March 25, 2021

Did Someone Squash Your Talent?

I bet we had more fun than you as children.
I mean, playing things like hide-and-seek.

Bet you anything you like.

Imagine having 70 acres of farm, field and woodland, for places to hide outside.
Whereas, inside, we made use of long corridors running along three storeys.

Then, imagine each long parquet-flooring corridor had trap doors built into into it.
All of that topped with attic rooms, from which you could clamber onto the roof – four terrifying levels up.

Now you’re talking!
Now you’re hiding and seeking all cotton-picking day!

(There definitely are some benefits growing up in a Hertfordshire children’s home.)

The thing is, I’ve noticed we do a lot of hiding in life.
Often, not intentionally.

When I meet with business leaders I find that they possess qualities – talents and gifts – that they can hardly admit to.

Too often, they think that they didn’t add up to much in their young adult life.
Which is why they now drive themselves so relentlessly, proving themselves to the world.

Since deep coaching is what I do…
I tend to uncover where that self-view came from.

Invariably, they tell me how they were led to believe that they were nothing more than ‘seriously average’. Usually by adults they trusted.

Someone dimmed their flickering light.
Someone took their frail budding of genius. And squashed it.

And today, they spend their time trying to hide their ordinariness.
Whilst – all that time – there was something glorious and unusual and unused bubbling up inside of them.

So, here’s the question.
Are we one of those ‘Squashers’?
Do we fail to recognise the genius in those around us?

Are we so busy achieving goals, objectives, tasks and projects…
That the talent, that could multiply our business results… stays hidden?
Brushed past?
Right there in front of our face?

It’s time to play again.
It’s time to seek what’s hidden, what’s dormant, what’s untapped.

That’s our job, I think.
As leaders, I mean.

To keep seeking.
to unleash what others have hidden away.
(Because, long ago, someone told them they didn’t even possess it)

Not to ask: “How clever is that person in our team?”
But instead, to ask “What genius do they possess that’s hidden from me?”

It’s time to be the fearless, curious hunters we were…
…those long, sun-filled, childhood days ago.