Yesterday I gave a brief presentation as part of a quarterly meeting for the regional management and executive teams. This was my first time presenting in front of that particular group since early 2011. In the last year I have, however, presented at quarterly property meetings (town-hall like gatherings for the ~2,400 front line team members and management staff at my former property). After yesterday’s meeting (and similar to the property meetings), people made a point to come over and compliment me on my presentation/delivery.
I’ve been taught that on a search for your passion and/or purpose in life, you should look at the skills that come naturally to you; or things you do with little to no effort. The thinking is that the thing you were uniquely created to do is something for which you are naturally wired. It will require a skill or a trait that you exhibited early in life. The rest of the exercise includes a trip down memory lane: a directive to think back to when you were a child—what were your interests? What did you do better than others w/out trying? Often times that thing—your gifting—is something you take for granted; it’s something you don’t see and it’s something you assume everyone else can do…
Warning: purposely ignorant, obnoxious, but oh so true statement follows:
When that happened, guess what was my reaction? Externally I was grateful and gracious, of course. Internally, I was downright offended.
Yes. You read “offended.”
And yes, I laughed as I wrote that because it’s absurd. And, btw, it’s not entirely serious (please no one get your panties in a bunch. I can’t deal.).
I was “offended” because I felt like people were patronizing me. I couldn’t understand to what they were referring. All I did was talk about some stuff. And then I sat down. Don’t patronize me, guy.
Yesterday was more of the same. There was a cocktail party after the meeting. A few people came up to me and paid similar compliments. I barely said thank you, brushed off the kind remark, and changed the subject. At one point, I walked up to a group of folks who were talking and inserted myself into their conversation. As I did, I was met w/the same observations. This time, instead of changing the subject, I let the conversation go on. They offered up specifics that lent their compliments credibility. Hey, if the hardnosed Brit AND the head of sales for the region compliment you, you take note. I finally stopped assuming folks were patronizing me and/or simply being polite and I listened; for a change. And I was enlightened.
It was encouraging.
Most importantly, it was a much needed reminder. Much needed…
I enjoy public speaking and I always have. I’ve no idea why but I’m going to stop ignoring the obvious and figure out what to do…with what is in my hand.
Friend, what about you? What is that “thing” that comes naturally to you? So naturally, in fact, that you don’t even think it’s a skill or talent. You don’t think it’s special. You think everyone else in the world can do it. I promise you that is not the case. I promise you that there is something very specific to you that is part of your passion/purpose. There is some skill/trait/interest that is inherent to you; that you’ve had from as early as you can remember. That “thing” will be the key to unlocking your greatest potential and to finally answering the question “what do I want to be when I grow up?”
PS: the whole not wanting to take a compliment thing can be a subject of an entire post by itself when it comes to women. Google it.