at that point. If not, that’s okay; we can skip algebra and not waste any more time on math. We’ll keep looking for a talent for you.”

If talent discovery is managed in that same manner, then the child is doomed from the outset at having no real talent in their life, just hobbies that look like talent. And if you ask your child to wander from extra-curricular activity to extra-curricular activity in the hopes of finding their calling in life, then they will be body-snatched into long-term worthless group sports that will do nothing to change their lives.

Instead, become engaged as a parent in the talent discovery process. Find first one thing, then find several things that can be weaved together from their already rich environment into something unique for their future. A personal interest is just one thing and not enough to build a meaningful talent. They need several things and they need your broad vision to put those several things together. They absolutely cannot see all their options at their own young age of twelve, but you can. They need your experienced imagination and they need your boundary setting authority to say ‘yes’ to real opportunities and to say ‘no’ to irrelevant activities.

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What Started Me on Talent for My Children

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This is what I noticed in the lives of many young people post high-school that first got me launched into organizing our homeschool for maximum talent productivity in each of our children:

  • ill-equipped to take on the marketplace
  • career frustration
  • years of delayed marriage
  • the joy of working snuffed out

But do not worry: you can reverse engineer those problems back to a solution. You do not have to be a deer in the headlight paralyzed for the lack of a plan. And the answer is creating a custom talent that starts in the very early teens. Are you doing that now for your son or daughter?

If the above list of frustrations is not what you have experienced in your own young adult life, then you do not need my help. You are probably going to give the right guidance to your own children. However, if you experienced those problems or you or your spouse are still experiencing those career problems, then please STOP your children going down the same educational path you took for career fulfillment.

If you are following the crowds, then there is high likelihood that you are inadvertently regressing your son or daughter through your curriculum to a composite average of academic skills. If your child is already 18, then yes, there is probably nothing you can do now for him except to beg him to not have as short of a vision and planning mentality as you have had in your youth.

If your young student is still in his or her early teens, then it is not too late. I will help you. I will help you to mine out the gold that is in your unique environment and family situation. That gold can be hammered into a long-term mind-boggling talent.

Read the rest of the article I wrote on this subject for Amy Roberts on her site at RaisingArrows.net

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When the Best is the Worst

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focus

There are times when you should avoid the best-of-the-best available to your homeschooled child. That’s because if you go for the best-of-the best course on a particular subject matter, you risk getting swallowed into a time sink that will pull your young person away from time available for talent growth.

Let me explain this in more detail. I’m not speaking of the efficiency and clarity aspect of a short course, but about the great depth of accurate and detailed information that the best courses will typically offer.

This is what happens: You get yourself engrossed in a curriculum catalog with a “new and improved” grammar course that now comes with video support, private tutoring, and an online adaptive testing tool.  Instead of ten to 20 hours of grammar study, you can now get 100 hours of grammar support for an even lesser price than when your firstborn child had to go through filling up the “grammar buckets” of knowledge. Should you or shouldn’t you sign up your son for that course, you ask yourself? Well, sign-up of course, you say. (I have been guilty of that same mistake myself in the past!) Because you have no way to determine what will matter most for your son’s future, your default strategy is try and cover all the knowledge bases possible with the best of everything in every category. So you choose that course because you know you can fill up a pretty tall “bucket” of real grammar knowledge. Have you noticed here how it is the curriculum that is driving you rather than your goals driving the curriculum to make it fit your purposes?

Being the dutiful son that you have raised him to be, he then gets sucked into a time vortex of of becoming really, really good at something that will have close to zero relevance to his future. Worse, he might even get “socialized” into believing that a grammar focus is the answer to his future plans when he is getting such good testing feedback, when in fact his real long-talent lies elsewhere. From a talent perspective, you are making him give up 100 hours of talent time. If you repeat this same behavior, for example, with signing him up for one of the best music teachers in your area to fulfill your “fine arts bucket”, your son will be practicing his instrument for several hours a week with great concentration. If you do that, simply because the best musical teacher is available to you, then you will have taken time away from his talent growth. In that music example, you also risk socializing him with musicians when in fact he really should be bonding and making friends with the group of people more connected to his talent.

In both the examples, going for the best in both the grammar and music would make sense IF in fact they were helping some aspect of your child’s long term talent to move forward. Intending to becoming a professional author? Intending to becoming a professional musician? Okay, then yes, take the best of the grammar courses and the best of the musical mentorship. Otherwise the best-of-the-best can be dangerous distractions by stealing your young person’s mind and emotions away from building a real long term talent. Every once in a while, yes, go for the best in an in-depth course available simply for the enjoyment, with no plans on ever using it again. But don’t abuse that consumption – drink with moderation. Do it, understanding that it is not there to be productive for your child’s future.

So what is the better strategy? The better strategy is to recognize that certain courses do little to push your son or daughter’s talent forward, beyond acquiring certain minimum thresholds of knowledge. Study only chapters 2, 3, 8, and 12 of that best course…and then stop. Determine what those thresholds are as related to his or her talent, and then only acquire knowledge up to that point. Let any further granular knowledge be left to what he picks up in the course of normal human interaction. Determine how much formal grammar is necessary and let the rest be acquired naturally as he writes to communicate in his field of talent. Peers, Google searches, (and maybe a wife with an English degree!) will give him naturally the rest of what HE needs for success in his field. Don’t major in the minors. Hold your focus.

 

What the Angels Eat

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dad watermelon

 

Ever wonder what I look like when you decide to give me a call for coaching you through the talent discovery process? Well, here I am. The beard may or may not stay, depending on how I feel about it in the fall. However let me explain the watermelon prop…

When we moved back to California (about a decade ago now), my wife and I were so excited to be back where there was so much produce and fruit in season. One of the first things we did was to find Al, a local produce guy, who grows exotic and not-so-exotic greens and delivers them to your door on a weekly basis. We could not find enough delicacies like his in the local supermarkets so we signed up, pronto!

Come rain or shine, this guy shows up every week! As a side-benefit, our relationship with Al grew into a friendship where we enjoy his weekly drop-offs as an excuse to talk about latest obsession with this or that new mobile device, how to cook the latest vegetable in season, which local winery is closing or changing, and some occasional philosophizing about children and life. This week was no exception. But this time he also brought me one of his few watermelons, because the watermelon crop was very small due to nights under 100 degrees Fahrenheit this year. So here I am in this pic getting to take possession one of his very few melons as a reward for being one of the original customers…or as I like to think, one of the “preferred” customers  Of course, I had to joke about treating and holding this big fruit like one of my babies. That’s when he took a snap-shot of me. (Thanks, Al! If you are reading this post…do know that we have enjoyed your friendship over the years and we keep looking forward to your bounty.)

So that is me. And when I answer that phone I am not going to have any problem understanding your homeschooling situation. I love to roll my sleeves up and help you uncover something unique about your family’s environment that is going to translate into talent for your son or daughter. I get even more excited about talent in children than about Al’s watermelon, so you know these will be good sessions.

Create the Young Entrepreneur Mindset

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sharp entrepreneur

Afraid that the clock is ticking too fast and that your soon-to-graduate high-schooler might have to retrace a similar path to yours in his young adulthood? You know, those early years of being the kind of person who had to wait for an employer to tell you where and how to work and at what time to wake up?

Do you instead want to find a way to start encouraging the behavior and mindset of a young entrepreneur inside your teenager’s mind?

Enter Ryan Finlay of reCraigsList.com . He has a program for teaching young wannabe entrepreneurs on how to make money buying and selling appliances on CraigsList. Those principles can apply to selling other types of items your son or daughter has a special interest in. To boot, there are no age or employment restrictions just because he is a minor! That’s because your child would NOT be working as an employee for someone else, but for himself when he is buying and selling on CraigsList.

Ryan had a special on his ApplianceSchool.com that ended on Wednesday September 3rd. Subscribe to his newsletter so you don’t miss out on opportunities like this.

His blog post said:

“…It only takes selling a few machines per week to make $800-$1000 extra per month. Average profit is $100-$140 for basic washers and dryers. To do this, a person would need to pick up a washer/dryer set once per week. Then in their spare time, test, repair and post the machines back up for sale. Deliveries can be scheduled when convenient, or all they can be done on the weekend. The broken machines are hauled back, repaired and then resold, which makes for a very efficient use of time.

There are many readers that buy and sell bicycles part time. They pick up bikes that need a little work for a good price. Bring them back to their apartment or home and fix them up, test them and then post them back up at market rate. Profit for each bike can range from $50 to several hundred dollars…Why you should focus on one type of item…”

How Publishing a NON-FICTION Book Gets Done by Tom Woods

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Sneak peek by “celebrity” Tom Woods on how publishing a NON-FICTION book gets done today. Economics and political analysis and teaching is part of that person’s talent and he has something to write about that others want to read. If you have a young person that hopes to one day write about his talent for book publishing, in order to support himself financially, listen to this very clear podcast.

Tom Woods reveals that the numbers are NEVER in the millions of copies, even when you make it to the best seller’s list. Set your money expectations accordingly. He explains the role of books opening doors for you in your overall strategy of providing your talent value to the world. It is part of a broad approach to your talent market, not a single strategy for supporting yourself (he even talks about a blog as part of his strategy!) He has had eleven books published so far. He knows what he is talking about as a successful author.

He covers these topics in this episode: 

How do I submit a manuscript to a big publisher?

Do I need an agent?
How do I find one?
What are the benefits of traditional publishing?
What are the benefits of self-publishing?
How much does an author earn from the sale of a book?
How many books do nonfiction authors typically sell?
What’s the indispensable ingredient for getting media exposure for my book?

 

Math by “Militant Glasses” Rob Tarrou

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Looking for more math support for your young student? Check out Rob Tarrou’s YouTube channel.

You gotta love this fellow’s “militant glasses”, clear diction, and gorgeous script. His full list of 500 free lessons is at ProfRobBob.com

He says, “I started making math videos September of 2011 after a student told me they were using the internet for math help.  While working full time I have managed to make almost 500 video lessons in  3 years.  I have playlists for Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2, Trigonometry, PreCalculus, Calculus, and AP Statistics. “

I recommend that if your young person has a talent that has a serious math component as one of its core skills, it would be worth your time to cross-reference your current curriculum lessons with this strong voice. Rob Tarrou’s very large chalkboard and imposing presence is compelling to watch at high definition on a full computer monitor. If this becomes a favorite resource for one of your children, I would personally like to hear about what worked particularly well in his presentations to make it clear for your son or daughter.

Which Social Media To Use?

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bull horn social media

In the case of so many options for social media outlets, where should your young person spend his time to have the greatest impact? How do you link his talent interest to the right community?

My answer: the key to using social media effectively is to understand that social media is NOT a generic medium for broadcasting to the world, but rather each type of social media is best suited for particular types of communications and communities.

This means that if your son or daughter’s talent is primarily visual in nature, then you need a social media that is best suited for visual communication. Twitter in that case is very ill-suited to showing and sharing your knitting projects because the visual part is not its strength. Facebook is also ill-suited for knitting because it is very poor in helping you to connect with other expert knitters. But Flickr or Instagram for knitting is very good because it is very visual AND you connect to other people on the basis of shared interests, not on the basis of a shared past like Facebook.

On the other hand, if your young person is into a talent that is very time-sensitive and event oriented, such as running marathons or participating in kayak races, then Twitter is the ideal medium for communicating quickly within those expert communities with bare facts of statistics that can be read with mobile phones while on the go.

In almost all cases (I can’t think of any exception), a blog is an important component to creating a living portfolio of your child’s talent progress. Strictly speaking, a blog is not really a “social media” medium, but it feeds into that idea of communicating with your talent community. The main point of using social media and a blog is that your talent has something of value to communicate to particular communities.

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Connect with the Best in Your Generation

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drone take my pic

I encourage you to activate the social media power in your child’s life. It is not for the sake of “hanging out” willy-nilly in a very wide world wide community, but it is for the sake of learning from great people in your child’s field of talent and for the sake of being encouraged by experts.

The benefit to using social media presumes that the purpose of your student’s talent is to gradually bring value to other people in their lives. If you cannot think of why your son or daughter could benefit from connecting online to other peers or mentors in their field of interest, then there is a good possibility that your young person has too much “hobby-ness” going on in their talent. Find a way to re-calibrate the hobby so that it becomes a valuable talent.

Where can you find individuals with whom your young person would want to stay in contact with via social media? An excellent to find them in the beginning, is by joining dedicated online communities around an aspect of the talent being developed. For example, if your daughter’s intention is to become one of the best household managers possible, then she should easily be able to outpace you in performance in her adult life if she taps into the various online communities where child rearing (for example RaisingGodlyTomatoes.com) and time management (for example GettingThingsDone.com) are discussed in great detail in closed forums. Other motivated individuals will easily be found in those forums and the conversations around the shared talent can naturally continue over time through the use of social media.

If your daughter has nothing worthy enough to share and compares notes with in conversation with peers or far-flung mentors online, then she is probably not pushing herself enough to find the latest tools and methods available to her generation. Healthy cooking alone has made strides in the last few years, in great part because of people like Wardee Harmon of GNOWFGLINS.com who have made advanced healthy cooking instruction so easily available online. And yes, you can connect with her directly online. She will not move to your street, nor you will find someone as good as her abilities living in your town that knows how to cook for families…but you can now peer into her kitchen thanks to the Internet.

Social media allows young serious and talented individuals to connect directly with other talented individuals around a focused interest. Do not let that opportunity for connecting with the best people in the country on that same narrow topic pass them up.

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The Process for Discovering Talent in Your Child

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Talent Process Graph

How do you find a focus around which your young person can start building a valuable talent? It seems like such a distant thing to hope for in the midst of textbooks, dozens of equally good curriculums, and too few hours left in the day to pursue anything else. It seems like it is just meant to happen to a lucky few to fall into a talent. But I am here to show you how that “luck” can be applied to each and every child in your household.

Here’s why every one of your children can develop a real talent while still under your roof:

You can start them young because you create a talent from the current uniqueness in your child’s life. You are not waiting for some mysterious future thing out there, that has no connection to your present life. Your environment of people and places, your family’s particular quirks and strengths, your child’s personal interests can all be merged together in a unique way that has passion and focus . You then give that focus a purpose by finding a way to bring value to others through that talent. This creates a feedback loop of encouragement, motivation, and productivity. This is a systematic process for discovering a viable talent that leaves plenty of room for passion.

Wouldn’t you like a taste of that kind of purpose in teenage son’s life? or how about your daughter finding great confidence in her unique productivity that she could carry with her all the way into her married life?

That is what the 10ktotalent process for discovering and developing talent can do for the young person in your home.

I give you here the basic process for discovering that kind of talent focus:

Step 1: Identify and list these items in your young person’s life into these four categories:

Personal Interests, Family Goals, Environmental Advantages, Academic Goals

Step 2: Merge together several items, one from each of the previous categories to create a poetically compelling fusion of strengths in your child’s life. On paper, try your hand at several of these fusions to see how interesting your options can be be. What emerges as the best is usually far superior than what you thought was possible before you started this discovery process.

Step 3: Take your favorite, most compelling fusion, and turn it into a believable and d0-able action statement for your child’s first 100 hours of talent focus. That is the beginning of your child’s talent. As your young person acts on it, his beginning talent will grow in complexity and branch out into previously unthought of opportunities.

Do you want help to make sure your son or daughter is on to the best talent possible? Then you may want to get my coaching help in this e-course “How to Discover and Develop Your Child’s First 100 Hours of Talent.”

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Audio Interviews with Big Name Marketers

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michael senoff interviews

I recommend that every serious talent building endeavor have a component that is related to promotion and marketing, in order to get the word out that your young person does in fact have a valuable service to provide others. Remember that if a talent doesn’t learn to bring significant value to others then it really just is a big private hobby.

For that reason, I recommend that your older teenager loads up his MP3 player with Michael Senoff’s audio interviews with big name marketers. Your son or daughter will hear the inside story on how things really worked behind the scenes from very successful marketers drawn from different fields of service.

What I personally find really insightful is to hear these famous people explain how they used their uniqueness to create a name for themselves in their field and how it often involved partnering with a few key people in life. I don’t remember hearing about this kind of stuff in college. Michael Senoff boasts that if you get yourself on his newsletter alerts that he will plug you into “Free mp3 Downloads To 157 Hours Of Audio Interviews From The Best Experts in Marketing and Business”…and boy, does he deliver value. The audio-only format is excellent for listening while driving or anything else where you like to keep your mind stimulated. He also sells additional focused audio packages where he gets successful people in small niche markets to reveal step-by-step how they do their current marketing, so you can copy them. You can see Michael Senoff’s long list of audio interview titles here.

Of course, marketing skills only make sense in the context of being able to bring something of value to others. So if your son or daughter would like to build a long term talent to help create for himself an unusual lifestyle in his adult life, I recommend you go through my own e-course “How to Discover and Develop Your Child’s First 100 Hours of Talent.” In there I show you how to find something that makes sense for both your child and you as a parent, to be able to get underway, right away. If you already have a great talent going, then get cracking ASAP on your young person’s marketing skills so that he is not forgotten in that very wide-world.

Fandom Helps the Artist in Your Family

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Do you know that “fandom” can be used by your artistically bent daughter to start showcasing her abilities?

Google+ is one of the hottest places today to find a fandom community around which your child can find a pre-disposed and hungry group of enthusiasts who cannot get enough of new artistic material. This is a far cry from trying to get immediate friends and relatives to share your daughter’s same excitement for both her art and her subject material. By interpreting something the fans will love to talk about and admire, your young talented person will have an opportunity to get much needed feedback as to how the current market is wanting to consume art. Your teenager will start developing a good sensitivity to the needs of others. At the same time it is a great way to gradually document an online portfolio that is exciting and interesting for future employers, art schools, and future clients. Imagine if your child could gradually build her portfolio in a manner similar to Karen Kavett , who started college at 16 and finished at 20 with a track record of excellence and focus around delivering on her art?

In her FAQ section about herself, Karen says that her interests started in her young teen years and that she is now in her early twenties. She describes herself as having multiple skills that make it hard for her to have a traditional label as just a “graphic designer.” It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have a focus, it means that she is getting so good in her service area that she is transcending the standard artist descriptions. Her website and her blog IS her living resume that screams availability and competence. Your son or daughter also needs a blog so that he can blog to his talent right from the beginning.

Would you like your talented teenager to be able to jump-start to that type of focused blogging? Check out my e-course “Blog to Your Talent: Learn How to Showcase Your Talent in 42 lessons

Talent Principles for Homeschoolers

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Homeschoolers have some advantages over traditional students that can be used to make talent growth much easier. Do you know what those are?

All children can develop talent of course, whether homeschooled or not. So before I tell you what the homeschool advantages are, let me first restate the principles for reaching amazing levels of performance that will apply to all young people in their quest for focus and excellence.

      • they start young (a few started late, but then they might not have had other normal family obligations such as in the case of Julia Child, who was childless – pardon the family name pun)
      • they practice daily (no exceptions here)
      • they actively decompose their talent into smaller skills (they were smart about what their talent was, not just hard-workers)
      • they merge skills and borrowed ideas from different fields (they wanted to break new-ground, not just preserve the past)

A great read for understanding the above principles can be found in these books that analyze how amazing talent was built in the lives of the top performers in the world.

Now, I am going to tell you what homeschool parents can easily do over other parents that will make the talent acquisition process significantly easier.

Homeschool parents can:

      • Use their environment and assets (so you don’t wait for a pie-in-the-sky opportunity that may never come)
      • Enlist their family goals and desires (so you don’t have dad rolling his eyes on another Saturday talent excursion that doesn’t make sense to him)
      • Have their child act out the talent in a way that gives value to others (so you don’t paint your child into a corner of being very, very, very good at something totally irrelevant to the marketplace)
      • Make the school curriculum feed their child’s talent (so your child has enough experience to actually have a chance at achieving lift-off by the time he is eighteen)

The more you can dovetail those assets into your child’s life, the more talent progress and focus can be achieved in a shorter period of time.

 

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Personal Interests Are Not Enough for Talent Building

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not just personal interests

 

To build a talent in your child’s life, you can start in any number of ways.

The most straight-forward way is to simply focus on one of the current personal interests your young person is exhibiting and then keep building it up until he becomes very good in that area. That approach can and has worked for a number of people. However this personal-interests only approach has a high failure rate for two main reasons. One reason for a high failure rate is that a young person may already be locked into interests that, as far as you can tell has no future for them as an adult. Bull-whipping as a sport? Comic-book reader? Okay, I might be exaggerating, but many interests do seem like dead ends. They enjoy it in their youth, but when they are adults, they become just sweet memories while they wish they could have had focused some of those energies toward something that would made have a long term difference to their lives.

The other reason for a high failure rate is that taking a personal-interests only approach can become too expensive for the family budget early on. This is because your young person is usually competing with thousands of others in the same single personal-interest space. For him to make big progress you must often drive a big distance and spend lots of money to access the best teachers. For example, if you focus your child on using her piano playing interest as the single skill-set for her talent, then the only way she can climb up enough to achieve lift-off by age eighteen is to be able to outperform technically the tens of thousands of other great piano players. This means parents paying for very expensive piano lessons or it means parents driving her great distances, or it’s even both burdens. Families stumble over those serious economic and logistical obstacles. And then they give up after having already invested so much. Others continue despite the high costs, but the rest of the family structure might fall apart in order to create that one child’s future.

The personal-interests only approach is high-risk and should be avoided when a superior strategy is available.

So what’s the better talent strategy? The superior strategy I recommend is to build a talent that combines not only one core personal-interest, but finds a way to create something very unique by merging family interests and family advantages with the personal interest. This creates a very robust talent strategy that can weather the changes of the marketplace and support the emotional needs of your family. It creates a super-charged environment in which your young person is driven not only by his immediate interests, but also by the natural energy emanating from the self-interests and assets of his family. That kind of talent strategy creates a motivation in your child that becomes almost indestructible.

Would you like personal coaching as a parent on how to implement that strategy? Would you like to find a talent for your son or daughter that withstands the ups and downs of the years? Check out my e-course “How to Discover and Develop Your Child’s First 100 Hours of Talent

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Is He “Cursed” with a Talent of Video Game Playing?

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Listen to an interview of me by Dr. Melanie Wilson on the subject of how to find and discover talent in your children. (By the way, if you are big podcast listener, you may like loading up your iPhone or Android with all her other homeschool interviews on her UltimateRadioShow)

I think the most important point I wanted to get across in that interview is that talent is NOT found by uncovering some already existing, full-blown hidden gem of a talent in your son or daughter. Rather it is understanding that there are many gifts, assets, and environmental advantages your child was born into and was given and that from pool of good things in his life, you can grow one of a number of possible talents. The operative word is “grow”, not “accidentally fall into talent” or “discovered as he was working the pizza bar.” As parents, you can judiciously and intelligently decide to encourage the development of some skills and experiences over and above other ones.

You heard me right: your 13 year old son is in fact not “cursed” with a talent of video game playing, nor is your 15 year old daughter doomed to be a “talented” weekend soccer player. Yet, we can easily slip into that belief mode and resign ourselves into feeding even more those “talents” in our children’s lives that we instinctively know are worthless to making a difference in their adult lives. You feel guilty that since he is not “gifted” to be born a doctor or an entrepreneur then the logic says that is doomed to be an average worker in his adult-life. I suspect that the guilty, over-nurturing parental response is to increase the subsidy of a an otherwise ephemeral talent for a few more years of care-free joy. You tell yourself that at least he will have good memories of his early years before being hit by the dreariness of grown-up responsibilities. It becomes a classic self-fulfilling prophecy.

However if you make a clear list of all those unique things you have going for you as a family, you will surprise yourself at how many great things can be combined together to start developing a real long-term talent that can carry your young person into adulthood. It will make sense to both your teenager and to you the parents. Real talent SHOULD make sense for the long run, it should have a purpose outside of being something for personal pleasure or private challenge. Real talent starts small, has a humble beginning, but does eventually grow into something spectacular.

Need help finding that small thing to get a talent started in your young person’s life? I have your e-course here on how to do it and I can coach you through step-by-step through the process.

(Shhh! don’t tell everyone, but I give you a strategy in the e-course on how you could actually rescue and re-purpose game playing and hobby skills into something becomes a real talent)
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NEW! Coaching e-Course for Discovering Talent

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Dear friends of talent,

I’m happy to announce that you now have access to a full e-course on how to find and develop a real, long-term talent for your child. This is a new course and has never been available before.

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Not only can you get the workshop guide (which some of you already have), you can also listen to my wife and I talk you through each exercise of the workshop. You can also follow along as I guide another homeschool mom in discovering her 15 year old daughter’s talent statement for her first 100 hours of development.

Are you tired of watching young adults and young friends being tossed aimlessly on the shores of college life without a plan, or thrown into a world of low-paid entry jobs? If so, then finding a custom talent for your son or daughter that brings amazing value to others IS the answer to that problem.

Are you afraid that a real talent, not a cute hobby, would actually tear your family unity apart? I’ve got your answer.

Do you think that you don’t have enough assets or resources to come up with something that is meaningful enough for others to care about? I’ve got your answer.

Are you getting ready to default to mainstream planning because you can’t figure out what could possibly motivate your child enough to make it to a level excellence dramatic enough to change his future? Again, I’ve got your answer to that problem. too. The answer is found in the e-course “How to Discover and Develop Your Child’s First 100 Hours of Talent.”

Before deciding which course you want, would you like to first listen to one of the videos for the talent discovery e-course?  Here is the link to “Day 2: Identifying Personal Interests.” There, I talk about the role and limitations of personal interests and then I show you a video of an actual coaching session on that section of the workshop.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Harris

Talent Coach

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