“People don’t have a clear idea of what they can and can’t do as artists. I knew my limits. I knew what I could and couldn’t do. I couldn’t play an instrument. I couldn’t sing as well as some and I couldn’t arrange as well as some others. But I could see the whole picture from altitude, and that let me land the planes”.
George Clinton, leader of Parliament and Funkadelic.
This is a powerful statement from someone who is considered to be one of the most influential contemporary artists in the world. This is someone who recognises what his talents are and gets on with it.
That sounds straightforward enough but we can spend a lot of time doing things that we are not great at because we want to be admired for doing those things. Often, we don’t recognise our own skills, or if we do, we don’t appreciate them.
There are various tests like Myers-Briggs, the Kolbe Index and Strengthfinder, which aim to help you unearth your true skills which you can then use to fulfill your potential.
You can also discover a lot about yourself with honest reflection and meditation: think back to when you have had a feeling of accomplishment or when other people have complimented you on a good job or if people say to you ‘you’re really good at…’ or ‘you really know how to….’ This can help you zoom in on what you can try, to see if it’s a good fit. If someone says you are good at making others feel comfortable, hospitality or an advisory role may be your thing.
What about asking someone whose opinion you value as truthful? They may not tell you what you want to hear, but they could help you get to where you need to go.
Be open, not just to what others say about you, but to the direction your life appears to be going in. I went through phases of wanting to be a session keyboard player, a record producer and backing vocalist before I started teaching! I knew I wanted to work close to music but could not find the role where I could ‘land the planes’. A songwriter suggested I try the lead vocal when I was happy in the background – this led me to booking some singing lessons, which in turn led me to training as a teacher.
Do you think you have found your true skills – if so how did you come across them and how do you know you’re a good fit? Would love to see your answers below!