What is it like? I often wondered with the sadness of defeat. What is it like to know ‘your thing’?
Throughout those formative grade school years, teachers, coaches, & books told me over and over “Well, maybe [kickball/basketball/art/science/singing/basic coordination] isn’t your thing. Perhaps you should try something else. You are a very smart girl. I’m sure you’ll find the one thing you excel at soon.” So I trudged on through the hobbies & years searching for it. Sure, I was good at school, but since when is that a talent? I wanted something I enjoyed. Something that gave me a great sense of possibility and confidence. Something I never found.
I tried tons of sports, hobbies, & whatnot hoping that just one would be something I was good at. Scott always reminds me that it’s about practicing at something you love to become good at it. True, but we all seem to have natural abilities that make some tasks easier than others. Those natural abilities help us to fall in love with something so much that you want to practice at every odd hour. So what have I tried? Art. Volleyball. Dancing. Singing. Acting. Music. Tennis. Roller Derby. Running. That’s not to say I gave up on all of these. I still draw and dance and play volleyball. Others I’m working my way back to after issues with my body (aka shin splints). I simply realized that I had no natural talent at any of these (and plenty more) and didn’t LOVE any of them enough to throw everything I had into them. Well, I did. I loved and practiced the shit outa them for about 6months or more, but after that short-lived love affair, I recognized they just weren’t my ‘thing’.
Imagine my surprise when it finally appeared on my doorstep. Or rather, my surprise when I realized I had loved it for years… and never made the connection.
Yeah, I know. Everyone hates it. Not me. I relish the feeling of standing in front of a crowd, nerves and all, and rocking it out of the park. It all started with acting as a kid. Slowing moving on up, I did 11 theater productions in high school & took 1st at State 3x for Forensics. Standing up in front of hundreds of people at my high school graduation, I gave one of the commencment speeches – not because I was valedictorian or salutatorian, but because I’d competed with the top speakers in my class and was chosen as the best. I was always pushing myself to speak to my audience as if they were my friends and family and not a random group of strangers. Every topic was carefully tailored to grab their attention from the first words. I take them up, down, forward and back with me at every step. After high school, the only public speaking I had was for class presentations and I forgot how deeply I loved it.
Last week, I blew them all away. I’d slowly gathered notes over the previous weeks from my own thoughts and suggestions by coworkers. It was a big event for the company, and many colleagues dropped by to wish me luck and offer advice. It was surprising at first how so many seemingly confident people feared speaking in front of others. “It’s a small group” I’d point out. “At most I’ll have 30 people for each presentation. No big deal.” My support staff for the 4 thirty-minute presentations were the top sales trainers in our company. My colleagues went out of their way to encourage me as the date came closer. Every time, I’d cool my “Seriously?! Come on! It’s EASY” to a “Thanks for the advice. I’m sure it will go on without a hitch. No, I’m not nervous. I like this stuff.” End result? I rocked it. As I stood in front of my first group, I pushed the tingle of nerves down and spoke. No problems. No blanks. No freezing up. By the next day, I had coworkers jumping out of the woodwork to compliment me. One of the trainers suggested I “come over to the dark side” and become a trainer as I “have the talent for it”. The chairwoman of the whole day emailed me and her boss to say that not only had I impressed her, I’d been the highest reviewed speaker of all the breakout sections. Her boss fwded that onto my boss, my boss’s boss and my boss’s boss’s boss.
It was the trainer’s comment that triggered my thought processes… Talented… Confident… Something I love… Yep. I found my thing. Finally. And it had been hiding under my nose all along.
Wish #3 Be really awesome at something – Complete! Now, I need to find a way to exercise it often.