I went to my cousin’s wedding and she had invited several people to sing during dinner. As a professional opera singer she has many musically talented friends. In fact, the musical displays were extraordinary, and I heard someone wish they could sing that way.
We too often want to be that person – the one who can stand up and sing or deliver a devastating crossover dribble or grab the mic and give a charming, heartfelt and entertaining wedding speech or close any sale or lead in a way that inspires greatness. If we are unable, we can always chalk it up to lacking the talent.
To be fair, there are talent differences. But look at just about anyone who is exceptional at what they do and ask them about how they got that way or how they maintain their skill.
My cousin (who brought the house down with her song) works incredibly hard to hone her skill. She sometimes avoids talking for a couple of days before a performance to make sure her voice is well rested. (That is a preparation method I would find particularly difficult, though I’m sure my wife and kids would enjoy greatly.)
I give speeches for a living and I coach people on their speaking. They almost always want to be able to simply walk up, grab the mic, be funny and smooth and insightful, and walk off to a standing ovation.
I tell them how I rehearse my speeches over and over again, preparing relentlessly to make sure the speech I give on stage is devoid of the hiccups and mistakes I make during practice.
The important skills and moments in your life demand more than talent. They require lots of practice and behind the scenes work.
What are the skills you are currently working on, practicing, and building behind the scenes? Someday someone will look at you and say, “I wish I had that kind of talent.”