Finding – and not Forgetting – the thing you do well…
I get a daily email from Inspiring Quotes. Today was “Find the thing you do well and do it again and again for the rest of your life.”
I often delete these emails without a second thought. On today’s quote, however, I paused and only deleted once I had copied it into this post.
What is “the thing” that I do well, anyway, I thought to myself. I didn’t have an immediate answer.
25 years of running my own show and one would think I would know exactly what my true strengths in life and at work are, and yet I paused. Here are just a few that popped into my mind:
- First-time Connections: Finding unique ways to help other entrepreneurs in a single instances and in some cases a few, but not necessarily on an ongoing basis. I can often connect them with the person who can help them over a longer period of time, but trying to perform that role myself has often ended “un-fruitfully” (sp?) for both parties.
- Playing the Piano by Ear: Translating music from what I’m hearing to the piano. I’m rusty as hell though. My peak was when I was in 6th grade and won an Ohio state junior music award for playing the original version of The Entertainer nearly to perfection. I quit piano in 8th grade when we moved to Europe because the piano teacher wore so much make up and perfume that I had what I remember to be an allergic reaction.
- Working the Numbers: I love math, I love numbers. My friends in b-school used to call me Rain Man because I could answer the square root of numbers well into the millions to a tenth of a whole number. I thought it was just an innate skill in my early years. I’ve since learned, like everything, it takes practice. I can’t do it anymore with any impressive speed or accuracy (though some still think its neat I can get relatively close). I love accounting work, I hate inaccuracies in the books of any companies I own or support, mistakes in numbers stick out like fireworks to me when they often pass others by. This often makes me think I should have been an engineer (oh yeah, that’s what I planned to be when I got to college but got a C+ in Math 11 because I didn’t study and dropped math altogether as a result – laziness at its best)
- Creating Videos: I am doing this more and more often. Still using iMovie… need to graduate to something more sophisticated. iMovie is incredibly limiting. I love this work and it brings me joy. This is something that at age 52 I’m glad I do and look forward to doing a lot more of it in the future.
I used to think I was good at inspiring others. But something inevitably backfired at some point in the relationship. It usually had to do with my flaws that must not be apparent to some in the early parts of our relationship.
I used to also think I was good at giving feedback. But my semi-permanent “mean” face when I’m getting serious about something seems to scare people (hard for people who don’t know me so well to believe… not so hard for my family or close friends to believe). I’m not angry, I try to explain… I’m just very focused on what we are talking about. And when I disagree with others I do it in a way that shuts people down. As a result, I (sadly, perhaps) give less feedback and when I do I couch it aggressively beforehand (“what I’m about to say could be completely incorrect, so I appreciate your listening but do not expect you to do what I am saying… it’s just honest feedback and because its not 100% positive I’m even slightly uncomfortable sharing it”, etc.). What a lightweight I’ve become! 🤣
I’m going to spend more time considering what I’m really good at – in some cases remembering what I’m good at that time has caused me to forget… and as importantly I need to identify those things that bring out the worst parts of me: impatience, regret, boredom, or a desire to escape through food and entertainment (though not alcohol thank goodness – today is Day 835)
Can’t ever hurt to take inventory of the things we are good at. Wouldn’t it be great if it was one thing we could focus on, love, and do over and over again? I’ll keep my eye on that prize as well.