In a recent workshop, I was asked, “What is your talent?” The immediate response that came to my mind was, “I sound smarter than I really am!” My colleagues laughed in acknowledgement, suggesting that my IQ does not reflect my verbal fluency!
Every person has one or more natural talents but this is only significant when these talents create meaning to serve a greater purpose beyond the person himself. Many of us are still on our journey in pursuit of our innate talents, which is exciting and full of possibilities. Some of us are fortunate to have discovered our talents but have yet to understand the greater purpose these talents may serve. Moreover, even fewer individuals use their talents to serve a greater purpose and make a difference. This difference could be far-reaching like the liberation of India through the authentic humility of Gandhi or it could be revolutionizing Cuba through the charisma of Che Guevara. Or it may be a personal difference like a father who inspired his daughter to be the leader she wants to be, despite the gender inequality in today’s world. Even in the corporate world, people who choose to use their true talents to serve a meaningful purpose are happier, more fulfilled, and in many cases more successful individuals.
Now back to my talent: Sounding Smarter Than I Really Am. What does that really mean?
To me, sounding smart is simply the ability to construct a flow of ideas in a comprehensible fashion that allows people to grasp an idea, adopt a vision or acquire a new perspective. It is the talent to connect different pieces of information otherwise dispersed in order to facilitate the creation of new meaning. Some people fully master this talent, like a teacher who explains the principles of science in a clear manner enabling her students to solve real life problems that she could not solve herself. It may also be a poet scribbling his words on a notebook describing an experience so powerfully that when read by others, new interpretations come to light originally not seen by the poet.
I am privileged to be trusted by the people I serve at work and in my personal life. This trust offers me a humbling influence that might be gained through different factors including the ability to “Sound smarter than I really am” – regardless of my actual intelligence. My hope is to use this ability to facilitate a positive change for others in the face of their challenges and in favor of their aspirations. Despite the great fulfillment that this influence gives me, I am on a continuous quest for other purposes for my talent to serve.