Over the last few weeks, I’ve spent many, many hours by myself in other people’s homes working all day. And let me tell you, when I spend that much time alone, I get absolutely lost in my thoughts. I think about all kinds of topics: my relationship with God, politics, my present and future projects, etc. I mean, I’m almost positive that I have most, if not all, of the world’s problems solved. Now if only someone can tell me who I need to talk to to implement my plans for world peace… 😀
Anyway, one topic that I’ve done a great deal of thinking about is TALENT.
Because I have a blog and where I shamelessly share all of my projects with readers all over the country…and the world…I get told very often how “talented” I am–in comments, on the Facebook Fan Page, and in e-mails that I receive from readers.
Now listen, I’m not going to sit here and tell you “Oh, no…I’m really not that talented.” I absolutely despise any hint of false humility in others, and it’s the last thing I will display to you.
However, I do have some thoughts on the topic that I’d like to share with you.
The first is this:
While some people look at me and others like me as being very talented, talent is only a portion of a very important equation. The other, and maybe even more important, parts of that equation are boldness, fearlessness, the willingness to take chances, and the understanding that failure may rear its ugly head.
I’ll never forget when Matt and I had our house built four months after getting married. We had a “bonus room” above the garage that we turned into an upstairs living room. In a hasty decision, we initially put commercial carpeting in the room. It was ugly and drab, so one day I decided to pull the carpet up and install prefinished wood parquet flooring (I had just moved back from Turkey, where parquet flooring is incredibly popular, and I loved the look–still do).
I had never done this type of thing before, but I just went for it. After I had installed the wood flooring, I wasn’t completely satisfied. The floor had little hairline gaps everywhere and the color wasn’t what I wanted.
So, I got out my hand-held rotary sander, and painstakingly sanded down all 280 square feet, then filled all of the little hairline cracks with wood filler, sanded the entire floor again, stained the floor darker, and sealed it.
I remember after I finished, Matt said to me in true disbelief, “I can’t believe you were brave enough to do something like that. How were you so confident that it would turn out?” My response was, “I wasn’t. I just wanted to try.”
And there it is, folks. One of the main keys to what many perceive as “talent”.
It’s nothing more than a daring spirit that boldly seeks challenges, and knows full well that failure may be lurking just around the corner, but defiantly presses on in despite that.
For some of us, this bold and daring spirit comes naturally. I, for one, have always been fiercely independent. My mom tells me that one of the first sentences I ever spoke as a child was, “Me do it meself!!” Today I display that same fierce independence with almost any project I approach.
For others of us, this boldness may not come naturally. You may have to dig deep within to find that boldness that seems to come naturally to others.
But I can say this with confidence: Without stepping out boldly and simply trying, putting aside your fear of staring failure right in the face, you will never find your true talents.
(Phew! That was only my FIRST point about talent!!)
My second point about talent is this:
Never confuse “talent” with “opportunity”. Here’s what I mean by that.
As most of you know by now, Candice Olson is my favorite designer. I used to watch her shows in absolute amazement. The rooms she designs are true showplaces. And for the longest time, I would torture myself with thoughts like, “Wow, if I only I had her talent.”
Then one day it dawned on me. Why am I so sure that I DON’T have her talent?!
The fact of the matter is that I’ve never been handed a blank check to design a room. I’ve never even once in my life had the opportunity to spend $75,000 or more on one room, with the possibilities of using basically whatever I choose. I don’t have a talented carpenter at my disposal to carry out my design plans for a room. I don’t have assistants whose job is solely to shop for new and unique accessories to fill my rooms.
If given the very same opportunities, and if given a completely level playing field, I feel confident that I could probably give Candice Olson a run for her money.
Talent is important…yes. But opportunity is just as important. Without the second, you may never realize the true extent of the first.
So that’s it. Those are my thoughts on the topic. So I encourage you…before you start allowing yourself to feel inadequate and thinking or saying things like ‘Wow, I’m not nearly as talented as so-and-so’, first ask yourself ‘Have I been bold and tried?’ and ‘If given the same opportunities, how would my talents compare?’
We’ve all been given tremendous talents. Now go, in boldness and confidence, and find yours. And when you meet failure face to face, laugh at him and march on with confidence.