Kene Iloenyosi teaches his clients how to discover their Purpose and work in their Career Sweet Spot. His books “Finding Your Sweet Spot” and “DNA of Talent” have helped put thousands of people on the path to discovering and working in their talent zone. Kene also works with leaders and teams to uncover the collective talents (of team members) and how best to engage and maximize these talents at work. Learn more at

The views, information, or opinions expressed during this show are solely those of the participants involved and do not necessarily represent those of SouthState Bank and its employees.

SouthState Bank, N.A. – Member FDIC


Caleb Stevens: Well, hey everybody, and welcome back to the Community Bank podcast. I’m Caleb Stevens. Thanks for joining the conversation today. Today we’re talking all about developing your talents. We’re going to be speaking with Kene Eloan Yosi. He is an executive coach, he has a company called Talent Revolution, and he is an expert on how do you take your talents, the things that you’re naturally gifted at. How do you take those and develop those so you reach your full potential? We talk on the show about how it’s really easy if you’re good at something to kind of get lazy, it just comes naturally, you can just sort of show up and wing it. And Kene believes that everyone is talented at something, and the key is discovering what that is and developing it to its fullest potential. Great conversation for younger leaders, and also a good conversation for folks who maybe have gotten a little stale and need to reinvest some time and some energy into building new skills, learning new things, and ultimately developing their talents into strengths.

So, I hope you enjoy this discussion. Before we get there, we mentioned over the past couple weeks that if you are curious, where is my cost of funding headed over the next 10 years? We have a report that we can run that shows your bank’s historical cost of funding relative to short-term rates, and it also shows where your cost of funding is projected to head over the next 10 years. Get the clarity you need to make better decisions, and take control of your balance sheet. All you have to do is click the link in these show notes and fill out the form on the page, and we will run a free report that helps you get a better look into your cost of funding projections, and help you make better decisions for your bank and your balance sheet. So, click the link in the show notes, fill out the form, and we will run a free report for you, and we will be in touch shortly. And with that, here’s my discussion with Kene Eloan Yoshi. All right, well, Kene, it’s great to be talking with you again, thanks for hopping on the podcast. For listeners who are not familiar with you, give us a quick flyover of your career and everything you do with talent Revolution.

Kene Eloan Yosi: Well, first of all, Caleb, it is good to see you again. It’s been while, it’s been quite a while, and happy to see where you are. I mean, how things have gone with you? From the time you’ve known me, I’ve been a coach and so with Talent Revolution, I focus on helping people find their career sweet spot, and it’s all about helping people understand how they are wired and how they can use that in the work they do. And so, that’s what I spent most of my time doing.

Caleb Stevens: Well, I think you and I met back in 2000, I think it was 2014, maybe even earlier. It may have been more like 2013.

Kene Eloan Yosi: I think it was earlier.

Caleb Stevens: It may have been. But I remember one of the first things that I got from you was your book, Finding Your Sweet Spot, and that book had a big impact on me. I was in college and I was trying to think through what does my career path look like out of college. What are things that I’m talented at? What are things that I enjoy? How do you find the intersection of all those things? And that’s not always an easy thing for a college student to decipher. And even for an older person, that is not always a clear thing. Talk about that book because that was kind of the first thing that I think really put you on the map for a lot of folks. Talk about how that book came about and what the premise of the book is.

Kene Eloan Yosi: The simple premise of the book is that your sweet spot lies at the intersection of your talents, your interests, and your passion. Which I called your Tip Combination. And the book came about because I think it was at 2007, as of 2007, my wife and I were running a web and graphic design company. She’s a graphic designer, I have no design abilities in me. And so, at some point I was thinking, I can’t do this for the rest of my life. And I guess my attitude started to wear the employees and the team and she was like, listen, dude, get your life together, figure out what it is you want to do. And so, we’re fortunate where I could take the time and really do some introspection about what it is I really enjoyed until between 2007 and 2010, I was still working in a company, but I was also spending time just searching and exploring within. And what became a book was what I went through as a process and sort of condense that because I realized that hey, there are so many people who are in this situation. And so, if I could give them something to grab a hold of and make the process shorter for them, that would be helpful. And so, that’s how the book came about it. It was me searching trying to find my path in life as well.

Caleb Stevens: Well, they often say the book you write is often the book that you need to read yourself. So, it’s oftentimes it’s you trying to figure something out on your end, right?

Kene Eloan Yosi: Yep. It’s a book I wish I had read, even though I’d read it in parts from other people. But I put it in my own words and just describe my process and hopefully put it in a tighter nugget for others to read.

Caleb Stevens: Well, I hear the advice all the time, particularly I hear this given to young people in college, follow your passion, follow your heart. I think that’s… if there’s one piece of advice that seems to be given out the most unsolicited advice, it’s probably that, what’s your take on follow your passion? You probably hear that yourself. What do you say to somebody who says, follow your passion?

Kene Eloan Yosi: Well, first of all, people should not be giving unsolicited advice. Let’s just start there. When they say follow your passion, people are well-meaning, but the truth is, not every passion can be put into meaningful work. And so, we need to really focus on, okay, what are you good at? When you understand how you are wired, when you understand what your talents are, then in using it in something that you really enjoy, passion will come. I tell people, don’t focus on passion yet, focus on the things that you can wrap your hands around. And that’s more your talent and your natural abilities. Passion will come, trust me. I tell people, don’t worry about passion, it’s like the guy or the person who’s passionate about football and they paint themselves all sorts of crazy colors. And I’m like, okay, can you make a job out of that? They can’t play football. So, I’m sorry, not every… that’s something I don’t tell people. Don’t be cautious about the passion, that whole fool of passion talk.

Caleb Stevens: When I was in college, I had very little interest in banking at all. And part of it is I didn’t understand banking and I wasn’t good at it because I’d never done it before. So, if you had told me in college, hey, you’re going to be selling investments to other banks and you’re going to be helping them hedge their loans, I would’ve said, are you crazy? I’m never going to do that. That sounds so boring, I’m not passionate about that. But now that I’ve spent some time doing it and I understand it and I enjoy it when I’m out to dinner with friends, I almost want to say, so let me tell you about how loan hedging works. It’s actually really interesting, and once you understand it’s like a light bulb comes on and I think loan hedging is actually pretty cool. And so, it’s almost like the passion followed the proficiency. The proficiency didn’t, you know what I mean?

Kene Eloan Yosi: And I can bet that you enjoy this because they’re abilities and gifts that you use at work. And so, it’s a whole package one, I mean, there are some things you said earlier, you enjoy the people that you work with. So, it’s an environment in which you enjoy. And I can tell that you are using your gift and abilities at work. And so, when those two things are in place, passion can come. It’s just a natural given, but if you don’t enjoy the people you work with, or if you don’t enjoy the work that you do, I’m sorry, there’s no way you’re going to be passionate about that.

Caleb Stevens: Well, I think that’s helpful advice, and I think that’s something more, more younger folks in their careers need to be hearing because it’s easy to think, I need to sit around on my couch all day till my passion just sort of magically appears, or I magically figure out what it is versus maybe take some action and you may discover it by actually doing some things.

Kene Eloan Yosi: It is in the doing. Sorry, you don’t, you know, passion doesn’t hit you like a bolt of lightning when you are sitting down and eating naturals. Sorry. Well, unless something in the natural’s triggers something in your brain that says, oh, I can make this, but that does not really happen. You got to… you need to be doing something.

Caleb Stevens: And so, I think that’s a good segue into another topic is when you’re early on in your career, the chances that you are doing exactly what you want to be doing is probably pretty low because you’re, it’s your first job, it’s an entry-level job, and it’s likely going to entail things that maybe you don’t enjoy. But it’s a stepping stone to where you need to get to be. Any advice for folks who are young in their careers, who are… they have a good sense of what they enjoy, what they’re good at, but maybe they’re just in a role that because they’re brand new inside the company, they’re going to be asked to do some things that maybe they wouldn’t naturally put in their job description. And yet it’s part of their role. How do you counsel them to not get frustrated at those things, but also make sure you’re still working towards your sweet spot? Because you don’t want to be totally out of your sweet spot, but at the same time you’re going to have certain elements of your job that may not be the most fun. Any thoughts or guidance there?

Kene Eloan Yosi: Just like you said, it’s not to get frustrated and if I back up a bit, I don’t want you spending… I don’t advise people to spend, whether it’s an entry-level job or a senior executive leadership position. I don’t want you spending 90% of your time or 60% of your time in something for which you are not talented or gifted in. But when I coach people with my clients, I say shoot for about 20 to 25% of things you don’t really enjoy doing, have about 75% of things that you’re gifted in use that in your work. Now, at entry level, there’s so much that will come your way that you may not enjoy. But I still say shoot for about 50%. Here’s why in your strength zone, you grow faster, you are more productive, and you have higher capacity.

And so, you will excel when you are working in things for that come to you naturally, for things for which you have a strength. And those things from entry-level, you can now start to develop skills that complement those natural liabilities. So, as you are moving up in your career, you are doing more of the things for which you are strong for which you’re gifted, and less of the things for which you are… if you want to call them weaknesses, less of those things. But if you start in a position where you’re spending 90% of your time doing things for which you’re not things that you’re not strong in, things that really don’t align with you, I’m sorry. There’s just no way you will be happy, there’s no way you’ll be motivated.

And unfortunately, that’s what happens with most people entering the workforce. They just need a job and they get into that position and start to develop skills. And as you start to develop those skills, you start to, oh, you know, people around you see you doing well in those skills, and then they’re like, yeah, you’re doing good. And they give you, they start to promote you along those skills. You’re making more money, and you have more responsibilities, but you’re not enjoying what you do. And I’ll add on to this, this might be a little longer answer because it’s sort of like a pet peeve for me, and at some point, the person says, I am tired of this job, and they want to leave and they send out their resume, but in the resume, they have a litany of all those skills they’ve learned in this job and position that they want to leave. So, what type of job comes their way from recruiters, the same type of job they want to leave, they’re just paying them more money. And so, you end up being cursed by your resume. So, always focus on your strengths, and start looking for jobs and positions that align with how you are naturally wired. That’s huge.

Caleb Stevens: So, what is your philosophy then on weaknesses? Because certainly, you want to get your weaknesses above a lethal level. For instance, for me, attention to detail has never come naturally to me. It’s something I’ve really had to work at to make sure that I don’t miss things. Because in certain cases, missing a detail could be a big deal. And so, it’s something I’ve always had to put a little bit of extra effort and intentionality into. It doesn’t come naturally. But at the same time, if all I’m never going to be an accountant, or I’m never probably going to be the CFO type of person because it’s not my gifting. I’m much more of a big-picture communicator, that kind of thing. So, where’s sort of… how do you recommend folks spend their time to get their weaknesses to a level that at least is operable but knowing that you need to be putting most of your time where you’re gifted?

Kene Eloan Yosi: Well, the key thing I always say is, and you use the perfect example. You are in a position where attention to detail matters, but you’re not spending all your time working on things that require attention to detail. That is the perfect example. Don’t stay in a position that requires you to work, spend most of your time in your weak area because you’re just going to fail. I’m sorry, that’s just the truth, you will fail. But if kind of like what you’re doing with some of the things you do attention to detail is important. And so, you build it to a point where you can use, or even if it’s 30% of your time, okay, I’m going to spend some time paying attention, but it’s not going to burn me out. I’m a business owner. I don’t like spending my time with numbers.

That’s why I have a CPA. But I still have to look over my books. I still have to reconcile our books, and there are things I still have to do, but I’m not spending all my time doing that. We are all weak in certain areas. So, one makes sure you are working in your strengths and then those weak areas that have the potential to impact your job, build them up to a level where it’s no longer impacting your job, and stop there. It’s that’s my personal opinion. I don’t believe in weakness, remediation where you spend all your time working on your weaknesses and not spending all your time building your strengths that will grow much faster and give you more return on the investment of time you make.

Caleb Stevens: So, let’s dive in a little deeper into developing your talents and your strengths, because I think in some ways, we can be lazy about this as leaders because it comes naturally to us. My boss and I joke because we run this podcast together and communication comes pretty naturally to both of us. And it’s very easy to show up and just kind of wing this show and just sort of fly by the seat of our pants, and in most cases, it’ll come out okay, it won’t be a bad show. You know, we won’t be tripping over our words most of the time, and yet it won’t be a great show. If we don’t intentionally cultivate our talent if we don’t prepare well. So, talk about, I guess, your philosophy on developing your talents, because for most folks if you’re naturally good at it, you could probably just be a little lazy and wing it, but you may not be reaching your full potential.

Kene Eloan Yosi: And what I tell people is, do you want to push for being a 10 or do you want to be fine operating as a 7? Because in your strength zone, kind of like you said, it’s easy for you to get to a seven. You are naturally operating at like a six, you are not below average, you’re not average, you’re slightly above average. And so, building on your strengths by adding complimentary skills is what starts to push you up, and I always tell people for those strengths, for those things that come naturally to you, break them down into their component parts. Case in point, communication, I am a natural communicator, I enjoy speaking, I enjoy being in front of an audience, I enjoy coaching, but there are certain skills like storytelling that don’t come naturally that, okay, I know that I can learn this, master it and it makes me a better communicator.

There are things like comedy, and community timing. I mean, I’m not saying I’m going to be a comedian full-time, but adding levity to my communication skills again enhances that strength. So, you break those strengths down into its components and now focus on developing yourself in those areas. Because the truth is when something is a strength for you or for me, we see the strength as a whole. We don’t… it’s not natural for us to break it down into its component parts and say, in these little parts, let me work on this. Let me work on that. That’s the extra, and that’s where, I mean, we will never get to a 10, but we push to get to a 10. Excellence and perfection are found in the pursuit of excellence, it’s a pursuit of perfection. We will never be perfect, but excellence is found in the pursuit of it.

Caleb Stevens: And your kind of doing yourself a disservice, I would think if you’re letting great talent sort of lie dormant or at least not elevating it to its full potential. I mean, these are gifts that you’ve been given that not everybody has. And so, it’s a disservice to other people that you could be serving if you’re not fully cultivating and maximizing those talents.

Kene Eloan Yosi: So, true. And it’s because for most people, again, because these things come naturally to them, they don’t see it as a talent. A coach like me points out that your ability to notice how people feel just by talking to them is a talent that you can use at work. They’re like everybody does that. No, because it comes naturally to you, you often think it comes naturally to everybody. And so, it’s that process of identifying those things that you are good at. And often that happens by, with someone pointing it out to you or people who take that time for self-reflection, and without, through that process, there are identifying those things that come naturally to them.

Caleb Stevens: So, help me understand because I totally agree. There are things that come naturally that we may not even think of them as talents or strengths or gifts or anything of the sort. How do we go about that process of self-awareness? I mean, I’d certainly, coaching is one avenue all kinds of different assessments and tests we go through. Being in community with other people that can point out areas of gifting and strength. How do you sort of advice leaders to better understand how they’re wired, how they’re gifted? Because there may be a few things that are obvious, but to your point, there probably are some things that aren’t so obvious.

Kene Eloan Yosi: True. Assessments and coaching are critical. But what I always say, which is a process I use, thinking back to when you were, and this was in the first book, Finding Your Sweet Spot, thinking back to when you were between age one and 10, we are born wired a certain way. Strengths, talents, and abilities are a neural pre-wiring that was formed while we were wearing the womb. So, we come out a certain way, and between one and 10, we interact with our community, and with our world based on how we are wired. And so, I always tell people to think back to how they were when they were a kid, how they played, how they interacted with people, how they interacted with their environment. People are often able to tie certain things they do now to things they did when they were kids. For me, that’s the confirmation that some of these things that you may not know, some of these things are strengths and these are talents that you were born with.

Caleb Stevens: And in your mind, I mean, what’s at stake if we don’t take the time to self-reflect? We just let our calendars and our to-do lists get the best of us, and we’re always do. But we never really take the time to be self-aware, to reflect or maybe we understand ourselves, but we don’t understand our team and the folks that we are entrusted to lead. How do you see that derail companies and derail leaders?

Kene Eloan Yosi: That’s a big one because not stopping to think one really helps you, it stops you from figuring out one of your weak spots or even catching up with yourself. There’s the element of not taking a mental timeout, and then you cannot do or give what you don’t have. So, if you are not stopping to reflect, if you’re not stopping to really understand how you are wired, there is no way you can coach or help others achieve that. You cannot even advise people to do the same because it’s alien to you. And so, you are focused on results, results matter results are important, but as leaders, we cannot forget that results come through people, we have not achieved full automation yet where we now have bots and robots and humanoids or whatever they call them as employees, we work with people. And so, if we lose that, we lose so much because we focus on using people as a means to an end. And that is dangerous.

Caleb Stevens: Well, Kene I’d love to hear about your most recent book, Put Your Purpose to Work. Is this your third book that you’ve recorded has that you’ve written?

Kene Eloan Yosi: It’s my third book, and the simple premise is, I mean, based on what we just talked about, it’s helping people put their purpose to work. You know, my first book was focused on talent and the importance of talent, and then the second book was expanding on that DNA process. But I realized that there’s something more, again, as a reader, as a writer, and as a coach, I’m constantly reading and learning. The bigger picture is a purpose, we are wired for a reason. And so, I started saying a few years back, you are how you are for why you are everybody. You’ve heard people are keep talking about what’s your why, what’s your why, what’s your why? That is really the question they’re asking is what is your purpose? And trying to understand your purpose is nebulous, it’s vague.

But if you start fortunately like I did with understanding my talent and my abilities, connecting that to a bigger purpose, a bigger picture makes more sense. It’s easier because you know that, okay, your purpose will make use of your talents, your talents are not in a vacuum. It’s not… God didn’t just say, okay, let me put, throw some random gifts and put them in Caleb and let’s figure out what he’s going to do with it. No, the why for Caleb came first, and after the why was established, the requisite gifts were put into Caleb, and then Caleb was sent into the world.

Caleb Stevens: Well, you make the case. I saw that one of your biggest lessons that you counsel people on are never tell your friends that you owned a moving company. And that was fascinating to me. Tell me about… I can use all the life lessons I can get. Tell me about why that’s one I need to put in my back pocket?

Kene Eloan Yosi: No. So, that was just a moment of levity in on my website in comedy. I mean, I was using a comedic principle. There’s something called the principle of three. So, the first thing you say is something that makes sense. The second thing makes sense, and the third thing is wacky, it’s a diversion that makes people stop and think, what the heck is that? And that’s just a humor. So, the first thing I said on my website is one you do your best work in your area of talent or strength. Two people want to do their best work, but they don’t know how. And three, don’t tell people you ever owned a moving company. Again, it’s a diversion from an earlier statement I made about having owned a moving company in the past and when people, I mean, this was when I was much younger. I’m in my fifties now, but when people would find out that, oh, you own a moving company, or you used to own a moving company, when they’re moving, guess who they’re calling to come to help them move? I’m like, no, no, just go pay for a mover to come help you.

Caleb Stevens: That’s good advice. I can imagine if I was in those shoes, I would be getting a lot of phone calls from friends as well. So, good safety tip for people out there. Well, Kene folks want to engage with you further if they’re listening to this and they’re thinking, wow, you know, I’ve got folks on my team that need to hear this, or I’ve got folks on my team that don’t know where their sweet spot is, or maybe I as a leader need some one-on-one resources and coaching to sift through my own giftings and that kind of thing. How can folks reach out to you and buy your books and just engage with all the things that you do to help coach leaders?

Kene Eloan Yosi: Yeah, thanks. The fastest way to engage with me is via my website, my books on amazon,, I mean, if you type in the search of the first one, Finding Your Sweet Spot was the first book. Second one, DNA of Talent and the latest book is Put Your Purpose to Work. You can get them on Amazon and via the website, you can look at my coaching program, which is really about to change. Reach out via my website and you can schedule a free 30 minutes complimentary call just to know if working with me is the right thing. Because the truth is, I’m not the right fit for everybody. And so, it’s always important for me to make sure that the people that want to work with me, you know, there’s a fit. If there’s no fit, I’m not in this for the money. But better to find that out before they shout out funds. Then after we get into the relationship.

Caleb Stevens: Yeah, no doubt. Well, we will provide a link in the show notes to your website, and we hope our listeners will go check that out. Kene, thank you so much for your time. Always a pleasure to talk with you and very inspiring and happy, pleasure. I hope more folks will check out all that you offer. So, thanks again.

Kene Eloan Yosi: Hey, thank you so much. It’s a pleasure. One seeing you again, and it’s exciting to hear all that you’re doing and I’ve enjoyed this talk. I mean, this was worth me taking time on vacation to doing so. I appreciate you inviting me.


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