Thursday, 3 March 2011

Just Do It. Well.

Consider this number: 64,268

If you're looking for a book on "personal growth" that's how many you have to choose from on Amazon.

It seems that as a culture, we're obsessed with adding new skills and abilities to our repertoire, or generally just improving ourselves.

As an HR profession, we're no different, with the Personal Development Planning section of the annual appraisal cycle being given increased attention and status.

But why not take a different approach and focus on what you already do well? Here are two illustrations to make the point.

In J.B. Priestley's English Journey, he recounts arriving at the Wedgwood factory in Staffordshire, and being given the opportunity to create something on the potter's wheel.
For more than thirty years I have never tried to do anything new without cherishing this wild hope, that God would let me play tennis or billiards or the violin wonderfully at first sight, allow me to display myself suddenly as a heaven-born orator or singer. No such miracle has ever happened. Nobody yet has been startled by my exhibition of unsuspected skill. Yet I know I shall go on hoping in this same foolish fashion right to the very end, when, the silliest old man in England, I shall be hoping to die in some neat clever new way.
As Priestley is demonstrating his ineptitude at the potter's wheel, I  imagine a kindly observer placing his hand on his shoulder and saying, "Mr Priestley, can I suggest that you don't give up the day job. Your writing is really good, so why don't you just stick to that?"

J.B. Priestley: An Inspector Calls

Or consider the scene in Chariots of Fire when the future 400 metres Olympic champion's sister is disappointed that he's not taking his missionary work seriously enough, and Eric Liddell memorably responds:
I believe God made me for a purpose - China. But he also made me fast.

In both cases the message is the same: do what you do, and do it well. Do it to the best of your ability. So, dear readers, my challenge to you this weekend is to leave the personal development books on the shelf, and reflect on what natural abilities, strengths, gifts or talents you have. And use them.

Have a good weekend

1 comment:

  1. Wining and dining it is then!!!