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Play to Your Strengths

I have a mentor, someone I really look up to and who has been very successful in business. When we talked recently, however, she discussed many areas she sees with great growth potential – and I’m very grateful for her advice. 

What I struggle with, however, is that those things currently identified with six-figure part time work aren’t things I’m really crazy about. When I saw this article on Inc.com I was again reminded – play to your strengths and you’ll never work a day in your life.

I’m currently finding I am gravitating back to what I thought was a hobby – graphic design – in taking complex statistics and making them a lot more relatable in info graphics. When I’m doing it during work time, I feel guilty, like I’m playing and not working. For those of you under the age of 25 – you may not relate. I really value this in the younger generations – their ability to do what is rewarding today instead of putting their nose to the grindstone in hopes of doing what they want at age 65.

So for those of us over 35 – if you feel guilty doing something worthwhile (not sure how many rewarding jobs there are playing video games or stalking people on FB) while at work – that is probably because it comes easily to you as a talent. And that is exactly what we should be pursuing because we can bring a lot more value with less effort and all parties involved win!

Happy Thursday. 

Creativity – The Bike Piano

Seeing things the way everyone else sees them is boring. True creativity requires breaking out of the “mold” of ordinary thinking.

by Pete Ferguson

I love attending street fairs, farmer’s markets, and other community free-for-alls.

The food creations are always intriguing, the crafts a variety of old and boring (knitted hot pads?!?) – new and exciting, and the musical talents always interesting.

This past Saturday at the Farmer’s Market in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, I saw something I hadn’t seen before, a piano attached to a bicycle. It was out-of-tune but in a saloon kind of way. Twangy, but enchanting.

The pianist’s talent was great and his ability to play on a slant, in the park, with an ever-changing audience earned my respect instantly.

It also inspired me. In my family, all of my children and my wife play piano better than I do (with the exception of Miles, but he is only two years old). And so on Sunday I sat down to a very frustrating two hours of remembering scales and then attacking a piece in a simplified piano book.

Flashbacks of lessons in Elementary School and then again as a teenager came flowing over the frustration of having forgotten something so worth while.

But it was good and humbling, and as Farnoosh Brock mentioned in her most recent Prolific Living podcast, learning to be okay with your flaws and your imperfections leads to embracing vulnerability, opening the mind to innovation and creativity.

Tackling my talents has helped me greatly innovate, create, recall, and improve. Starting up this blog was a similar experience to sitting down at the piano. I used to write regularly for a college newspaper, press releases for the Utah Lt. Governor’s Office, and other projects.

But then I went many years without writing much, and the talent slipped. And it has felt great jumping back in, and I greatly enjoy writing to those who will read each day. This marks the 81st post since May when I returned from the Coaching With Excellence seminar in Franklin Tennesee.

Playing the piano at the same level again will take a lot more time, but I’m planning to commit 30 minutes five days a week until I can play anything in the simplified book. Then I’ll go from there.

What talents do you have that need dusting off? Understand it will be really frustrating at first. It will feel like the right and left sides of your brain have hit a roadblock in communicating. But it is fun to push through the barriers. Feel the discomfort of stepping out there.

I’ll conclude by linking a very short video:

Bicycle Pianist on YouTube

Learn: What talents have you buried? Why did you burry them? What would it take to get going again?

Act & Share: Get cracking!