I’m not normally the type that reads business books. I’m pretty disinterested in management techniques and organizational structures because I suck at it. And I bring up sucking at MBA style topics because as I was doomscrolling I came across an older article from the Harvard Business Review. The headline was “why do talented people not play to their strengths?” I clicked.
It begins with fairly standard case study chit chat about the NFL and I’ll admit my eyes glazed over. Why had I bothered to click when I’m so not the business school type. And then I spotted a nugget that rang so true I swear I’ve got a little tinnitus from the “ding ding ding” bell that rang in my head.
We often undervalue what we inherently do well.
I’ve written in the past about my struggle to accept things that come easy to me. I have had a self limiting belief about the necessity of struggle and it’s inherent morality. Maybe I’m rationalizing pain and hardship because emotionally I need there to be a “why” for having fought through a chronic illness. Surely suffering through and taming a spinal disease has made me a better person right? Or maybe shit just happens.
And maybe I’ve been downplaying all of the many super power and talents I have. I’ve spent so much time grieving the loss of the hard things like working long hours and always hustling that I’ve been ignoring that i can win doing things that feel easy. Because they might just be easy for me but not easy for everyone. Quoting the article.
Often our “superpowers” are things we do effortlessly, almost reflexively, like breathing. When a boss identifies these talents and asks you to do something that uses your superpower, you may think, “But that’s so easy. It’s too easy.” It may feel that your boss doesn’t trust you to take on a more challenging assignment or otherwise doesn’t value you — because you don’t value your innate talents as much as you do the skills that have been hard-won.
Working long hours were always hard for me. I fought to stay up late because I would find myself fatigued and in pain. I really valued that because it hurt me. It was hard for me. Whereas I never valued being at being ahead on news and trends, or my facility at gaining media coverage, or how easy I found it to spot when the market was going to move. I distrust the skills I can do effortlessly.
But I realize now that those are valuable skills. It makes me a good investor, especially in private markets where seeing where the market is going and alerting people to potential is very well remunerated. So next time you scoff at a compliment from somewhere on you work ask yourself if what you did is easy or just easy for you. You might be surprised to find you have a superpower you never noticed.