Do you know what your natural talent is?
It’s a great moment when you see someone who not only has a natural talent, but has found a way to make that an intrinsic part of their life and career. This weekend I witnessed one, and was told about another.
On Saturday I went to see a production of The Call of the Wild by Jack London – which happened to be starring my best friend’s husband. When I say starring, he was the one and only actor in it. An hour and a half long, one-man performance, where he played the narrator and every character (human and dog) in the book. This involved a myriad of accents, mannerisms and physical movement, not to mention (and I may have already said this) AN HOUR AND A HALF of dialogue. I was absolutely mesmerised by the ability to remember and perform all this with no other cast members to bounce off or prompt – just incredible. He says it was the hardest thing he had ever done. I don’t doubt it – but I do know that you have to have a huge amount of natural talent to be able to pull that off.
On the same day my best friend’s parents were telling me about their latest planned trip to Canada in September. It has been arranged through an independent travel agent – someone they had used previously for a trip to Australia and New Zealand. Booking a second trip through the same lady had happened by chance. They had bumped into her at a travel show and were amazed that, seven years and several hundred clients down the line, she recalled who they were and all the vital details about them and their travel preferences. This gave them absolute confidence in using her again for their next trip. Another great example of someone who knows their talent and has leveraged this in a successful career.
This morning I dropped into a café and treated myself to a chilli hot chocolate and a bit of thinking time. It was one of those hipster cafes full of achingly cool people ignoring each other and tapping away on their laptops. For the record I am NOT achingly cool, I just really like their hot chocolate. Its only a small café, there were two people working, so you would expect, despite a menu of about 57 artisan coffees, teas and hot chocolates, not to have to wait for long for your drink. And yet I did – a good ten minutes. Not actually a problem – I never can get too excitable about such things anyway. It did however cross my mind that perhaps the manager was not leveraging a natural talent in his role here? But then I hesitated…. because his ability to keep his customers engaged while they were waiting was almost uncanny. He was keeping up a steady stream of very natural dialogue, chatting to everyone, engaging waiting customers in discussions about the history of the town, their suppliers, future plans, and how to make icepops for dogs. Despite the wait, he saw to it that there was absolutely no sense of frustration or tension in the waiting customers and that, particularly given the British love of complaining, is a talent in itself.
All of the above, unsurprisingly, describe talents which have an external impact – they are about engaging people in some way – and they are easy to see. Others will have talents which are less obvious but equally as valuable, quietly making a difference.
I have no idea what my talent is – unless fetching stuff off the top shelves of supermarkets for little old ladies counts – though I’m not sure that growing ridiculously tall counts as a talent in itself. And so I find myself envying those who do have a good understanding of their own strengths.
Do you know what yours is and, more importantly, can you recognise and appreciate them in others? Perhaps if you don’t know what yours is, someone else does, so why not ask?