Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Little Help from Your Friends: Tap Into the Hidden Potential of the People Around You

Do you have a dream? If you’re like most people, the answer is “yes” -- or, more likely, “yes, but…” Just about everyone has a dream they’d love to pursue, but they just don’t know how.

What you need is a little expert advice. The TV line-up is chock-full of shows that promise just that. But chances are, you’re already surrounded by people who can give you the knowledge you need to get moving towards your dreams. You can be forgiven for not recognizing it; probably they don’t realize it themselves.

Everyone develops a body of unique skills and talents in the course of living, almost all of which can be widely applied. It can often take a creative eye to see these hidden potentials for what they are: a lifetime of expertise masquerading as everyday life. Who are these unwitting experts? Your friends, family, and colleagues, of course.

How many people do you know who excel at something so much that it’s become a defining part of their character? Instead of just admiring them for it, why not pay them the greater compliment of learning from them, of letting them set an example for you in the pursuit of your dreams?

What kind of understanding might you find hidden in the strengths of your friends and loved ones?

  • The natural storyteller: how to weave compelling narratives; how to grab and hold onto people’s attention; how to set people at ease
  • The slacker: how to relax; how to roll with the punches; how to accept criticism without letting it define you
  • The social butterfly: how to connect with strangers; how to present yourself professionally; how to avoid being defined by your weaknesses; how to listen
  • The entrepreneur: how to face adversity; how to understand financial data; how to plan for the unknown
  • The organizer: how to rally people to your cause; how to balance contradictory demands; how to stay cool under pressure

These are just a few examples of different types of people that almost everyone knows. Don’t dismiss people’s talents just because their accomplishments are small -- even the simplest achievement might be the outcome of an encyclopedic knowledge.

You might be surprised what you learn. And, just as important, they might be surprised at what you learn. You could be opening their eyes, maybe for the first time, to their own hidden talents. And what could be a better gift than that?

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