A Heart To Heart Talk About "Talent"
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.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
I so get this. What I am still puzzeled about is how people get started…like Candace Olsen. At one point in time she had to be a DIY-er without Chico and the boys to help her. Somehow she had to show what she could do so that people would have the confidence to giver her that blank check to redecorate their room. I think talent, confidence, opportunity are key but there is a lot of luck or blessings in it as well. Ok that was a deep as I can get today. Doing crafts with 36 kids age 4-6 at church for a few hours very morning this week. It's frying my brain! 🙂
Kristi, well said. I totally agree with what you are saying. A bit of natural inclination to see things creatively is necessary, but is not the whole of it. Thank you for putting it so nicely in words.
Thank you for the inspiration and to remember to look at the glass half full and to not compare ourselves to others.
I agree, this is very well said.
I love decorating and just recently took it beyond buying things to actual doing things. The best compliment I got was from my SIL who said she had been wanting to do the same thing (moulding to frame an iron piece with a different paint color to highlight) in her house for years and then one week I had the idea and just did it. We both knew it wasn't perfect, but I did it knowing the worst that could happen would be patch and repaint!
Great post Kristi…it applies not only to decorating but to all other areas in our lives too! You've been an inspiration to me today…thank you!
I think one of the biggest disservices we do to ourselves is to compare ourselves to others. I completely related to this post. I am a designer also and while I love Candice and Sarah Richardson, I just shake my head sometimes because they have such glamorous and wonderful careers and shows.
It all comes down to what you said though, talent and opportunity need to meet up. What I've learned is that no matter how easy it looks from the outside looking in, those ladies spent years working their buns off getting to where they are. Sarah had multiple shows before today and began humbly. The boldness is key, fear of failure is not an option.
My hubby is a good match for me. He is one of the boldest people I know. He encourages others to be bold too and live their dreams.
The fear of failure hold so many people back from their greatness.
Thanks for this….I always doubt myself, always have fear, and it does not matter what other say to me, what compliments they give, it boils down to needing to believe in myself and my abilities…working on that.
Even now as I have jumped with both feet into the blogging world, when I post, I doubt myself. In decorating on less than a shoe string budget , and creating a place that feels like home out of a generic apartment, I doubt myself….even when a person in the profession tells me it is beautiful…I need to kick the doubt and fear of failure to the curb….thanks for inspiring me to do that.
Thanks for that post. I am not afraid-usually-to try something, but my problem is that I almost always doubt my choices. I need to learn the art of contentment and to stop being so hard on myself.
That was rich, thank you.
you go girl….. you have inspired me to get back in to interior design if only for myself in my little condo… I am even boldly getting ready to finish a little cloverleaf table my parents gave me last weekend… I will let you know how it turns out… I choose to BOLDLY go where I have not gone before…..
Great great post. I really needed to hear that! Thanks so much for being open and sharing it.
YES you could give Candice a run for her money. Candice started out on TV in Toronto doing DIY on our local morning show. She did great projects and had that wacky sense of humor. Her profile on the show grew and soon she had her own HGTV Canada show…opportunity meets talent.
I loved your post, it hit home.
Awesome! I am also fearless. My husband is a non-believer and when I finish a project he always asks, "How did you know that would work?" My answer is always…I didn't.
I think it's also a matter of being able to picture, smell, taste, etc. something in your mind. I can visualize things before they are done and taste a recipe by reading its ingredients.
BTW, 1st time I am commenting, love your blog.
Kristi, Thank you so much for this post. Now I can explain to my husband just way I painted our front door turquoise and why I stripped the fireplace mantle, and why I planted eight hydrangea bushes and two peony bushes in hot as heck Texas, and why I am ripping up carpet. I am a mad, "talented" woman, that's why! 😉
I read a lot of business books, and you just described "Success". 🙂
That was rich, thank you.
Well Kristi, I am glad I found this older post of yours. As a 62 year old caretaker I have started second guessing my abilities to go on decorating and creating beauty. Well I just got a got a gift and I am now on a mission! Thank you my dear!