I heard a fascinating interview with a successful impressionist. She said that what she thought was wrong with her growing up, became the very thing that built her career. As a child, she admitted, she used to sit back and study people. For hours and hours. And now as a stage performer, she’s just being all the people she watched.
Don’t you just love it when talent comes full circle like that?
Yet another testament to the professional power of the childhood passion. Which isn’t to say everyone’s vocational calling will be as poetic as hers, but it’s certainly a useful starting point for creating your value inventory. That thing that you could would have done forever, that thing you had to force yourself not to do, that thing that people made fun of you for doing, that thing that got you sent to the principal’s office, that thing people said you were spending way too much time on, that thing that makes people watch with breathless interest, that thing that, once you started doing it, you don’t stop until somebody elbowed you in the ribs, it’s a massive clue.
Not necessarily the activity itself, but the thinking that went into it, the way that it engaged your brain, the way that made you feel about yourself, there’s something there. Everything that is done early in life is functionally related to a life trajectory. And if you’re willing to go back in time and unpack the value behind it, you can use that thing to unlock your ability to contribute.
Michelangelo was right. The sculpture is already inside the stone. Perhaps it’s time you started chipping away.
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That Guy with the Nametag
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