June 18, 2010

The Myth Of "The Natural"

One of my favorite movies as a kid was The Natural with Robert Redford. In the movie he was this ridiculously gifted ballplayer who overcomes some obstacles & bad decisions & finally makes it to the big leagues. I loved that movie. I've seen it countless times. But as I've grown I've realized that it's a myth. There really is no such thing as "a natural". In fact, that message is in the movie. Robert Redford's character, Roy, was often told by his dad that "he had a gift, but that it wasn't enough."

A lot of us have been blessed with incredible gifts, but the gift itself is not enough. We have to work at it. We have to cultivate that gift & sharpen those skills where we excel. The problem is that we don't communicate the fact that we're good at something because we work on it. Too often we allow people to simply acknowledge the gift without recognizing the work that goes into the gift.

Leaders, you need to communicate to the people around you that the things they think you are a "natural" at only appear to come naturally because you work on it. In my world, that area is in the realm of speaking. God has blessed me with the gift & the passion for it, but there is so much work that goes in that no one ever sees.

If you want to continue to excel in an area where you're considered a "natural", you have to work on it. You also need the people around you to know that working on that area is a priority to you. If you're a gifted artist, you might be able to crank out a project quickly, but would it be as great  as the one that you had time to really prepare & work on the project? I know I can pull off an impromptu talk, but the talk that has been prepared extensively, fine tuned, & prayed over will always be better.

What area are you considered a "natural"? Have you helped others around you realize the work that has to go into that skill? Have you helped them recognize their "natural" gifts? Have you taught them how to work on it & sharpen it?

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