The Sum of Your Talents

Dave Gordon

"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value."
- Albert Einstein

Take a look at a picture of the sign I saw on a recent vacation in Montauk, NY in the window of one of the local pubs.

“Piano player wanted. Must have knowledge of opening clams.”

I'm sure there's a story here. There always is. But on face value, I’m trying to imagine what this new hire’s day would be like once he or she is hired. Come in early, open some clams, play some piano, and then when it gets busy, take a break from the keys and open some more clams? Think about what it takes to be able to play the piano well enough for people to pay you. You put in hours of practice as a child, then more hours as an adult. You spent time and effort working on your craft hoping to get the chance to one day be paid for all of your efforts. It’s not Carnegie Hall, but someone is willing to pay you for your talent. Piano player wanted.

But wait.

The employer knows a good piano player is going to bring in a crowd, so having a talented musician is important. No one wants to hear a bad piano player. And, yet, he or she is not going to play the piano all the time, so why not have someone with a knowledge of opening clams, so he doesn’t have to hire another person. Multi-talented. You just hope he doesn’t hurt his piano hands while opening clams.

Employers are asking more of their employees. Do more with less. For that, we need people who can wear many hats. Those people are valuable. But that's just part of the story. We are now in a world where new businesses are changing the way we live and work. And, the talent needed for jobs today could be obsolete in 10 years. At the same time, there will be jobs in another 10 years that don’t even exist today and new talents will be needed. Who would have thought cybersecurity positions would be so important 10 years ago?

So, how do you ensure a successful future? You make sure your one brand encompasses many talents. You make sure you bring Unique Value every day.

How many piano playing clams shuckers do you know?

How about consultative, highly creative sales people who are also fluent in Microsoft Excel and can make their own engaging webinars and videos?

How about a nurse who is also a stand-up comic and takes pride in making patients laugh through their pain?

Do you know someone who is a concierge in a luxury hotel, but also sings in the lobby lounge, and is in the emerging leaders management program?

These kinds of people are not unicorns. They are rare. But, they exist. These are the people willing to share all of the talents that make them unique.

My point is, the only way you are ever going to provide unique value to your customers is to make sure you don’t squash the qualities and values that make you different. Sometimes we try so hard to fit in that we eventually lose sight of everything that makes us stand out.

You are the sum of your talents and your experiences. No other person has ever lived the life you lived, ever. You have a talent. Actually, you have many talents. And, when you finally learn to use all of them together, no matter what your title or role might be, you will discover the difference between a job and a purpose; the difference between success and value.

Stand for Your Brand,


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©2024 Dave Gordon
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