The hidden gremlin – why the wrong upbringing can unwind the right talent.
I reject the notion that we all have “our station in life”. At its worst this is hugely demeaning and limiting.
It did make me think though of the environment we were bought up in, and the impact this has on the way we see ourselves in life. And what I discovered was an aspect no-one in 5 decades has pointed out to me.
As you grow you may ‘improve’ your environment through diligence and effort; but you also need to believe you belong in that new environment before you can realise your dream/ your potential.
As a child it was an exciting day when Ray Sadd the plumber would come around and smoke his roll-your-owns on our back porch.
This was my model of ‘company’, of belonging.
No Lawyers, Doctors, Politicians, Scientists, Heads of Industry, Entrepreneurs or high achievers.
It was entirely incongruous with my other aspirations.
My proposition then, is that life is determined by where we expect to be and also, and critically, by where we expect to belong.
To make progress I had to reframe where I belong much more than understand what I needed to do to get there.
One part of this journey was obvious (Academic you might say), the other incredibly subtle.
That is, if as a child you dream of being a world class football player, you need to dream not only of having the skills and the mental ability but also of being comfortable in the company of the stars you currently idolise.
I know the two characters recently gracing international TV screens and Newspapers dressed as Kiwi’s at the football world cup. They are tremendously at ease mixing with media ‘stars’ and footballers alike. They were brought up in a highly supportive environment where anything was possible, where in effect they were ‘taught’ to feel as though they belonged wherever they went and in whoever’s company they made. They have gone far and will go further.
I am sure we have many talented people falling off the radar because although they may have developed the ‘skills’, training and even career path of a leader, there may be a little voice saying “I don’t belong”.
How many times have you been told by an employer ‘you belong here’? Here being at this level, in upper management, onward and upward. Not many of you I expect.
Maybe, just maybe, this is a missing piece in the career and talent development framework.
We not only need to grow skills and experiences but we need to ensure the individual understands they truly belong. The sky is the limit.[pullquote]they were ‘taught’ to feel as though they belonged wherever they went and in whoever’s company they made.[/pullquote]
The lucky ones already know this. They believe they belong and develop the requisite skills and experiences to fit alongside this. I would hazard a guess that this is as much an influence on future success as any other factor. Perhaps the ‘fortunate and wise’ relay not the skills for future ‘wealth’, but simply the sentiment of belonging and a rightful place.
Does this resonate with anyone?
Do you have talent in your company which is not being realised because of this simple factor?
What do you think about this proposition?