Humans are amazing, dynamic, multi-faceted creatures.
Each one of us is born with a unique set of gifts and talents.
I believe these gifts are most visible in our natural characteristics and that these characteristics weave themselves together to form what I call a Golden Thread. The Golden Thread concept I heard of in business but the imagery and purpose are perfect on a personal level.
It’s my deepest and most sincere desire that each and every individual learns how to identify their strengths, gifts and talents and more importantly uses these things in the world to help make it a more amazing place to live.
What’s the golden thread in your life?
Do you know?
Do you understand what’s pulled all of your experiences, your events, your milestones in life to you?
Let me ask this differently: Do you know who you are? Do you know what your life’s purpose is?
I recognized fairly late in my corporate career that the ability I had to pull out the connecting thread of a narrative and to tie it all together was a gift. I also have been given the gift of being able to repeat it on stage in front of others in the form of a story.
The first time I realized the powerful combination of these two gifts, I was in London, around a table with business peers. One of those “director level and above” meetings. In a break-out session, we had been grouped into smaller teams and given a section of the business to study. People were talking. I was capturing. This is different because usually, ask anyone who knows me, I’m the talker.
In moments like these however, and in my coaching sessions with clients, I’m more like an endless bowl and the stories and perspectives flow in.
I mix, I stir, I add a dash of this and a dash of that and I make it work - all the time; every time.
Another example I can remember comes from when I was at a popular wireless company. Part of my role was to visit 3rd party wireless stores and talk with the company’s executives with a focus of understanding their current place in the market and in their business and what they wanted to achieve.
I’d then visit the wireless stores and gather information; absorbing, asking questions. Noting local competition and employee attitudes. Understanding store presentation and sales capabilities.
Only then would I go back to the office and look at their numbers. I never “prepped” ahead of time, it wasn’t necessary.
I felt like the flow of the information coming in would tell me exactly what I needed to know.
My process was definitely unique and it never failed me.
Here’s the thing - it IS unique; I just didn’t see it as a strength and a talent until almost 4 years later, sitting around the table in London.
If I take this set of skills around pulling together information, finding the main theme and storytelling and I look back on my life - it’s like a light bulb goes off. I can see my jobs and my career more clearly. I can see the path forward better because I have this understanding.
The natural next question is how did I find this gift/talent? The answer is: I was looking for it.
I was actively saying to myself what am I good at? What are my skills? I was paying attention when someone pointed them out to me via a comment or feedback. “You were great up there.” “Wow! How did you do that?” “I really like what you said and how you said it.”
I also watched people when I was presenting (a la London): everyone’s cell phones were down. They were attentive, they were nodding along. The head of our entire team, the GM was smiling broadly. It was all feedback. It said “You’re a great story-teller, I like listening to you, you have my attention.”
We are our own worst critics.
We will find fault in most things we do; it’s human nature. Knowing our strengths and talents gives that critic a counter weight. It allows you to bring yourself back into alignment and balance. It keeps you humble. It also helps complete the picture.
The duality of life is like that; you need darkness to understand light.
Your golden thread is your safe zone. It’s where you come back to again and again without even knowing it. It’s the vein that’s been running through your whole existence. It’s the patterns you keep repeating. It's the common bond in all of your life's experiences. It’s the power you’ve used to create them.
Now that you know you can start to look. Keep your eyes open.
You also know where to find help when you need it - I’m right here. This is my gift; it's what I do.