I have come across many quotes from Don Clifton during my strengths journey, but there is one in particular I love:
"There is something you do better than 10,000 other people, and we just need to find what it is."
Having coached hundreds of individuals, I am continually trying to help clients understand their strengths and assist them in finding their "one thing." When they discover their one thing -- Wow! What a moment for them (and for me as a coach).
As coaches, we are ever-watchful for stories to share with clients to assist in the discovery of each of their talents. And sometimes, the best examples are right in front of us.
I have been blessed to have had two amazing careers: one as a pediatric cardiologist and now as a strengths coach. My talents have been easy to recognize and receive tons of encouragement and appreciation.
My older brother Curtis, however, was born after a long delivery resulting in a permanent brain injury, making it harder for him to learn and do many of the activities that came so easily to me. My talents were on display for all to see and Curt's were, well, not so much.
Then last year, I had a life-changing experience.
Curtis was retiring from his 30-year career as a water meter reader for the city in which we both grew up. I had always thought being a water meter reader was a great job for Curtis because it was what he was able to do.
However, listening to his bosses and friends at work, I discovered he was the best meter reader ever! They shared stories of Curt's caring for his fellow employees and the impact he had on so many individuals. He came to work each day and gave his talents to others. Others would try the job and quit because of the physical demands and the consistent, repetitive work -- but not Curtis!
I began to see being a water meter reader as more than just a good job for Curt. Certainty it was, but he was the gold-medal meter reader, the best water meter reader in the history of the city, a hall-of-fame-worthy reader. With all his outward limitations, he had been given the talent to be consistent, accurate, precise and physically able to perform.
He was the one-in-ten-thousand water meter reader. He truly maximized his talents, showing consistent, near-perfect performance in his role.
Now, when I am at work, I have a new hero -- my brother Curtis. He invested in his best talents and gave so much to all who came in contact with him.
Even though it might be easier to see my talents, I occasionally wonder if I am maximizing them to be their best as Curtis had done. He -- in his own way -- learned, loved and lived his talents, then he accomplished the most important aspect and blessed us all by giving his talents to the world.
So when you are searching for stories to help others discover their one thing, remember that you may not need to look very far -- sometimes the best lessons are right in front of you.
Steve Allen's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Achiever, Deliberative, Consistency, Belief and Individualization; his top 4 BP10 are Independence, Knowledge, Determination and Confidence.